Craig Lowndes says his excellent record at Sydney Motorsport Park could come in handy, as he aims to chase down Mark Winterbottom in the V8 Supercars title fight.
Sydney Motorsport Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Red Bull Racing Australia driver in the part, Lowndes winning on debut at the circuit back in 1996. He also took his first win for current team Triple Eight at the circuit in 2005, and has won five races there in total.
Even more impressive is his podium statistics, with 21 top three finishes from 34 starts giving him a hit rate of almost 62 per cent.
“Sydney Motorsport Park is a great circuit, I really enjoy it,” Lowndes told Motorsport.com.
“I had my first ever win in a V8 Supercar there back in 1996, so it’s a circuit that holds very fond memories. It is a circuit with great history, it was where I won my first race with Triple Eight.
“For me, I’m looking forward to going back there this year; it’s certainly a circuit we can use to help us in the championship.”
Test day data crucial
Given the technical nature of the Sydney Motorsport Park lay-out, the havoc that the long, sweeping corners play on the soft-compound Dunlop tyre, Lowndes says that the season-opening test will make life a lot easier when it comes to set-up this weekend.
“I think having the test day there will be a benefit for everyone,” he added.
“Nobody uses it as their home test circuit, so it really gives us all an opportunity to tune the car.
“It’s a circuit that’s fast, flowing, especially going down into Turn 1. At over 200 km/h, you really need a well-balanced car, but it’s really satisfying to get through there well.
“But the back section of the track, back around over behind Corporate Hill, is a very technical part of the track. Having a car that suits that part of the track is really beneficial for lap-time.
“The soft tyre has always proven to be very hard to keep under the car around there, but it’s a challenge all drivers have to face.”