Triple Eight team principal Roland Dane has dismissed rumours that Craig Lowndes was pushed into retirement.
Lowndes and Dane, along with Supercars CEO Sean Seamer, made the announcement in a media conference on the opening day of the Watpac Townsville 400 a fortnight ago.
Fans and even competitors have since questioned whether or not the decision was of Lowndes’ choosing.
The 44-year-old, who was contracted for another season at Triple Eight and will stay on as a Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver, last weekend took to social media to refute the rumours that he was forced out.
Dane, who says that discussions over the six-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner’s transition to retirement began between the two “a few years ago”, backed up Lowndes’ claim.
“To be honest, I couldn’t care less what everyone else thinks about it,” he said on Fox Sports’ Supercars Trackside.
“Craig and I know what the decision (was) that he made, that I completely agree with and that I think was the right decision to make.
“He knows the facts, I know the facts, and I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks about it.
“The only thing that really matters to me is ensuring that Craig is able to step out of his full-time driving career with his head held high, still able to compete at the highest level, having finished his full-time driving career with Triple Eight, and be a part of Triple Eight going forward, and I hope not just for next year alone, I hope it’ll be for much further than that.”
Paddock speculation has linked Simona de Silvestro to Lowndes’ old seat, but Dane is also known to be an admirer of Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert, whose contract is believed to include a clause pertaining to the team’s performance.
The Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint begins tomorrow at Queensland Raceway, where Lowndes is the most prolific Supercars race winner with 12 wins.