The end of an era. The last fulltime contracted motorsport race for Australian V8 Supercars legend Craig Lowndes saw emotion and a show of respect, never seen before in the sport.
A popular figure, with some placing him on the same peddle still as Peter Brock and Dick Johnson, yet for a driver who has invested 24 years of his career in racing, to realize that the end was near, was emotional.
The entire industry, every driver and all the mechanics, engineers and stakeholders in the Virgin Australia V8 Supercars stood in a line to pay homage. In an extraordinary display of respect and sentiment, teams all awaited Lowndes to complete a lap of honour, and as seen below, took time to speak about the man, and offer their congratulations on his career to date.
An absolute legend of our sport.
Today we say thank you @craiglowndes888. #ThanksCL #VASC pic.twitter.com/Qqb5RVt9Tl
— Supercars (@supercars) November 25, 2018
Yet as the Australian driver tightened the helmet strap [fulltime] for the final time, he knew that his career was only moving from one point to another. He would never ‘leave’ the championship, and commentators and other drivers know that Craig Lowndes loves the sport so much that, in 2019 and onward, he will still be a part of the industry.
Thanks for the Memories, Craig Lowndes
In matching the high intensity of the final round of the 2018 Virgin Australia V8 Supercars Championship, high emotion was displayed when an Aussie motorsport legend ended his fulltime racing career.
This weekend we farewell a #CLegend from full-time driving. Thanks for all the memories @craiglowndes888, the grid will be a whole lot less smiley
Over 650 Races | 107 Wins (so far) | Only 1 Craig Lowndes#VASC pic.twitter.com/LI3Ug4hcg5
— TheSupercarsCollective (@VASC_Collective) November 20, 2018
He ended his career on 667 races completed, and from the earliest days until today, Craig Lowndes has gone from the fresh-faced kid in 1995, to the seasoned professional – ending his last race in P11. Respectable driving, right to the end.
Legend gets thrown around a lot these days, but it couldn’t be more fitting when describing The Kid, a huge part of our Team’s history. Today, we say #ThanksCL pic.twitter.com/4DJpzWhXyn
— Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing (@FollowWAU) November 24, 2018
Yet, like other recognized drives who have hung up their gloves; Mark Scaife, other category drivers like Michael Andretti and Jeff Gordon – all multiple champions in their motorsport category – have chosen retirement over the week-in-week-out calendar.
Craig Lowndes has chosen to retire from the fulltime competition only. After seven Bathurst championships and many Supercars/ATCC titles, he can safely know that his name will be held in distinction. Underlined in 2018 by a superb drive to claim his seventh Bathurst 100 title, back in October.
Yesterday, that quality was demonstrated best, as he walked down pit row; with opposing drivers and fellow competitors, all offering handshakes and congratulations, as he ended his time in the Championship series. (He will now only appear as a co-driver, in the Endurance races, like the Bathurst 1000).
The result was an aside to the situation. He might have finished first or last – the overall context, as the acknowledgment was of Craig Lowndes, it is easy to say tjat everyone shared the same statement; thanks for the Memories.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images