The team formerly known as the Holden Racing Team, for which he drives alongside South Australian Scott Pye, has been infused with funds from IndyCar legend Michael Andretti and United Autosports and Courtney has already noticed the difference in preparation and engineering.
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He needed not a second to impress, when he took off with perfect torque and timing to leave van Gisbergen in the shadows with a start that was close to perfection.
He joked that he thought the front wheels might have been off the ground but said he loved how the car had felt.
“It’s fantastic to be so strong on the first weekend,” Courtney said. “Typically I’m quite good here anyway but the car was really, really quite good today.
“I was very predictable, very consistent and very calculated throughout the race.
“Shane just had that little bit right at the end.
“But fantastic start for the Walkinshaw Andretti United.
“Michael is quite pumped that it’s one-nil against Penske at this stage but it’s a long way to go.
“It’s a start of a long journey.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff that still needs to be cleaned up.”
And what about that start?
“I just said to Shane, ‘I thought the front wheels were off the ground,” Courtney said. “It just hooked up.
“The clutch came in really nice and the start procedure was a bit shorter this year.
“It just launched. Great feeling.”
Courtney, the 2014 and 2015 winner of Adelaide 500, also had van Gisbergen worried when the race had to be restarted several times because of the crashes behind them.
He sensed Courtney’s speed and daring into the famous turn 8 could change things