Stone Brothers Racing has announced that James Courtney will leave the team at the end of his current contract in a move that is set to kick-start the V8 Supercar driver changes.

Courtney, who joined the team at the end of 2005 to replace NASCAR-bound Marcos Ambrose, finished sixth in the championship standings this season at the wheel of the JELD-WEN Motorsport Ford Falcon.

He will remain with the team to fulfil commitments already in place before leaving when his contract expires at the end of the year.

While team and driver have made no further comment on future plans, Courtney's most likely destination is believed to be Jim Beam Racing, where he would line up alongside Steven Johnson for the 2009 season.

Johnson's current team-mate, Will Davison, is expected to move over to the factory Holden Racing team for the new campaign to replace retiring legend Mark Skaife while a number of other driver moves are now expected to take place as the pack shuffles during the off-season.

Who will replace Courtney at Stone Brothers remains to be seen, although the team has already announced a tie-up with Jason Bright's Britek organisation for next year.

Bright isn't expected to be a direct replacement for Courtney however, with sportscar racer Alex Davison being tipped by the Australian press as one possible candidate after an impressive season of racing in Europe.

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