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Lowndes makes more history at Bathurst

Supercars icon Craig Lowndes will notch up another milestone when he becomes the first driver to record 300-round starts.

The 48-year-old will reach the extraordinary mark at next month’s Bathurst 1000, with the great race returning to its traditional October timeslot after two years affected by COVID-19.

After pairing with fellow great Jamie Whincup during the last three years, Lowndes will switch back to main driver status as rookie Declan Fraser helps him in the Triple Eight wildcard entry.

Despite having retired from full-time driving at the end of 2018, Lowndes remains a serious threat in the endurance events.

Hitting 300 round starts could be an achievement no one else comes close to, with Mark Winterbottom (267) the only current full-time driver even within reach.

“I think that over my career it has been nice to come up with some great milestones,” Lowndes told reporters.

“It’s nice to have it at a track (Mount Panorama) that I really hold highly valuable to me, in the sense that I’ve always wanted to win Bathurst, it’s a track that I grew up watching.

“It’s nice to roll out in the 300-club there.”

It will be Lowndes’ 29th-straight start in the Bathurst 1000, having made his debut at Mount Panorama back in 1994.

He is a seven-time winner of Australia’s most famous motor race, and last won back in 2018 with Steve Richards.

“Now being the lead driver again, I keep saying it’s like going full circle because now I’m the teacher teaching the student,” Lowndes said.

“Being back around the garage again has been interesting for me, and nothing has really changed.

“I think we will go there with a lot of confidence knowing that if we do our job as drivers, we will get a fast car that we can be up the front there somewhere and be hassling the rest of them.”

Supercars on Wednesday confirmed this year’s Bathurst 1000 will start at 11.15am on October 9, the last time a Commodore will go up against a Ford at Mount Panorama.

The series will head to New Zealand this weekend in the farewell event at Pukekohe Park Raceway, the last event before Bathurst.

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