Craig Lowndes will be awarded honorary Bathurst citizenship at this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
A six-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 and two-time winner of the Bathurst 12 Hour, Lowndes joins a select group to receive the honour from Bathurst Council.
The title, honorary citizen of Bathurst, is awarded to those who are not citizens of the city, but are deemed to have “contributed beyond the call of duty”.
Those to have previously received the honour include Lowndes’ mentor Peter Brock and Ford legend Allan Moffat.
Mayor of Bathurst, Cr Graeme Hanger OAM said it was fitting that Lowndes be awarded the honour at his last appearance at Bathurst as a full-time Supercars driver.
“Craig is a three-time Supercars Championship winner, a five times Barry Sheene Medal recipient, a six-time Bathurst winner, a two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner and the first driver in Australian history to reach 100 championship race wins,” said Hanger.
“He was also awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to both the community through his road safety work and to his sport. He is also a firm fan favourite.
“Craig has also recently voiced an app for Council which tells some of the motorsport stories associated with the iconic Mt Panorama circuit.”
Lowndes added: “It is a great honour to be recognised as an Honorary Citizen. Bathurst and I share a lot of history and Mount Panorama is a place I consider very special.
“It’s an icon of Australian motorsport, but also a place very close to my heart.”
Lowndes first shot to prominence at Bathurst in 1994 when, on his Great Race debut, he finished second after leading briefly in the closing stages.
He went on to win the race in 1996, 2006, ’07, ’08, ’10 and ’15, alongside 12 Hour triumphs in ’14 and ’17.
Lowndes will return to Bathurst following a podium alongside co-driver Steven Richards at Sandown, completing Triple Eight’s podium sweep.
“When you start talking about a place like Bathurst, it always gives you a little bit of nerves inside knowing what you're going to go into and knowing the history of what we've had there,” he said.
“I’ve always said, and I haven't been shy saying, that I always want to win at Bathurst over a championship. This year will be no different.
“It'll be really hard fought out competition, 161 laps around there is going to be gruelling race.
“The cars are reliable now, it's almost now a 161-lap sprint race, every time the co-drover or the main driver's in, doing 22, 23, 24 laps per stint, they're flatout.
“This is our last full-time attempt at it, but of course we'll be back next year as a co-driver and hopefully the year after that and the year after that.”