Date of birth: 21 June 1974
Lives in: Brisbane, Queensland
Car number: 888
Race wins: 106
Bathurst 1000 wins: Six (1996, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015)
Championship titles: Three (1996, 1998, 1999)
It was 23 years ago but it’s not been forgotten. The unremarkable move over John Bowe to take the lead in the dying laps of the Bathurst 1000 – a sight that audiences and fans all round will never forget. True, the move may not have stuck, the No. 15 Holden finishing the Great Race second, but Craig Lowndes had certainly found a place in the hearts of Australian Touring Car Championship fans everywhere.
Over two decades and countless moves later, Craig is not only a fan favourite, having been voted Supercars’ most popular driver for four consecutive years by the public, but a legend of Australian sport. The household name is now armed with three championship titles, six Bathurst 1000 wins and five Barry Sheene medals and is set to soar to new heights with the backing of Autobarn and Triple Eight Race Engineering from 2018 and beyond.
Since making that famous move in the dying laps of his first Bathurst 1000, Lowndes has been a firm fan favourite. The move may not have stuck, the No. 15 Holden finishing the Great Race second, but Craig Lowndes had certainly found a place in the minds and hearts of Australian Touring Car Championship fans everywhere.
That famed move at Griffins Bend in ’94 earned Lowndesy a full-time drive with Holden Racing Team in ’96. The youngster didn’t disappoint. After claiming the series crown in his maiden year, he went on to win the title again in ’98 and ’99, having spent ’97 overseas in Formula 3000 partnered with racing royalty Juan Pablo Montoya.
A season of reliability issues in 2000 prompted a move to the blue oval with 00 Motorsport and Ford Performance Racing. However, four more years of struggles left the three-time champ wanting more, and Triple Eight Race Engineering provided the answer.
Still relatively fresh on the scene, having debuted at Sandown in 2003, Triple Eight were yet to demonstrate what they were capable of and many viewed Craig’s move to the unknown as a huge risk. The doubters were proved wrong as he became a serious title contender, finishing his first season with the team in second.
Since then, Craig has clocked up a multitude of impressive achievements on top of his 103 race wins. These include five Bathurst 1000 wins, topping the tables for the most ATCC/Supercars wins and becoming the first man in the sport’s history to claim 100 race victories.