Fans have “a lot of hate” for No.1 Supercars outfit Red Bull Racing after Holden Racing Team lost their factory backing, James Courtney says.
Holden stunned Supercars fans when it confirmed it would keep funding Triple Eight Race Engineering entry RBR but would end its 26-year backing of flagship HRT in 2017.
It ensures 2016 marks the end of an era.
The once mighty HRT name will go at season’s end, rebranded Walkinshaw Racing.
Courtney said Holden supporters had vented their anger over losing the HRT name by turning their backs on RBR.
“There has been a lot of hate for Triple Eight which is really surprising,” HRT driver Courtney said.
“They have said ‘we are not going to follow them (RBR), we are staying with you guys’.
“I thought it would be more the other way once the announcement had happened.
“It’s the one good to come out of a bad situation I guess.”
HRT have again struggled for results this year.
Courtney is 11th in the drivers’ standings with teammate Garth Tander 12th ahead of this weekend’s Gold Coast 600.
But 2010 Supercars series champion Courtney hoped to give the HRT name the winning send-off it deserved with three rounds left this season.
“For sure, it would be great to finish off the year strong for the brand,” defending Gold Coast 600 champion said.
“I think everyone knows the (HRT) lion logo, it’s synonymous with Supercars.
“There is so much history there.
“It will be sad that it won’t be part of the championship any more but you have to move with the times.”
Meanwhile, Courtney gave his biggest hint yet that he would stay with Walkinshaw Racing next year, saying the team’s driver line-up would be announced in the coming weeks.
“The direction they are heading in I think is going to surprise a few people,” he said.
HRT have already told Tander his contract won’t be renewed at season’s end.