Jeff Courtney is a stalwart of Pirelli World Challenge competition and his Jeff Courtney Racing operation has been carrying the torch for Maserati in the championship for the last several seasons.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Courtney fills us in on the Maserati program, his background in motorsports, and more.
How did the Maserati GT4 GranTurismo MC GT4 program come about?
“The car was really developed before we got our hands on it for the most part. Fortunately I got an invitation to run in their Trofeo series when they were at Road America a few years ago and I got to drive it in the Trofeo spec.
“From there, they put together this little North American championship that I won, and that earned me a free trip to Abu Dhabi to run in their final race for the Trofeo series.
“I took a couple of crew guys over there because we knew we were going to run this platform in GT4 and that gave us a good head start, more so than if you just jumped into a new GT4.
“Even though we were running it in Trofeo trim we got a feeling for what the changes would be for GT4 homologation.”
What are the challenges of being the only team running the car in Pirelli World Challenge?
“Before all the new GT4 cars came in this year, I think last year was a very good season.
“We were able to battle, even though there are a few shortcomings of the car which are really starting to show this year with all the new GT4 cars coming in.
“We don’t have any traction control or ABS, and that’s really hurting us this year. The car is getting long in the tooth and we’re doing the best we can without any technical support.
“We’re making the best of it that we can. We have the most knowledge of the car of anyone in North America, and we a new sponsor on board in X-Analytics which is a cyber security company. We also have Kenda Tires, which have been with me forever, and RecStuff.com.”
How did Fred Roberts end up racing for you?
“We both raced Vipers years ago so we knew each other from Viper connections. That was kind of a tight-knit fraternity. We knew each other from back then.
“He reached out to me when he was looking for something to do to see what options there were and I told him what we were doing with the Maserati program.
“He liked the sound of it and came and drove it. He loved the car and likes the GT4 format.”
Where did you interest in motorsports come from?
“I come from a racing family. My dad [multiple-AMA flat track motorcycle champion Dick Courtney –Ed.] was a motorcycle racer and I have older brothers who were always into cars and motorcycles.
“I think it was a family-bred thing. My brothers and I raced motocross and snowmobiles and it just developed into cars. Really I’ve been racing in some way, shape, or form since I was about 14 or 15.”