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Home Supercars CRAIG LOWNDES IS STILL A SUPERCARS FAN FAVORITE, AND THEY NEED HIM...

CRAIG LOWNDES IS STILL A SUPERCARS FAN FAVORITE, AND THEY NEED HIM BACK

By Caroline

Opinion piece by Paul Gover

No-one in Supercars can pull a crowd like Craig Lowndes.

He has more star power than anyone who has a full-time ride in season 2022 and that’s not likely to change in 2023 or beyond.

You only have to watch the way crowds react to Lowndes to see that he has a unique appeal.

He is the Peter Brock of his generation.

Yet Lowndes is about to race at Bathurst as a Wildcard (above), not as a serious contender with a front-line squad pushing his efforts, and he has also slipped down the batting order on Supercars Television.

He is often relegated to calling races as the expert commentator on a minor category, like SuperUtes.

On the racing front, his hope of completing another full season in the Carrera Cup floundered early in the year and his presence at the Bathurst 12-Hour was very low-key for a driver – any driver – with his record at Mount Panorama.

He is not racing at the Finke in a desert truck, or wheeling something sideways for fun in the Touring Car Masters, or even scooting about in a V8 ute.

It’s not good enough.

Lowndes is not The Kid these days, as he was when he exploded into action with the Holden Racing Team, but his transition to Old Mate could become a win-win for everyone in motorsport.

He should be front and center on race weekends, and worked into the new marketing and social media push that’s been promised by the RACE team that now controls Supercars.

There should be a special run of Lowndes’ merchandise and a book, or books.

Remember when Brock was the front man and chief spruiker for Holden and a wide spread of other A-grade brands, including Bridgestone?

But can you remember the last time that Lowndes was used to front a major advertising push?

Exactly . . .

What makes Lowndes special is his ‘everyman (every person)’ appeal.

He can talk to anyone, anywhere, as if he was just a mate at the pub.

People say he is the new Brock, but Lowndes has his own knockabout appeal. It’s similar to Brock, but definitely not the same.

Where Brock would be fully briefed and groomed to perfection, starting from the days when was shaped so well by the late (and great) Tim Pemberton through to the times when he became a true motorsport statesman, Lowndes can just wing-it with anyone.

He’s happy to have a chat, and a crack, with anyone who asks.

And he has that crazy, infectious laugh and the crinkly smile.

These days, the fans are still asking but no-one is answering.

It’s hard to know what has gone wrong, or why, but it should be an easy fix.

Find a crowd, add Lowndes, mix and leave to rise.

As it is, the incandescent flame that once burned around Lowndes is dimming. And it’s sad.

He could still be the most valuable player in Supercars, starting with a big push around Bathurst in October and sliding through to an elder statesman role in the Gen3 era and beyond.

No-one is expecting him to win at Mount Panorama this year, but he will still be a solid Top 10 co-driver in The Great Race and a driver who could easily spring a surprise in the dying laps.

And that would be something to cheer on. Again. As always.

For more of the latest motorsport news pick up the current issue of Auto Action.

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