Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask Craig Lowndes, but have been too shy to ask in person?
Follow @V8Supercars on Twitter for the #Lowndestakeover – the Red Bull Racing Australia V8 Supercars ace will be let loose on social media to take fans’ questions on the eve of the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Lowndes will be online between 4.30pm and 5pm AEST Thursday September 12, direct from the V8 Supercars Media Truck at Sandown, to tweet to fans ahead of the all-important first race of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
While his typing may not be as quick as his Commodore, Lowndes will endeavour to chat to as many fans as possible – he loves the opportunity social media offers to get in touch with his supporters and keep them informed.
“Twitter is a big part of the social network these days and is something I’ve learnt a lot about. I’ll happily get on there, talking to fans and answering questions.
“It’s an easy way to get to the fan base and let them know where we are, what we’re doing, functions we’re travelling to and keeping up to date with what we do outside of race weekends. (We’re not) just sitting on our backsides – on the contrary we are probably busier, traveling to functions day to day.”
Lowndes encourages his fans to ask everything and anything, especially if there’s something they are too shy to ask in person.
Some of the regular questions Lowndes is asked are what the drivers do away from the track, how they’re going, how they keep fit, what they drive, where they grew up, and what their favourite cars have been.
So what is the superstar driver – who will equal Peter Brock’s record of nine ‘500’ event wins if he is successful this weekend – like outside of the car?
“I’m normally pretty laid back, easy going, I enjoy life. We’re very busy running around doing functions, meeting sponsors and traveling. But this time of year for me is one of the best times, because of the long distance racing we’re about to encounter.”
Behind the wheel, though, he transforms to become very determined and focused. “You do get frustrated at times – there are all the emotions you go through on race weekends, a lot of highs and lows, things go for you and against you, it’s an emotional rollercoaster.”
One question Lowndes did have to think hard to answer was who he would like to pair up with down pit lane for the enduros, who he has not ever driven with before.
“Maybe Scotty McLaughlin? A lot of people say he reminds them of me when I was younger, so hopefully he has some good, successful results ahead of him.”
McLaughlin and Lowndes have been two of the 12 race winners we have seen so far this year, and Lowndes puts the varied results down to the challenges that have come with implementing the new generation V8 Supercars.
“I think Car of the Future has given everyone a bit of an even playing field going into this year. It’s been great; we’ve seen different manufacturers win, different drivers win and how close the Championship is.”
Lowndes relishes the longer races ahead, and given his victory with co-driver Warren Luff last year, the pair (driving together again this season) will be difficult to beat. Lowndes looks back fondly on that win and has plenty of memories – good and bad – of the 3.1km Victorian circuit.
“It’s that style of racing I love,” he said.
“You work with a teammate and it’s really a team effort. Certain things go on throughout the race you’ve got to overcome. You rarely have a weekend of long distance without any problems…
“Victory last year there with Luffy was really special, it was his first ever V8 Supercars victory and to have that at a place like Sandown is incredible. He himself is laid back, easy going, and enjoys the car the way I do.
“The bad ones are in the early days – I think it was 1997 we tried to pass Glenn Seton on the inside of turn one and ended up in the gravel trap. It was a rookie error at the time.
“But I have great memories of winning the 500. There was a year the weather turned nasty, it went up and down like a yoyo, but victory was one of those satisfying victories, we went through so much that day – strategy, tyres, working as a team, and the great result at the end.
“In the early years, when I drove with Murph (Greg Murphy) in 1996, that year was magical. I not only won the Championship, which was a different style of Championship, but the 500 and Bathurst. That trifecta was a magical year.”
Lowndes expects a tough challenge from the other 27 cars in the field and warned not to discount the new manufacturers – he expects both the AMG Mercedes-Benzes and the Nissans to be strong.
Follow @v8supercars now and head to Twitter on September 12 at 4.30pm AEST for a chat with Lowndes – don't forget to tag all your tweets with #Lowndestakeover.