Caltex Australia, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Craig Lowndes are set to take the Supercars Championship season by storm
He burst onto the scene back in 1994 with an astonishing move over John Bowe to take the lead in the dying laps of the Bathurst 1000 that audiences will never forget. True, the move may not have stuck, the No.15 Holden finishing the Great Race second, but Craig Lowndes had certainly found a place in the minds and hearts of Australian Touring Car Championship fans everywhere.
Over two decades later, Craig is not only a fan favourite, having been voted Supercars’ most popular driver four years in a row by the public, but a legend of Australian sport. Now armed with three championship titles, six Bathurst 1000 wins and five Barry Sheene medals, his journey has lead him here, to TeamVortex, where the combined (horse)power of Caltex Australia, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Craig Lowndes himself took the Supercars pit lane by storm in 2016.
Now aged 42, the series veteran has 103 wins to his name and is showing no signs of slowing down. In TeamVortex’s debut season, Craig took two wins, including heading up the first ever podium lockout by one team at Barbagallo Raceway, eventually finishing the season in fourth.
Since making that famous move in the dying laps of his first Bathurst 1000, Lowndes has been a firm fan favourite. True, the move may not have stuck, the No.15 Holden finishing the Great Race second, but Craig Lowndes had certainly found a place in the minds and hearts of Australian Touring Car Championship fans everywhere.
That famed move at Griffins Bend in ’94 earned Lowndesy a full-time drive with the Holden Racing Team in ’96. The youngster didn’t disappoint. After claiming the series crown in his maiden year, he went on to win the title again in ’98 and ’99, having spent ’97 overseas in Formula 3000 partnered with racing royalty Juan Pablo Montoya.
A season of reliability issues in 2000 prompted a move to the blue oval with 00 Motorsport and Ford Performance Racing. However, four more years of struggles left the three-time champ wanting more, and Triple Eight Race Engineering provided the answer.
Still relatively fresh on the scene, having debuted at Sandown in 2003, Triple Eight were yet to demonstrate what they were capable of and many viewed Craig’s move to the unknown as a huge risk. The doubters were proved wrong though as he became a serious title contender, finishing his first season with the team in second.
Since then, Craig has finished no lower than fourth in the championship, as well as clocking up a multitude of other impressive achievements. These include five Bathurst 1000 wins, topping the tables for the most ATCC/Supercars wins and becoming the first man in the sport’s history to claim 100 race victories.
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