Craig Lowndes believes he can extend his record tally of race wins at Barbagallo in this weekend’s Perth Super Sprint.
Lowndes, who showed good speed in the Saturday race at the most recent event at Phillip Island, enjoyed a sensational victory at the West Australian venue last year after a bold strategy gamble from then-engineer Ludo Lacroix.
That win, in which the TeamVortex Commodore passed 21 cars in the final 22 laps after pitting a second time for slick tyres, was Lowndes’ 16th at the 2.4km circuit, two times the haul of next-closest driver Mark Skaife.
While on an 18-race winless run which stretches back to last July’s Ipswich Super Sprint, the veteran is confident of a strong performance at Barbagallo.
“I have always had great success here, as it is a track I like racing on,” said Lowndes.
“The Barbagallo circuit is a challenging one, it has a very quick lap time and it’s very important to get the car balance right.
“It certainly isn’t a driver or braking-friendly track, it’s all about getting the flow of the car right and looking after the tyres.
“We’ve taken a lot of positives out of the last round at Phillip Island as the car was fast and we worked well as a team, so I’m really looking forward to getting on track this weekend.”
In contrast, Barbagallo is considered a bogie track for Triple Eight team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, who has never won there.
“I haven’t had a win at Barbagallo Raceway yet so hopefully this is a good omen ahead of the weekend,” he said after edging Lowndes and Jamie Whincup in a go kart race in Perth.
“We were strong there last year, but we don’t know yet how the new tyres will go. It should be an interesting weekend.”
Whincup, like Lowndes, is winless this year, but sits fourth on the Barbagallo winners’ list with a total of five career victories.
“We’ve had ups and downs in Perth over the last few years,” said the Red Bull HRT driver.
“Hopefully we can get the car right this weekend, but our performances so far this year have only been okay.
“The field is so close and everyone is in with a shot, you can’t discount anyone.”
The Perth Super Sprint begins tomorrow with Practice 1 at 1200 AWST (1400 AEST).