Craig's Corner: Everything on the line at AGP

19 Mar
The second exclusive Supercars.com column by Supercars Hall of Famer Craig Lowndes for the 2024 season

This is the second exclusive Supercars.com column by Supercars Hall of Famer Craig Lowndes for the 2024 season. Seven-time Bathurst winner Lowndes will preview each round of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship from his own perspective, continuing with this weekend’s MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint.

It's going to be a really interesting weekend in Melbourne. It's an all-out sprint format, which will throw a number of curveballs at the championship fight.

It's a championship points weekend, but on the same token, it's a massive platform to be in front of Formula 1 and their audience. So, there'll also be lots of pride on the line.

It’s a different race track to what we would normally race on. Albert Park has a flat, smooth surface, and is a fast, flowing style of track. But don’t be fooled, there are some tight corners, especially the second last corner, Turn 15.

There are many good passing opportunities on this track, like Turn 1, Turn 3, and Turn 15. The Turn 11-12 chicane is super fast, and sets you up for a pass into Turn 13.

The flowing style always produces great racing — who could forget the two-by-two battles through Turn 5 last year?

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It’s a jam-packed format, which makes car set-up critical. Thursday has quick-fire sessions with short gaps, so if you roll out with a fast car, you've got an advantage. If you don't roll out fast, you'll probably be playing catch-up all weekend.

At Albert Park, you need to have a set-up that's going to work, so the driver's going to be confident straight out of pit lane. If you're not within that set-up window, it's going to be very difficult. Qualifying is really important, because track position is important. If you’re playing catch-up, you're not anywhere near where you want to be.

I think there will be some surprising winners over the course of the weekend, because of the format and the way the weekend is structured. Teams that have been complaining about tyre wear and tyre life won't have that issue this weekend. Four races, no pit stops, and the Soft tyre. It’s going to be busy, fast and really entertaining!

The first two races are 19 laps, and the final two races are 14 laps. The longer races will be about looking after tyres and choosing when to attack. However, the short races will be really intense and dramatic — there’s no doubt about that.

However, teams have got to keep in the back of their minds that this is not a demonstration weekend. This is a championship round, and you can win or lose so many points. There’s so much up for grabs for everyone, but even more to lose.


There are teams that definitely want to make a statement. Walkinshaw Andretti United is one of them, given how competitive Chaz Mostert was in Bathurst.

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I’m really looking forward to seeing how Chaz carries momentum into the Grand Prix after his fast start to the year. He has won four races at the Grand Prix in the past, and he likes the circuit. I think he will definitely be a contender, and he wants to put Triple Eight under pressure.

I was also impressed by his teammate Ryan Wood in Bathurst, and I expect him to turn heads this weekend. Unfortunately, he missed out on the Bathurst Shootout because of yellow flags, but he has shown really good initial speed, and has stepped up to the mark.

I’m also keen to see how Brad Jones Racing performs — they have had some very fast cars at the Grand Prix in the past as well. Andre Heimgartner finished second there last year, and BJR had very strong race pace in Bathurst.

Richie Stanaway also loves this style of circuit, and he was super quick in Bathurst. He loves fast circuits, given his open-wheel background, and I believe he has potential to get podiums, or better.

I'd also love to see DJR bounce back and score a stronger result. Their Bathurst performance there was definitely underwhelming, and they always have fast cars at the Grand Prix.

Then, there’s Aaron Love, who was a winner here in Carrera Cup, and has raw pace. He has James Courtney alongside side, which is important for his development. It’s great when you've got a teammate that you can lean on and, and get information from.

Sprint racing is back, and it doesn’t get more cutthroat than this. Enjoy the action!

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