Spa replaces Le Mans in Lowndes plans

Craig Lowndes will return to Spa for the 24 Hours

Craig Lowndes will return to Spa for the 24 Hours

Craig Lowndes will drive an AF Corse Ferrari in this year’s Spa 24 Hours, the V8 Supercars star has confirmed.

The move comes through Maranello Motorsport, with which Lowndes won the Bathurst 12 Hour in February.

The 39-year-old had hoped to be competing with AF in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, but says that scheduling issues curtailed that plan.

The July 26-27 Spa race is the penultimate round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, featuring all-GT3 machinery.

The Lowndes entry will also include gentleman Australian driver Steven Wyatt, who endured a horror run at Bathurst with AF, and a third, yet-to-be-named driver.

“I’ve driven at Spa before and it’s an incredible track,” said Lowndes, who competed at Spa during his Formula 3000 season in 1997.

“After our success at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February this year, I just knew we had to put something together.

“I’ve been wanting to do more GT racing in Europe for a number of years, so to finally have such a great event locked in for 2014 is very exciting.

“The combination of a Ferrari and the Spa circuit really is a dream come true.”

Despite neither the Le Mans test day or race itself clashing with a V8 Supercars event, no drivers from the Australian championship are now expected to take part in the French classic.

“It’s no secret we did look at the option of doing the Le Mans 24 Hour this year, but other commitments were making that prospect quite difficult,” he says.

“The timing of Spa works perfectly around the V8 Supercar calendar this year and gives us a good opportunity to build something big for next year. It’s the perfect scenario, really.

“Unlike Le Mans, there are no prototypes at Spa, so we will be outright contenders in the 458.

“But it will still obviously be a massive challenge, as a lot can happen going flat out around a place like Spa for 24 hours.”

The Spa field is already confirmed to include an Australian entry from Roger Lago, who’ll share one of his Lamborghini’s with Steven Richards, David Russell and Steve Owen.

Erebus Motorsport is also working on plans to join the event, while Nissan bosses have shown enthusiasm for getting one of their V8 Supercars stars to the race.

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