V8 Supercars driver James Courtney is still in a state of disbelief over the freak accident which has forced him out of next month’s Sandown 500.
Courtney will miss the opening endurance race of the year due to the broken ribs and lung damage he suffered last weekend when a piece of pit equipment blown free by a low-flying helicopter struck him in pitlane.
The incident at Sydney Motorsport Park is being investigated by V8 Supercars and the Royal Australian Navy, who own the helicopter.
After spending five days in a Sydney hospital, Courtney is recovering at home on the Gold Coast.
The 2010 champion said he still couldn’t fathom how he had wound up on the sidelines.
“I’m glad it wasn’t a foot higher – it would’ve taken my head off,” Courtney told AAP.
“I don’t think you could have scripted it. I don’t know what to say. Definitely not something I was prepared for or thought was coming. Can’t believe, really, it happened.”
Courtney will definitely miss the upcoming endurance opener at Sandown, with co-driver Jack Perkins to take over as Holden Racing Team’s No.1 driver for the team’s No.22 Commodore.
The accident has left Courtney’s team scrambling to find a replacement for the September 13 race.
“Jack was my teammate, so I guess he takes the reins and I don’t know. I think they were trying to ring around trying to get some people sorted,” Courtney said.
“The drama is the majority of the blokes you want are gone.”
Courtney himself hasn’t ruled out a comeback for the showpiece Bathurst 1000 on October 11 at Mount Panorama.
“I’m trying to get right for Bathurst. It all goes on how the lung heals and obviously as well with the ribs. It’s not a short race – Bathurst is a long one,” he said.
“Hopefully, it’s all good by then but, yeah, Sandown’s out.”