Lowndes loses out for Adelaide ALMS race

V8 Supercar star Craig Lowndes may be forced out of the Panoz American Le Mans Series team for the season finale on New Year's Eve in Adelaide

Lowndes loses out for Adelaide ALMS race

Lowndes was confirmed to share a Panoz LMP-1 with Mark Noske in August. But following the announcement last week that Lowndes is to quit the crack Holden Racing Team, there is now some dispute as to whether the Queensland-based triple V8 champion will be allowed to race in Adelaide.

Lowndes will leave the works Holden outfit after the FAI 1000-mile race at Bathurst on 19 November, but his contract does not end until the end of the year.

"I was given permission at the time to do the Adelaide race, but that has now changed," said Lowndes. "My contract actually runs out on December 31, and at present the team will not give me permission to do the event, despite the fact I am leaving anyway.

"I am really disappointed because I was really looking forward to this race. It has always been a dream of mine to one day race in the Le Mans 24 Hour and this race was a great stepping stone to try to achieve that dream. I am also upset for all my fans in Adelaide who were looking forward to seeing me race a Le Mans car."

Lowndes has major celebrity status within Australia and his absence from the antipodean street race could affect the box office appeal of the event. Ex-HRT driver Greg Murphy will replace Lowndes in the Panoz team.

Murphy has previously raced in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in a GT Porsche in 1996 where he finished 2nd in his class. The Melbourne-based kiwi is also a reigning Bathurst winner, having won last year with Steven Richards.

"To drive the Panoz is a fantastic opportunity," said Murphy, "but it is a real pity that Craig can't join us. Having raced at Le Mans before, I am very excited at this opportunity. Mark and I are hoping to test the car after Bathurst and I can't wait to race the car on New Year's Eve."

Le Mans Adelaide Managing Director, Dean Rainsford, expressed disappointment for Lowndes.

"This event was going to be a fantastic chance for Craig to show his talents on the world stage," he said. "The situation is very disappointing and I fail to see how anybody actually gains from this - especially Craig. Mark and Greg will do a fantastic job but it would be great to see all three guys in the car. I hope we may eventually see a positive outcome from this situation."

Both Murphy and Noske will race at Bathurst next week in the FAI 1000, with Murphy in a K-Mart V8 Supercar and Noske with the Prancing Horse Ferrari squad in the final round of the Nation's Cup Championship.

shares
comments
Noel swaps TV for design shop?
Previous article

Noel swaps TV for design shop?

Next article

Lister targets classic enduros

Lister targets classic enduros
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021