Holden Racing Team driver James Courtney will miss this weekend’s SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000 endurance race as he continues his recovery from injuries sustained in a freak accident at Sydney Motorsport Park in August.
The 35-year-old was struck by pit equipment that had become dislodged during a low flyover display by a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) helicopter between practice sessions in the lead-up to the SuperSprint round. Long-distance television footage captured Courtney being struck in the chest by an errant metal sheet as he tried to scurry out of the way in avoidance.
The impact saw the former Formula 1 test driver complaining of chest pains, and he was quickly transported to the circuit medical centre before being airlifted to the nearby Westmead Hospital. He was subsequently diagnosed with two fractured ribs and a pneumothorax (a pocket of air between the lungs and ribs), and sat out the remainder of the weekend.
His seat was taken over by his designated Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Jack Perkins, who was joined by former series champion Russell Ingall for the first endurance race, the Sandown 500, in September when Courtney was ruled unfit to compete.
While Courtney had expressed hopes he would have made a sufficient recovery in time for this weekend’s race at Mount Panorama, medical officials have ruled him out of driving.
“James suffered serious injuries in August’s incident, with the architecture concerning his rib and lung area severely damaged. While there has been significant betterment in the healing, and his pain has been abated and controlled, James has not been cleared to race this weekend. We have made this decision in the interests of James’ health and recovery,” a team spokesperson confirmed.
The team’s #22 Holden Commodore will again be piloted by Perkins and Ingall.
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