Triple Eight: Lowndes helped turn nobodies into Supercars powerhouse

Craig Lowndes played a pivotal role in turning Triple Eight from a team of "nobodies" into the Australian Supercars powerhouse it is today, says team manager Mark Dutton

Triple Eight: Lowndes helped turn nobodies into Supercars powerhouse

Lowndes will retire from full-time Supercars action at the end of this season, having driven for Triple Eight since 2005.

He joined the team as a three-time champion just over a year after the British outfit had taken ownership of the unfancied Briggs Motorsport squad, with team boss Roland Dane talking Lowndes into moving from Ford Performance Racing.

That came at the same time as Triple Eight's surge to the front of the Supercars field, with Lowndes winning the team's first race in 2005 and teaming up with Jamie Whincup to win its first Bathurst 1000 crown a year later.

Whincup is now an eight-time series champion, while Lowndes has six Bathurst wins to his name.

"When we were the little engine that could, a small team trying to be legit, trying to get some trophies... even when we went from Briggs to Triple Eight we were still nobodies," said Dutton.

"When Craig joined the team, it was a massive leap of faith from him. Good on Roland for being able to [make Lowndes] see what Triple Eight would be able to do.

"It gave us a level of respect straight away in the paddock that someone of his stature would join the team.

"It was a pretty proud moment when you're a small team that hadn't had much success, to then get that person. Everyone stepped up at the time, and wanted to work harder and harder to show that he made the right call.

"It definitely was a turning point for Triple Eight. I don't think we'd be where we are without him being part of the team at all."

Dutton said it would be sad to see Lowndes stepping down as a full-timer.

"I knew the announcement was coming, but jeez it was sad," he said.

"It was pretty emotional when both Roland and Lowndsey were announcing it privately to the team before they did it publicly.

"It's sad. It's the right time, everything makes sense, and there's no doubt that it's the right decision for Craig, for the team, for everyone together.

"It's been done really well, but you can't help but shed a tear."

Dutton added one frustration was that Lowndes had not won a title during his time at Triple Eight, despite finishing in the top four in the standings in all but one of his season's with he squad.

"It would be a dream come true to give him a championship in his final full-time drive," said Dutton.

"That's the only thing we haven't been able to give him in his time with Triple Eight, and it tears me apart.

"We'll be working hard all year. There are numbers than make it very difficult, but we don't worry about that. We'll go hard and it will sort itself out."

shares
comments
Supercars to consider adding more night races after Sydney success

Previous article

Supercars to consider adding more night races after Sydney success

Next article

Matt Stone Supercars outfit makes mid-season Ford to Holden switch

Matt Stone Supercars outfit makes mid-season Ford to Holden switch
Load comments

About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Craig Lowndes
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Plus

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

OPINION: Roger Penske's operation helped lift Dick Johnson's faltering Ford team back to the top of Australian tin-tops. But, despite The Captain's departure, along with star driver Scott McLaughlin, there's no reason to expect an imminent decline from DJR

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble Plus

Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But the team's outgoing boss Roland Dane has full faith that he'll be up to the task

Supercars
Feb 5, 2021
The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

In a year of few constants, the Australian Supercars championship could be relied upon for its usual blend of rough and tumble racing with a V8 soundtrack. But who were its top performers in 2020?

Supercars
Dec 27, 2020
The 'lifetime deal' that broke down in double quick time Plus

The 'lifetime deal' that broke down in double quick time

Last year, David Reynolds signed a decade-long deal with Erebus, seemingly pledging his long-term Supercars future to the team. One year on, "Decade Dave's" contract has been reduced to tatters, with an undercurrent of discontent having brewed in 2020

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
How Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Plus

How Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a divisive figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his dramatic boots as the category enters a new era

Supercars
Oct 30, 2020
Why McLaughlin is wrong to label 2020 his best title Plus

Why McLaughlin is wrong to label 2020 his best title

OPINION: Scott McLaughlin was quick to describe his third Supercars title as his best yet. But even though it didn't match the dramatic backstory of his 2018 triumph, there's a good reason for him wanting to control the narrative this time around

Supercars
Oct 2, 2020
Why Supercars would settle for an anticlimactic title race Plus

Why Supercars would settle for an anticlimactic title race

It's a predicament that has faced the World Endurance Championship in the past, and now it's the turn of Supercars to have its biggest race - the Bathurst 1000 - taking the final slot on the calendar. Will its wider significance upstage the title battle?

Supercars
Sep 4, 2020
The 10-year wait for a Supercars champion halted by coronavirus Plus

The 10-year wait for a Supercars champion halted by coronavirus

When the Supercars season resumes James Courtney will be a Tickford Racing driver - but it's not the first time the star driver has flirted with the famous Ford squad

Supercars
May 18, 2020