Six-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes believes it will be impossible to catch mentor Peter Brock’s record nine titles.
But he now has his sights firmly set on overtaking leader Mark Winterbottom to claim a fourth V8 Supercars title – and first since 1999 – this season.
A day after joining retired stars Larry Perkins and Mark Skaife on six Bathurst wins, Lowndes was keenly anticipating the battle with his Holden rival over the remaining four rounds of the championship.
“While it’s a mathematical possibility, I definitely think there’s a huge opportunity there to now get another title,” Lowndes said in Sydney on Monday.
Lowndes’ latest triumph lifted him to 399 points behind Winterbottom (2491 points).
His next opportunity to close the gap will be on the Gold Coast later this month, however he admitted Winterbottom remained in the box seat.
“Frosty’s going to be hard to beat, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“He’s been able to be on the podium or up the front when he hasn’t won races, and that’s what you’ve got to be able to do over the course of the year to be a champion.
“I’ve got to be fighting till the end, but we’ll see what happens.”
As for overtaking Brock at Mount Panorama, 41-year-old Lowndes has all but given up.
Despite surpassing Brock, Perkins and Jim Richards with a remarkable 13th podium finish, he said it would be too difficult to get nine wins on the mountain.
“The cars are getting more reliable, they’re getting faster, and there’s a lot more competitive teams and drivers out there,” Lowndes said.
“To say that you’d get near the nine, you’d like to hope so, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible.
“I think that Brocky’s record will stay there.”
At 41, Lowndes is the second oldest active driver in the championship but he still has two years left on his current deal with Triple Eight, and he would like to do some co-driving when his fulltime racing days are over.
“At the end of 2017 is when (the contract) comes to an end. Who knows?” said Lowndes.
“Obviously when you step out of the main game in the sense of a full-time driver, you’d like to hope that you could at least do a couple more years as co-driving.”