Supercars star Craig Lowndes has announced he will step down from fulltime driving duties at the end of this year.
The six-time Bathurst winner and three-time Australian Touring Car Champion will continue as an endurance race co-driver for his own Autobarn Racing Team, an offshoot of Triple Eight Race Engineering.
“I’ve always said there are two key factors keeping me racing and those are my motivation to keep getting up and doing what I love and my competitiveness, and for me, nothing has changed,” Lowndes said. “But at the same time I want to make sure I finish my last full-time season with some strong results in the bag and after this year’s results so far Roland (Dane, Triple Eight boss) and I came to the decision between us that this will be my last full season behind the wheel.
“I feel extremely lucky to have been able to keep doing what I love at a competitive level for such a long time. I have to thank my family and friends, the whole team at Triple Eight and KRE, Supercars, my personal and team sponsors and of course the fans for supporting me throughout. Ultimately, the fans are the backbone of our great sport and the reason I’ve pulled my helmet on every race weekend, so to them, thank you.”
Widely acknowledged as the most popular driver in Australian motorsport, Lowndes is frequently compared to the late Peter Brock, who was mentor to Lowndes during his early years in touring car racing. Indeed, one of Lowndes’ most defining career moments was winning the first Peter Brock Trophy, the Bathurst 1000 perpetual trophy awarded to the winner of the Bathurst 1000 just weeks after Brock’s death.
"Because of the nature of the race and the emotion going in with Brock, that race stands out for me as the all-time, no doubt about that.
“That was the most emotional I have ever been before or during a race. I spoke to myself, I spoke to Peter. He was there. There was a lot of things that went on during that race that you knew had a touch of Brock.
“To do it in that circumstance and to know what we had achieved. To go through that personal journey was quite special.
“It is a moment in your life you will never forget. It was a great moment but also a very sad moment because we knew why we were there.”
Lowndes heads into this weekend’s Townsville 400 fourth on the Supercars championship points table.