Lowndes 'holden' on to championship dream
MOTORSPORT: Craig Lowndes has declared he is not "too old” to be a Supercars force, revealing that if he thought his career was on the slide he "would have walked away”.
Out to defy his critics by breaking through to win his first race of the season at this week's Townsville Super Sprint, Lowndes said he would have quit as a full-time driver and taken up a lucrative deal to race endurance events if he thought he could not win another championship.
Lowndes, 43, recently signed a new deal with Triple Eight Race Engineering to race for at least another two years.
"I would have walked away,” Lowndes said. "I had a frank conversation with the boss about what I could do and we both thought I wasn't staying around too long.
"I am not going to work my way backwards through the field and the goal is to finish my main-game career on a high. I think I can win races and if that wasn't the case then I wouldn't be here.”
Heading to Townsville following a poor season start, Lowndes admitted he could not win this year's title. But the three-time series champion is still targeting a top-three finish.
"My main aim is to get in the top five,” Lowndes said.
"And then push into the top three. It is a long shot but that is the goal. We just haven't had the consistency so far and I can honestly say we are not going to win the championship this year.”
Despite not greeting the chequered flag first this year, the Holden star has won more races than any other driver in history with 105 victories to his name.
"I don't feel the pressure,” Lowndes said.
"People are going to ask the question about age but for me it is not an issue. The reason I am racing is because I am fit, healthy and motivated. My results are important but I am expecting those results to come in the second half of the year.”
Lowndes said he needed to find consistency and qualifying speed after having a new chief engineer parachuted into his team this year.
"We needed a test day and we got that,” Lowndes said.
"That came before Darwin and I think people saw the improvement we had there. Qualifying has been below par and we haven't given ourselves a chance. But the race pace has been encouraging and there is no doubt we have been able to come back through speed and strategy. The mission now is to start at the front and not the back.
"Getting in the top 10 shootout at Darwin was a start and now we will see our far we came at our test day in Townsville. That will tell us how much we achieved in that test.”