James Courtney admits that he continued to battle pain throughout the Castrol Gold Coast 600 weekend before taking a sensational victory in today’s Race 27.
The Holden Racing Team star produced arguably one of the drives of his career to win on his return after sustaining broken ribs and a punctured lung in a freak accident at Sydney Motorsport Park nine weeks ago.
Although given medical clearance to compete this weekend, there were still doubts surrounding how the 2010 V8 Supercar champion’s body would stand up to the punishing Surfers Paradise street circuit.
Courtney said he was able to block out pain while in the car, but still struggles to sleep due to the injury.
“To be honest there is so much going on in the car that I couldn’t think about it (the pain), I was too busy hanging on, but last night it was really pretty tough,” said Courtney.
“I haven’t slept a full night since that Thursday night (before the accident) so you learn to adapt on a lot less sleep than you normally have.
“It is what it is. There is no point getting upset, I just got my head down and got on with it and I knew we were in with a good shot.
“It (the win) feels pretty good, fantastic to be honest,” he continued.
“Having sat inside and watched (from the sidelines), it’s been pretty tough and to come back I knew it was going to be tough this weekend.
“I wasn’t sure how it was all going to hold up but we went for that first run on Friday and when we came in the team said we were fifth.
“The car seemed to have some speed and from there on we keep pushing on.
“Winning shows how determined we are as a team and as a person, nothing is going to hold me back doing what I want to do and I’m willing to fight until the end.”
Courtney was also quick to pay tribute to his co-driver Jack Perkins, who had stepped up to the primary driver role at Sandown and Bathurst.
The 35-year-old Courtney said the victory was made even more special with the feat being Perkins’ maiden V8 triumph nine years on from his debut.
“To come back and win it with Jack for his first win makes it even more special,” added Courtney.
“His dad (Larry) helped me out and gave me $5K when I was 15 to help me get along (in my career).
“It is something I will never forget and that makes it even more special.”