Motorsport: Lowndes set to make history

By Robert Grant

Craig Lowndes is set to make history this weekend in Tasmania. Photo / Getty Images
Craig Lowndes is set to make history this weekend in Tasmania. Photo / Getty Images

As he targets a V8 Supercars history-making milestone, Holden ace Craig Lowndes is preparing to continue Red Bull Racing's dominance in Tasmania this weekend.

A win for Lowndes at Symmons Plains, near Launceston, would not only extend his points lead over rivals but give him the most race wins in the history of the series.

The Holden racer has drawn level with Mark Skaife's winning record and needs just one more to set a new mark.

Lowndes admitted he had been thinking about the record since creeping closer last season.

"Even last year when we were two wins away from equalling Mark Skaife's record of 90 wins, it was always in the back of your mind if you have a chance of winning a race," Lowndes said.

"Now we've equalled Mark we've just got to get one more to eclipse him.

"It is a huge milestone, I'd be delighted, I can't wait to win another race to be able to set new records."

And his chances appear to be strong after he finished atop the points table following the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last month.

While the Car of the Future rules meant all teams had to work with new regulations and unknowns, Red Bull Racing has made the most of understanding the changes.

"I think that we've been able to extract the best of what we've got at the moment," Lowndes said.

"All teams are far from unlocking the car completely and ours has got some great potential still to be had."

He said that reliability was already starting to prove strong after the Adelaide and unofficial grand prix races.

"We've been quite fortunate enough that we've got good reliability, better than others at the moment, which has helped our results.

"But speed related we've still got a bit to find.

"If you look at just relative speed, Shane van Gisbergen (Tekno Team Holden) has had three pole positions if you include Melbourne grand prix.

"He's obviously got great car speed but hasn't actually turned that into anything as yet but no doubt they will."

Lowndes said the Albert Park meeting had been "hugely important."

"It was a completely different structured sort of circuit, it was fast-flowing and smooth so it was almost at the other end of the scale from Clipsal.

"We struggled with tyre life so for us as a team it was a very valuable weekend."

While Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are first and second on the points ladder after the first round, Lowndes said a relative order would not emerge until further into the season.

The new manufacturers - Mercedes Benz and Nissan - surprised him, in different ways.

"The Mercedes at this point is probably a disappointment because we were expecting them to be faster than they were," Lowndes said.

"The Nissans were better than what we were led to believe so there's no doubt that both those manufacturers will pick up the pace forward."

- AAP

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