Lowndes to begin overseas GT talks next month
Craig Lowndes says he's hoping to have an overseas GT drive sorted as soon as next month, as he looks to map out his first year as a Supercars retiree.
The veteran superstar, who will step down as a full-time Supercars driver at the end of the current season, has already made plans to act on a long-held ambition to race overseas clear.
He's singled out Le Mans as a specific target, but is likely to roll that in to a wider GT programme in Europe and beyond.
With his retirement now public Lowndes says he won't waste any time before working on an overseas programme.
His first job is to lock down his local commitments as both an enduro driver with Triple Eight and part of the Supercars TV coverage, before beginning talks with GT teams outside of Australia.
"I think that there’s no doubt that now we’ve made the announcement the next couple of weeks will be sit down with Roland again and find out what the [Supercars enduro] programme is going forward, what my role is with the team, how much freedom we’ve got in the sense of going and doing overseas stuff," he said.
"That will be all the things in the next month or so to knuckle down on. Also, TV world, what that looks like and how much time I’ll have to dedicate to that side of it as well – so there’s still a lot to be done. It’s a different part of the racing now that I’m going into.
“GTs is probably the easy fit at the moment. Next month we’ll sit down and analyse what we can do. Now that we’ve made the announcement we can hopefully start approaching some teams and seeing what their programmes are for next year as well.
"Who knows whether it’s GT racing here in Australia as well. As a [Supercars] co-driver, you still need to be active and sharp – I’m going to have to drive something – where and what, I’m not sure yet.”
Elaborating on his local commitments for 2019, Lowndes reckons Dane isn't giving him any hints whether he'll end up next reunited with Jamie Whincup, or forming a new partnership with Shane van Gisbergen, at the Supercars long distance races.
"Not sure which one of the two we’ll be with," he said. "Roland, as you know, keeps a lot of things close to his chest, although he is keen for me to be part of the co-driving role.
"Who it’s with and what the programme is like, I’m not really sure.”
While he's made it perfectly clear that now is the right time to walk away from his full-time Supercars seat, Lowndes admits that, looking ahead to next season, he's a little nervous about how he'll feel on Adelaide 500 weekend when he's not in a car.
"I’ve accepted it at the moment," he said. "I think there’s going to become a time when Adelaide next year when the cars roll out if the pitlane and you're not in one of them, that’s when it’s going to be emotional and when it hits you.
"Part of you still thinks that you could be up there somewhere, but motor racing is highs and lows. [In Townsville] we had a great result and you take the high, but of course, if we go to [Queensland Raceway] and have a couple of DNFs you’ll go, ‘probably made the right choice’."
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