Lowndes cut an emotional figure before the race, steering Brock’s 1972 race-winning Torana in a parade lap before the start.
Brock was on everyone's minds on race day
He was a different beast in the race, however - so calm and resolute was Lowndes, that he even had time to crack gags to engineer Campbell Little in the opening stint.
One by one, the challengers fell away. Skaife and Bright didn’t reach half-distance, Steven Johnson crashed early on at Reid Park, and Cameron McConville found the wall across Skyline, ending Greg Murphy’s hopes.
Kelly and older brother Todd emerged as Holden’s brightest light amid a day of carnage.
The Kelly brothers had between them won the previous three races - Rick in 2003 and 2004, Todd in 2005 - and loomed to go one better from their second place at Sandown.
Skaife bogs down off the line
A critical moment came at a late restart when Whincup passed leader Todd at Hell Corner, before handing the car back to Lowndes in the effective lead.
Still, as Bathurst does, the script kept being re-written, Lowndes and Kelly having to contend with several different hurdles en route to the finish.
The 2006 race was one of the slowest Bathurst 1000s on record, and the slowest of the modern era not affected by rain or red flags.
A record 10 Safety Car periods saw 36 of the race’s 161 laps held under caution.
Radisich's accident had the race neutralised for half an hour
Notably, the race was neutralised between laps 74 and 84 following a scary crash for Paul Radisich on the exit of The Chase that left the Kiwi with serious injuries.
Jason Richards’ later off at The Chase set up a grandstand finish, and title combatants Lowndes and Rick Kelly drove away from the field.
The two cars were inseparable to the end, and Kelly’s efforts were made tougher when Richards triggered local yellows atop the mountain with a crash at McPhillamy Park.
Lowndes took the chequered flag in a race time of six hours, 59 minutes and 53.5852s.
Kelly chases Lowndes late on
Third-placed man James Courtney crossed the line after seven hours had been clocked - but he narrowly beat Stone Brothers Racing teammate Russell Ingall to the podium by just 0.0056s.
However, the day belonged to Lowndes, who had honoured his fallen friend in the best way possible - winning the race Brock brought to the world.
"It is probably the most emotional race that I’ve had to do and it will always be the best victory that I’ll ever achieve,” Lowndes said a decade on from the race.
"There’s no doubt that for me, it’s a race I look back on and am really proud to get through that side of it.
Phil Brock hands the trophy in his brother's name to Lowndes and Whincup
“We had a little bit of luck, which is something you need there over the course of the day at Bathurst.
"To have that battle with Rick Kelly at the end of the day was amazing.
"Having our name engraved on the Brock Trophy for the first time was quite special.”
Kelly beat Lowndes to the 2006 title at Phillip Island in controversial circumstances, but the latter’s Bathurst fire only grew stronger.
Lowndes would win the Peter Brock Trophy on another five occasions; in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2018.
He heads to Bathurst in December looking for Great Race win No. 8 alongside Whincup, who is searching for his fifth and first since 2012.
The retiring Whincup will be hoping for a Lowndes-like repeat of 2018, with the latter winning in his final Bathurst start as a full-time driver.
The 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 will be held over six days from November 30, with race day on December 5.