Lowndes tips ‘really stressful’ Newcastle 500 for Supercars teams

The 2019 Newcastle 500

Craig Lowndes believes that the Thrifty Newcastle 500 will be a “really stressful” event for Supercars competitors given it is the first Gen3 race weekend.

Lowndes will drive the Supercheap Auto-backed Triple Eight Race Engineering wildcard entry later in the year, and was an interested onlooker at the squad’s test today at Queensland Raceway.

There are now just 11 more sleeps before cars roll out for first practice in the first event of the season at the Newcastle East Street Circuit, a track which is difficult at the best of times.

However, with little time to iron out usual new car teething problems, and a rush to fill stocks of spare parts, the risk will be even higher this time around.

“I’m actually more of a spectator today,” said Lowndes from Queensland Raceway.

“You can tell by the attitude of the workers here that they’re excited about it as much as the fans are.

“But when we get to Newcastle, that’s when it’s going to be serious. There’s a lot of concrete walls, it’s very tight in sections, and it’s fast down the back section.

“You’ve got to think about the work that’s gone on to get these cars on-track right now. How many spares do they have? How many panels do they have?

“It’s going to be those sort of tense moments. If you talk to a race driver, they don’t care, they’re just going to put the visor down and go for it.

“But for all the team owners and members, it’s going to be a really stressful weekend, because we don’t know a form guide but we also don’t know all the niggly problems that they’re going to face in the cars, whether it’s electrical, whether it’s mechanical, whether something just goes wrong.

“They’re all the things that we’re going to be talking about over the course of the weekend.”

Triple Eight tested its #88 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet Camaro today with both Broc Feeney and Jamie Whincup getting laps.

Tomorrow, the sister #97 entry will be in action in the hands of Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway, while Dick Johnson Racing, PremiAir Racing, and Matt Stone Racing will test both of their cars.

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