Shakedown kicks off Lowndes' enduro campaign

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 14/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Craig Lowndes' Pirtek Enduro Cup campaign has already begun, with the shakedown of his new chassis running without a hitch today.

As reported earlier this week on V8supercars.com.au, Lowndes and co-driver Steven Richards will have a new Commodore for the long distance events, starting with the Wilson Security Sandown 500 next month.

The Red Bull racer ran the allocated 60km to shakedown the new car at the V8 Supercars Driving Experience in Norwell today, in order to assess and iron out any issues before its first proper hit-out.

"The car's fine, I think it's got the new car smell, so it's always nice to have that!" Lowndes told v8supercars.com.au - and shared the above photo with us.

"It's a little bit hard, at this stage, to gauge where the car is at in regards to the existing one ... but it's great to finally get a new car and both Richo and I will be looking forward to it at Sandown.

"Mechanically and electronically it all went strong, so that side of it it's great - to get it out, iron out any bumps if there were to be any.

"It's obviously a credit to the team to roll a car out and be problem free at the moment."

That means next weekend's Sydney Motorsport Park 400 will be Lowndes' final run in his current chassis 888A-036- and with a test day before Sandown, the team has an even better opportunity to assess the nature of the car.

"It was nice to drive, it did everything we needed it to, so that was a great positive - but how sensitive the car is to changes and everything else, we won't know until we give it a proper test day."

Performing well at the Pirtek Enduro Cup is crucial for Lowndes, who is well in the Championship hunt, just 163 points from teammate Jamie Whincup who reclaimed the lead at the last event in Queensland.

With 300 points on offer at each long distance event, including the one they all want to win, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, small deficiencies could determine who remains in the hunt.

"The Championship is really close - we're third, but only about 160 points off Jamie, and now we've got James Courtney lingering not far behind me now.

"It's a great battle, I think it's going to be one of those Championships that's going to go down to Homebush.

"I'm not sure about most drivers, but I've always said - and Jamie has too - that you won't know if you're either in or out of the Championship until you're through Gold Coast.

"Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast are three major races with 900 points that can definitely make or break your Championship. So you get those out of the way and you really know from that point on whether you're in for a shot, or you've just got to make up the numbers."

The fan favourite said he and Richards are "delighted" to christen 888A-039 at the big races. And with 'Richo' getting valuable seat-time during the team's last test, when Lowndes was racing in Europe, there's a strong chance the new car could win on debut - Triple Eight managed it at Bathurst in 2007, after all.

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