Dual roles a ‘balancing act’ for Lowndes

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/10/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Craig Lowndes will be a busy man at Bathurst, mixing his return to driving at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team with television duties on Fox Sports.

The seven-time and reigning Bathurst winner is co-driving with Jamie Whincup this year, after calling time on his career as a primary driver at the end of 2018.

Lowndes has been a key part of Fox Sports' coverage at every event this season, providing expert comments between track sessions alongside Mark Skaife.

The 45-year-old will continue to be part of the coverage throughout the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, providing insight from the team garage.

“This year it is completely different for me, dual roles,” Lowndes told Supercars.com of his Bathurst campaign.

“Firstly I’ll be there as a race driver and supporting Jamie and the team, but no doubt doing live crosses from the garage filling in the people at home what’s going on.

“There is going to be a balancing act there between driving and the TV world, but I think the more that we can share and give back to the fans and the viewers at home, the better.

“There’s no doubt that this year through Fox and free-to-air that they have definitely got a better insight of what goes on within teams and Bathurst will be another step forward for that.”

When Skaife stepped back from full-time driving in 2009, he combined co-driving and TV commitments in a similar fashion.

“It is difficult,” Skaife told Supercars.com of the challenge ahead for Lowndes, who he teamed with to win the race in 2010.

“There’s an expectation around being able to do what your mainstay job is, which now for Craig is part of the media, and then to go and do the co-driver role and do it well.”

Another Bathurst legend, Greg Murphy, is also part of the current broadcast team, having decided to stop co-driving at the end of 2014 to take up a permanent TV position.

“It’s going to be interesting, there’s going to be a fair bit of management around Lowndesy, making sure he’s in the right place at the right time,” he said in a Facebook Live preview of the event.

“It’s a massive undertaking, a huge commitment to try and do the job to win the race and obviously do other commitments around TV.

“I take my hat off to him because it’s not for me. [It’s] too big a job, way too big a job.”

Skaife stressed that returning as a co-driver will be a different task for Lowndes, who has not raced in any category since February’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

“When I’ve driven well there as a co-driver, I felt like I hadn’t been away,” he said, having continued for three years as a co-driver before retiring to focus on other commitments.

“I was back at one with the car and everything was happening slowly for me, all the things that are indicators of making things as good as you can possibly make it.

“That’s the type of thing that Craig will be challenged with. It’s a more difficult scenario than you think.”

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