Lowndes to debut new Commodore for Sandown

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Red Bull Racing will ramp up Craig Lowndes' Championship attack with a brand new car set to debut at the September 12-14 Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Lowndes will shakedown the new Holden Commodore VF, 888A-039, at the V8 Supercars Official Driving Experience at Norwell this week, but race his current chassis one last time at next event the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 on August 22-24.

"Craig's a bit of an enduro specialist, so we thought we'd give him a fresh baby for his favourites, the enduros," team boss Mark Dutton told v8supercars.com.au.

"Give it a warm up at Sandown and hopefully it's full noise at Bathurst."

Lowndes led the V8 Supercars Championship earlier this year but inconsistent results have seen him drop back as far as sixth.

He now runs third, 162 points off teammate and Championship leader Jamie Whincup, with 300 points up for grabs at both Sandown and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

In the enduros, Lowndes teams up with new partner Steve Richards in an attempt to win his sixth Sandown 500 and sixth Bathurst 1000.

Dutton is confident introducing a new car ahead of the Pirtek Enduro Cup will not be a problem.

"We're confident there will be no issues once we've done the shakedown, and that's why we're not scared to bring it into the enduros as well, because some people would be nervous about that.

"But we're confident in the crew of people we have to bolt the car together."

Dutton's assurance is backed up by history - In 2007 Triple Eight debuted a new Falcon for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with Lowndes and teammate Jamie Whincup behind the wheel, and won the race that was the second in the team's 2006-8 Bathurst hat trick.

Dutton said the control chassis in the new generation V8 Supercars meant teams didn't have much freedom to make changes - but when updates were available, they would be completed straight away, rather than when a new car was being constructed.

"Sometimes changes come along but we don't hang about for them. We do all our changes at once, basically... no big tweaks from that side."

The team will complete the shakedown to ensure everything is running smoothly and ensure Lowndes is comfortable in the car. They will also see if the car has a "personality".

"Whether it's more 'oversteery' or 'understeery' than the previous chassis - we hate when they appear to be different, because from the engineer's side, we like things to be scientific and make sense," he said.

"If it's as stiff as the old car, made exactly like the old car and has the same setup, it should behave like the old car. But we've had question marks in the past.

"We're not doing the shakedown for that reason, but Jamie got a new one for that reason last year - and now it is Craig's turn to get a new one."

Lowndes' current chassis will become a "run and won" spare.

Red Bull Racing Australia tested recently at Queensland Raceway and will run Lowndes' new Commodore at its final allocated test day for 2014 prior to Sandown.

Meanwhile, the Holden Racing Team will debut a new chassis for Garth Tander at the upcoming Sydney Motorsport Park 400, which will be shaken down at Winton on Tuesday August 19 prior to the event.

"On top of preparing for events we've also been building a new car - chassis WR021.." Anthony McDonald, Team Manager pic.twitter.com/Dxq9yUrJxA

Holden Racing Team (@holden_racing) August 7, 2014

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