Craig Lowndes is hoping retirement from full-time Supercars racing will allow him to finally achieve a long held ambition of racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The three-time Supercars champion has revealed that he wishes to expand his overseas racing commitments next year with the French sportscar classic a bucket list item.
Lowndes announced today that he will end a full-time Supercars career exceeding two decades at the end of the season but will take up a co-driver role at Triple Eight from next year.
The 44-year-old had hoped to make his Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014 when he forged a relationship with Ferrari GT squad AF Corse that resulted in a run at the Spa 24 Hours.
However, a drive at la Sarthe failed to materialise.
Lowndes has been unable to contest the famous race in the years since since due to regular clashes with Supercars’ visit to Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway.
“I’ve also always said I’d love to go and do more racing overseas and in different categories,” said Lowndes, who has won two Bathurst 12 Hours driving a Ferrari GT3 car.
“Le Mans is definitely on the bucket list and hopefully this will enable me to go and do that, which Roland and the team will be supportive of.
“You talk to any Supercar driver down pit lane that has that ambition, I known that Shane and I and a few others look at the calendar as soon as it appears, just to see what we can do overseas. We’re race drivers, we want to race cars.
“Roland’s thankfully been very open to allowing Shane and I and Jamie to be able to do that, and that’s something that this gives myself an opportunity to be able to do that, and look into that world that at times has crossed over some of our events, so look there’s definitely that opportunity.”
Lowndes says he will need to keep himself sharp next season given his new co-driver role at Triple Eight, which will likely see him partner Jamie Whincup or Shane van Gisbergen.
The fan favourite is open to potential Supercars wildcard options should any opportunities arise that can fit into his schedule.
Alongside his driving commitments Lowndes will take a role with the Supercars broadcast team.
“Well the first part of that, you’d have to ask the gentleman to my right, Roland,” said Lowndes when asked about Supercars wildcard runs.
“That is a good discussion I’ll probably have later.
“There’s no doubt that being a co-driver role, you have to be sharp, you have to stay race-fit, so yes, I’ll be looking for other things through the year to be able to obviously continue that side of it.”