POLL: Lowndes’ best Bathurst 1000 win
Craig Lowndes’ victory in this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 drew him level with Jim Richards on seven wins in the Great Race, second only to Peter Brock.
With only one man ahead of him now, and his record haul of podiums extended to 14, Speedcafe.com wants to know which of Lowndes’ triumphs is the best.
Whether it was a vintage performance, survival in daring conditions, or an emotional day that was meant to be, cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
1996: The Kid cleans up
Drove with Greg Murphy at Holden Racing Team (Tom Walkinshaw Racing), VR Commodore, 7:09:28.3584s
After a sensational runner-up finish on debut in 1994 and his first of just two Bathurst 1000 pole positions the next year, the then 22-year-old Lowndes was first when it counted alongside then 24-year-old Greg Murphy.
A wet start gave way to dry conditions and Lowndes beat the #17 Dick Johnson Racing Falcon of Dick Johnson and John Bowe, their biggest rival on the day, by 19 seconds.
It gave him the sweep of the Australian Touring Car Championship, Sandown 500, and Bathurst, a feat not achieved since.
2006: Making Brocky proud
Drove with Jamie Whincup at Triple Eight Race Engineering, BA Falcon, 6:59:53.5852s
Sunday morning at Bathurst was full of emotion when the V8 Supercars Championship field honoured Peter Brock in the first round since his death in a rally crash that occurred less than five weeks before the Great Race.
Lowndes was in tears after he drove the 1972 Bathurst-winning Torana XU-1, with permission from Ford, but refused to be sidelined for the opening stint of the motor race.
A then fresh-faced Jamie Whincup helped set up the win when he passed the #15 Toll HSV Commodore on Lap 110 before Lowndes withstood strong pressure from Rick Kelly to win the Great Race for the first time in 10 years.
It meant that Lowndes and Whincup would be the first to hoist the perpetual trophy which bears the name of his mentor and friend.
2007: Surviving the storm
Drove with Jamie Whincup at Triple Eight Race Engineering, BF Falcon, 6:29:10.1985s
A relatively sedate 1000 exploded into life in the final hour when rain hit Mount Panorama.
Lowndes had already survived one near miss earlier in the day when Rick Kelly went off backwards at The Chase after a tyre delaminated and was in the thick of the action when the race was there to be won and lost.
He escaped again when Mark Winterbottom went off at 300km/h and re-entered just in front of the nose of Car #888, before losing and reclaiming the lead from Steven Johnson in the final 10 laps as they battled to stay in control on slick tyres.
In the end, Lowndes got the job done as he headed an all-Ford podium rounded out by Stone Brothers Racing and Dick Johnson Racing.
2008: Three in a row
Drove with Jamie Whincup at Triple Eight Race Engineering, BF Falcon, 6:26:00.4291s
For the first time since 1984, a three-peat was achieved in the Bathurst 1000.
It was also arguably the most comprehensive of Great Race victories in recent memory as Lowndes and Whincup led 109 laps.
In a day devoid of the magnitude of drama which usually characterises that Sunday in October, Lowndes brought Car #888 home to the chequered flag despite Whincup taking the qualifying role for the first time.
2010: Old mates reunite
Drove with Mark Skaife at Triple Eight Race Engineering, VE II Commodore, 6:12:51.4153s
The imposition of the co-driver rule in 2010 saw Lowndes and Whincup split, and Mark Skaife recruited to co-drive with the former after they shared a garage and cars at the Holden Racing Team late last century.
Lowndes drove the last 79 laps straight after Skaife suffered back problems, as the race came down to a six-lap dash to the chequered flag.
When Whincup, who trailed in second position, decided that Lowndes just had the edge on him, he offered the win to Car #888 in order to arrange a form finish for the red and silver Vodafone Commodores.
The win also broke the race record which had stood at that point for 19 years, ironically in Skaife’s hands along with Jim Richards.
2015: Veterans victorious
Drove with Steven Richards at Triple Eight Race Engineering, VF Commodore, 6:16:07.7064s
As they sometimes do, this win required a little bit of luck when team-mates Whincup/Paul Dumbrell lost the lead due to a throttle sensor issue not far beyond Lap 100.
However, Lowndes and Steven Richards, two of the elder statesmen in the field capitalised on the opportunity, taking over top spot on the road shortly after Car #1’s setback.
2018: Legendary Lowndes
Drove with Steven Richards at Triple Eight Race Engineering, ZB Commodore, 6:01:44.8637s
Lowndes’ latest triumph is proof that persistence pays off.
He and Richards drove a solid race, blemished only by the latter’s miscue entering pit lane, and steadily rose from ninth on the grid to take over the lead on Lap 135 after David Reynolds cramped up.
With his retirement from full-time driving by then only three events away, Lowndes and team principal Roland Dane compared the emotion of the win to that of 2006.
What do you think is Lowndes’ best Bathurst 1000 win? Cast your vote in this week’s PIRTEK Poll.