Team Sydney has committed to running two cars in the 2020 season despite the sudden exit of star signing James Courtney – but the flailing team has been slammed as a “national embarrassment” by the founder of departing sponsor Boost Mobile.
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Courtney confirmed on Saturday he would leave the team effective immediately after just one race meeting with the expanding Holden squad at the Superloop Adelaide 500.
It was also confirmed Boost Mobile, which came on-board in a last-minute deal brokered by Courtney, will follow the driver out the door.
Courtney leaves Team Sydney
Supercars: Team Sydney and James Courtney have announced they are parting ways after just one round into the 2020 Supercars season.
Courtney, 39, made a television appearance on Sunday, revealing the team not honouring a “big commitment” led to his sudden departure.
With the season to resume next weekend on the Albert Park streets in Melbourne, questions were raised over the team’s future, which ran under the Tekno Autosports guise as a single-car outfit before expanding to two cars and taking on the Team Sydney moniker from 2020.
The team would be liable to penalties of $150,000 per event missed. However, in a statement issued by the team on Monday, owner Jonathon Webb said a Courtney replacement will be announced “in due course”.
The team also refuted reports Chris Pither would also leave the team, with the driver himself also taking to social media to express his loyalty to Team Sydney.
“Team Sydney remains committed to delivering two competitive Supercars in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship,” said Webb.
“James Courtney’s departure from Team Sydney will not affect this.
“We confirm that Chris Pither and Coca-Cola Amatil remain committed to Team Sydney, despite speculation from media outlets.
James Courtney drives at the BP Ultimate SuperTest in Coca-Cola colours.Source:Getty Images
“We continue our preparation for competition at the Australian Grand Prix and will release the driver and livery of Car 19 in due course.
“On behalf of our team and my family, I’d like to thank our sponsor partners and followers for their continued support and involvement in the Team Sydney project.
“We will fortify our efforts and move forward. Lastly, we wish James the best for his racing future.”
Pither, who was only confirmed for the seat of the second car in the week of the Adelaide event, added: “I am pleased to clarify I’m not going anywhere and I’m grateful to be back in the Supercars Championship.
“Jon Webb and his team have done a great job to get Team Sydney on the grid this year and secure Coca-Cola Amatil as a partner.
“We are a new team, we have realistic expectations, we all want results, we have passion and we will continue to grow.
“As a team we appreciate the positive support, which is why I wanted to clear any inaccurate and negative suggestions around our future.
“I look forward to sharing a Coke with you at the AGP."
TEAM SYDNEY A ‘NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT’
Chris Pither drives at Adelaide. Pic: @teknoautosports FacebookSource:Supplied
However, having expressed his intention to sponsor Courtney – not Team Sydney – Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton took to social media to express his dismay with the team.
“So this should go down well with the punters on the forums but I always will say what I think, I am writing this not as founder of Boost but as a guy who grew up in Sydney,” Adderton began.
“Honestly when is @supercarschampionship going to stop this charade this team is ill prepared, under funded, and frankly Team Sydney is a national embarrassment to the sport.
“As someone who grew up in western Sydney only a few Kmh's from Sydney Motorsport park this is so sad to see.
“If [senior management] don't step in and give it to a team that will commit to guaranteed funding, a Snr team who has the management and staff to support it and cars that are not made from the spare parts division of @redbullholden.
“Nothing against Tekno for sure they tried but it's time to move on … as a Sydney motorsport fan this is killing me.”
Originally published asTeam Sydney a ‘national embarrassment’
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