Courtney bemoans lack of consistency

INCONSISTENT results mean I need to repeat my 2010 success at Winton Raceway this week to get back into contention to retain the championship title.

I'm 12th in the championship after four of the 14 rounds, and 450 points behind leader Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone) so I can't afford to let the gap get any bigger.

Winton was my most successful round in my 2010 title-winning season. I won both races, scoring the maximum 300 points, and had a pole position as fastest qualifier around the 3km rural Victorian track.

The format is exactly the same this year, with races over 120km on Saturday and 200km on Sunday, and all cars will be fitted with Dunlop's soft-compound 'sprint' tyres in both.

I tested at Winton with the Holden Racing Team a week ago, and I'm confident of being competitive.

Some people are saying my switch from Ford to Holden is a reason why I'm further back in the points than where I want to be.

Some adjustment is needed when you change teams and cars, but my main problem has been lack of consistency in the nine races so far.

I've had good car speed at most tracks, evidenced by a race win in the championship opener at Abu Dhabi in February, and two other top five results.

However, I've also been outside the top 20 in three races, and failed to finish another because of a combination of crashes and penalties.

I'm the first to admit I've made some mistakes this season, so I've got to fight back at Winton and get some momentum going for the rest of the season.

In 2010 I found the extra grip from the 'sprint' tyres tends to last longer at Winton, compared to some other circuits.

That's because the traditionally cool weather means lower track temperatures, plus there aren't any long corners to stress the rubber.

Off the track the big news this week is the change in V8 Supercars ownership, with the teams and Sports & Entertainment Ltd collectively selling 60-percent of the business.

The category will now be controlled by Australian Motor Racing Partners, supported by private equity firm Archer Capital. Teams have retained a 40-percent ownership.

There is already plenty of hype about the move being very positive for

V8 Supercars, including speculation about an expanded calendar and increased television rights to coincide with the introduction of the 'Car of The Future' in 2013.

As a driver, the thing that excites me is the prospect of more racing.

This year we have 14 championship rounds, plus the support (non-championship) events at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

The more racing the better as far as I'm concerned because that's the most enjoyable part of being a professional driver.

It's been the same since I started racing karts as a kid, and the main difference now is I'm fortunate enough to make a living out of it.

An interesting part of the design of the 'COTF' cars we will race from 2013 is the fuel cells will be positioned further forward than in our existing V8 Supercars.

That will improve driver safety and hopefully prevent a repeat of the 'fireball' crash on the grid in the previous championship round at Barbagallo Raceway near Perth on May 1.

The fuel cell on Karl Reindler's stationery Commodore exploded on impact when the car was hit from behind at 140km/h by Steve Owen's Holden. Karl received second-degree burns, but his injuries could have been worse.

Championship points (after round 4)

Jamie Whincup (Holden) 946
Craig Lowndes (Holden) 804
Garth Tander (Holden) 737
Shane Van Gisbergen (Ford) 730
Will Davison (Ford) 714
Rick Kelly (Holden) 713
Jason Bright (Holden) 674
Alex Davison (Ford) 666
Mark Winterbottom (Ford) 665
Steve Johnson (Ford) 639
Fabian Coulthard (Holden) 557
James Courtney (Holden) 496

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