Scott McLaughlin thanked Craig Lowndes for the effect the Supercars legend has had on his own career and the health of the sport at the championship’s Gala Awards.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver made a special tribute to the Triple Eight star, who will stand down from full-time Supercars racing, when he accepted the championship award at the annual Gala in Sydney.
McLaughlin has long admired the fan favourite, stating that he has learned a lot from Lowndes, who has been a role model for all drivers.
“Craig, well done on your career mate, I’m privileged to have raced you, in some ways I’ve learned a lot off you, I have raced against you door-to-door for a couple of years now,” said McLaughlin on stage.
“But definitely I feel like you’ve been a role model to us all and proved what it takes to look after our fans.
“Supercars is probably the most successful sport in Australia at this point in time, so well done on your career.”
McLaughlin was among a number of tributes made to Lowndes at the Gala Awards where a special montage video was played to the audience.
The video featured interviews with a number of current and past drivers who shared their memories of racing with Lowndes.
While his skill behind the wheel and his presence off the track was recognised, some drivers took the opportunity to air what it is really like to race against Lowndes, who has been dubbed as the ‘smiling assassin’.
Garth Tander labelled Lowndes as the ‘ultimate Jekyll and Hyde’ for the way he can transform from his friendly off track demeanour to hard nosed racer.
“Lowndesy out of the car, bubbly, bouncy… Lowndesy with a helmet on, the biggest animal you’ve ever met,” said Tander.
“We’ve raced against each other our whole careers, had heaps of blues and heaps of fun along the way.
“Lowndesy is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde.”
Former driver and team owner turned television pundit Mark Larkham called Lowndes ‘a pest’ on track as he highlighted the driver’s ability to unsettle rivals.
Lowndes acknowledged the light-hearted jibes before reflecting on his career.
“I am a pest in the car,” said Lowndes.
“I’ll always give the back of the bumper a bit of a rub and try and unsettle you. Sorry for that.
“I will be back at Bathurst next year, so sorry to everyone,” he joked.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve met some wonderful people and have a lot of friends throughout this industry.
“We’re not going to die tomorrow, we’re going to be back next year doing other things.”