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Perkins get Courtney’s vote for Supercars co-drive

Simon Chapman

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Thursday 21st May, 2020 - 6:00am

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James Courtney (left) and Jack Perkins pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United Facebook

James Courtney says Jack Perkins would be his first pick to join him at Boost Mobile Racing in this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup.

Earlier this week Perkins signalled his interest in joining Courtney for a sixth consecutive endurance campaign.

The duo have raced with each other since 2015, winning at the Gold Coast 600 that year and claiming third in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in 2019.

Those drives were all with the once Holden factory-backed Walkinshaw Andretti United through its various guises.

Ironically, both have since left the Holden team and find themselves with the prospect of pairing up again but now in a Ford.

Earlier this year Courtney joined Team Sydney in what was a short spell with the team that only lasted the season-opening Adelaide 500.

Prior to his exit from the team, Courtney said he had been working to get Perkins on-board before he was eventually scooped by 23Red Racing to join Will Davison.

Late last week the Tickford Racing satellite pulled out of Supercars and shortly thereafter Boost Mobile Racing stepped in to fill the void.

That’s opened the door for Courtney to continue full-time while also possibly bringing Perkins into the fold as a co-driver.

“There’s a reason why Tickford had Jack on-board initially, because they believed in him as well,” Courtney told Speedcafe.com.

“With all the stuff that was going on for me, I was trying like hell to lock him in with me. I wanted him with what I was doing.

“That didn’t happen. Now it’s all opened up and able to happen again.

“We’ve just spent this last couple of weeks nutting it out, getting the Tickford deal done.

“Now that’s done now we’re working on the other parts.”

As it stands, the only round of the calendar certain to be an endurance-based event is the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Formats for the remainder of the 2020/21 season are still to be confirmed.

This year’s event at The Bend Motorsport Park, which was initially announced as a single 500 km race, has been reduced to a two-day event in line with the rest of the calendar.

Supercars hasn’t confirmed whether that event will still be part of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

That’s spurred on suggestions that just one endurance race might be held this season with an recently revealed 2020/21 calendar confirming the cancellation of the Gold Coast 600.

It’s something to consider for Courtney, who believes he’ll need a driver to step in that is capable of performing with little lead in time.

“Commercially, it’s important to have someone that is good with sponsors and has a name,” said Courtney.

“Then with all the format changes this year with there not being those lead-up races or even testing before all of this stuff, you need someone who is confident and that knows that circuit.

“We know each other well, which is a huge part as well. Jack ticks all those boxes. I think that he’s someone who we’re going to be looking at very, very seriously at.

“For my vote, that’s where my one goes. It would be good to have him back and we just need to make sure commercially it works for everyone.

“There’s a lot of other factors involved. If it was me picking, that’s who I’d pick.”

“I’ve got a great relationship with Jack, I speak to him at least once a day,” Courtney added.

“I think we’re really confident in each other and I’ve got no qualms for him going out and doing set-up runs and working on the set-up.

“A lot of guys don’t have a good relationship and that trust in a co-driver, whereas I’ve got that with Jack and his experience and understanding of engineering.

“He likes to drive the car in a similar way to myself as well. Seating position, everything is identical between us. We’re pretty much the same suit size and everything.

“I think that’s a big bonus.”

Courtney is set to return to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28 with Tickford Racing under the Boost Mobile Racing umbrella.

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