EXPLAINED: THE ORIGIN OF TICKFORD RACING’S FAMOUS #5

Glenn Seton during the 1998 Sandown 500. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

JAMES Courtney will inherit a special piece of Ford V8 Supercars history in 2022; Tickford Racing’s famous #5.

The 2010 champion is set to switch from #44 into the #5 entry as part of a reshuffle at the Melbourne-based Mustang squad, taking over the number from the departing Jack Le Brocq.

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New signings Thomas Randle and Jake Kostecki will utilise #55 and #56 respectively, both numbers previously used by the team, while Cam Waters is expected to continue in #6.

James Courtney. Pic: Supplied

The #5 has been a mainstay of Tickford Racing since the team’s inception as Ford Performance Racing in 2003, one of few constants as it approaches its 20th season.

Its use of #5 in fact stretches back to the team’s forerunner, Glenn Seton Racing and a decision made by the two-time Australian Touring Car Champion during 1998.

That makes Tickford’s #5 second only to Dick Johnson Racing’s #17 when it comes to ongoing use of a number by a current team and its direct predecessors.

Seton explained his choice of #5 in his book, Seto: The Official Racing History of Glenn Seton, available now in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.  

Having failed to defend his 1997 ATCC crown and therefore set to lose #1 ahead of the 1998 Sandown 500, Seton opted not to return to his previous #30.

That number was tied to GSR’s sponsor from 1989-1995, cigarette brand Peter Jackson, and Seton was eager for a fresh start.

“The retirement of Peter Brock and his famous #05 at the end of 1997 opened up the possibility to run #5,” Seton wrote.

“It’s always been my favourite number based on being born on 5/5/1965.”

Seton campaigned #5 from the 1998 enduros until he sold GSR at the end of 2002, and then for two further seasons as a paid driver at the new Ford Performance Racing.

Seton running #5 at FPR in 2003. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

When Seton left FPR ahead of 2005, #5 was taken over by his replacement, Greg Ritter, and then David Brabham when the Aussie international stepped in for the final two rounds.

In 2006 another new signing, Mark Winterbottom, moved into #5 and subsequently made it his own.

Apart from carrying #1 in 2016, Winterbottom campaigned #5 from 2006 until the end of ’18, taking it to victory in the ’13 Bathurst 1000 and ’15 V8 Supercars Championship.

Winterbottom celebrates his 2015 Supercars title. Pic: Supplied

After Winterbottom’s departure from the team, #5 was used for two years by Lee Holdsworth and then in 2021 by Le Brocq.

The latter’s impending exit from the squad was recently announced alongside the signing of Jake Kostecki.

Courtney has meanwhile secured a new multi-year deal with Tickford, extending his tenure at the team that started midway through 2020.

The now veteran’s rookie V8 Supercars season included teaming up with Seton for Sandown and Bathurst, finishing third at the latter event aboard Stone Brothers Racing’s car #4.