Holden veteran Craig Lowndes believes he’s firmly still in the hunt for this year’s Supercars championship as he prepares for an unprecedented 600th career race.
At the Sydney SuperSprint event this weekend, the 42-year-old will become the first man to start 600 races, adding another milestone to his impressive career.
But it’s winning a fourth championship which continues to spur on the Team Vortex driver, with the last title for Lowndes coming way back in 1999.
Lowndes heads into the Sydney Motorsport Park round fourth on the championship standings behind stablemates Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen as well as Ford’s Mark Winterbottom.
A mere 150 points separates all four drivers heading into this weekend and Lowndes says he’s far from finished in his quest for the title.
“We’re not too far behind and this is the last round before we get into the endurance season,” Lowndes told AAP.
“We’re looking forward to having a strong weekend this weekend but you never know until you get out of the backside of the Gold Coast whether you’re in or out of the championship.
“We’ll keep fighting. We’ve been developing the car over the year and the team itself has been growing collectively.”
Lowndes’ form in the past six races has been mixed – three podiums including a win in the final race of the Ipswich SuperSprint mixed in with three finishes of 10th or worse.
At last year’s Sydney Motorsport Park event, Lowndes finished 5th in the first of three races but could only come 10th in the remaining two.
He says minimising the damage of his bad days is going to be crucial to his title hopes.
“Consistency over the year will be the key card,” Lowndes said.
“The driver that wins the championship at the end will be the one that makes the least amount of mistakes.
“It is all about minimising your bad days, or your bad weekends. We still want to win races but, if you can’t win races, you want to get on that podium.”
SUPERCARS SYDNEY SUPERSPRINT FAST FACTS:
* Craig Lowndes will become the first driver to make 600 Supercars race starts this weekend
* Holden’s Jamie Whincup remains on 99 race wins. He’s aiming to become the second man behind Lowndes to post a century of victories
* Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom has just one race win at Sydney Motorsport Park, the third race of the 2008 event