Craig Lowndes isn’t giving up winning an elusive fourth Supercars title before retiring at the end of the current season.
Lowndes announced on Friday in Townsville that he’ll step back to co-driving duties in 2019, drawing a close to a 22-year full-time career.
The now 44-year-old burst onto the Australian touring car scene in 1996, winning the title in each of his first three attempts – split only by a single-year European racing sojourn.
Remarkably, Lowndes finished in Supercars' top four every year from when he joined Triple Eight in 2005 through to '16, without taking a fourth crown.
He finished second six times in that period, including three to team-mate Jamie Whincup.
Lowndes currently sits fourth in the 2018 standings and, although already 413 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin, the veteran remains well in the fight.
“We’ve still got six months to go, we’re going to be fighting hard until the end of this year,” he said when asked of the prospect of ending his career without a fourth title.
“But look, we’ve had a stellar career and we’ve been second numerous times to Jamie, which has been a thorn in my side but he’s been a fantastic team-mate.
“Collectively, Jamie and I have pushed the team to where it is, and I think that for me there are probably all sorts of reasons why that fourth championship never came.
“We’ve been in positions where we had an opportunity maybe to win that fourth championship, but again, I’m not disappointed with what we’ve achieved, and we’ve got six months to go.
“We’re sitting fourth in the championship, we’re going to push really hard this weekend and beyond and see where we end up. We want to finish the season in a positive.”
Lowndes' last title came in 1999
Lowndes sits alongside his late mentor Peter Brock on three titles, four behind record holder Whincup, who claimed his latest crown last year.
Brock and Lowndes are, however, best known for their Bathurst wins – the former with nine on the board and the latter with six.
“For me, Bathurst has always been the highlight of the year, I’ve always been open about that,” said Lowndes.
“There’s no doubt that when we get to Bathurst this year, Richo (co-driver Steven Richards) and I, we’re going to give it our all to make that – for me – number seven and another one for the team.”
It is yet to be decided who Lowndes will co-drive with next year, with Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen both expressing hope of being paired with the fan favourite.