James Courtney

Penrith’s James Courtney achieved what the late, great Ayrton Senna never managed; not one world karting title but two.

And he’s the only Australian to be world karting champion.

Unfortunately, Courtney is another case of what might – possibly should – have been on the world stage.

But in his case the career stumbling block was in the hands of others – a mechanical failure causing a massive crash followed by inferior medical care.

It was 20 years ago that a 15-year old Courtney, blew an engine while leading the Australian karting championship in a race in Dubbo.

The setback was lessened, however, by the fact that he knew he was headed to the world finals in Portugal and he was concentrating on that.

It was there that he became the world Junior Karting Champion, followed, two years later, by the World Formula A championship.

He was mixing in top company. Others in karting at that time included Kimi Raikkonen, Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button.

Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were just one step behind.

So for his great achievement of being world champion where the racing is close and tough, please welcome, in the Karting category, James Courtney to the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.