Supercars legend Craig Lowndes at peace with retirement
SUPERCARS legend Craig Lowndes is at peace with his decision to retire and will not backflip despite a late-career form surge.
Lowndes will hit the streets of Surfers Paradise in this weekend's Gold Coast 600 on a high after his fairytale win at Bathurst a fortnight ago.
Lowndes and co-driver Steve Richards emerged victorious in the most popular race on the calendar following a dramatic day at Mount Panorama.
It was Lowndes' seventh Bathurst victory, drawing him closer to Peter Brock's record of nine wins, and followed up his podium finish at Sandown last month.
Lowndes, 44, has only three rounds left as a full-time Supercars driver before he departs Brisbane-based Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
But the category's most popular driver said he was content with his retirement decision and would not consider postponing it following his recent run of strong results.
"I'm still happy with the decision," Lowndes told The Courier-Mail.
"You never know when the right time is but I still believe it's the right time.
"I haven't woken up since the announcement in Townsville and felt it's been the wrong choice and I want to get back into a car full-time.
"There are other opportunities outside Supercars that I'm looking forward to pursuing.
"I'll be in a Red Bull car next year with either Jamie (Whincup) or Shane (van Gisbergen) going into this end of the year (endurance races).
"It's a great way to close out the full-time chapter of my driving."
Lowndes, a three-time championship winner, finished 10th overall last year but has fought back to be sitting fourth behind van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin and Whincup.
His last championship victory came in 1999, but Lowndes has seven Bathurst victories that he rates above championship wins.
While they all hold a special place in his heart, this year's was one of the more memorable given it was the perfect fairytale farewell.
"It's almost a movie script to be honest," he said.
"No, I can't (believe it). We didn't have the fastest car, but I've been in that situation where you've had dominant cars and come out without a result.
"It was a fairytale finish. It's slowly sunk in."
Lowndes will again be a crowd favourite at the Gold Coast as he competes for the final time as a full-time driver in a category in which he was won 107 races.
He last won at Surfers Paradise in 2013 and said he would head into the weekend confident as he leads the Enduro Cup.
"It's going to be nice to finish off at least the Enduro part of the season with a positive weekend," he said.
"Richo and I are really confident going into the weekend we will have another strong showing. It will be a little emotional that it's the last time we'll pair up together.
"We've had good results the last couple of years down here.
"We want to cap it off this weekend on the streets of the Gold Coast."
Practice beings on Friday with racing on Saturday and Sunday.
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