Craig Lowndes predicts this year’s Bathurst 1000 could be the fastest on record should rain stay away from Mount Panorama on Sunday.
The seven-time Bathurst winner has been heading to the mountain for almost three decades but says the field at this year’s event is exceptionally talented.
Speaking to foxsports.com.au this week, Lowndes predicted that the quality of drivers, as well as improved car reliability, could lead to a Bathurst record in the right conditions.
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“I think it will probably be almost a record race in race time,” the Supercars legend said.
“Depending on weather, because there might be some rain over the weekend, but if it’s a dry day my prediction is it’s going to be one of the fastest races we’ve seen because of the quality of driver line-up, the reliability of cars and the competition.”
The chances of a dry race looked slim on Thursday when the Bureau of Meteorology forecast between 15 and 20 millimetres of rain in Bathurst, although the showers may not arrive until after the race’s expected 5.45pm (AEDT) finish.
Meanwhile, Lowndes is once again teaming up with Jamie Whincup at Red Bull Holden with the greats hunting their eighth and fifth Bathurst crowns respectively.
Reigning Supercars and Bathurst champion Scott McLaughlin remains the man to beat along with his co-driver at Shell V-Power Racing, Tim Slade.
Nonetheless, the caliber of co-drivers and the hunger to win at Bathurst when nothing else is on the line will make it difficult for the Kiwi, Lowndes said.
“I think everyone comes into this weekend now with a clean slate,” he said. “The championship has been decided so everyone comes here wanting to win the major event of the year.
“I think the race will be very tough. It’ll be very fast because of the combination of co-drivers and the quality of co-drivers now. I think there’s no doubt that that’s improved.”
Lowndes added that the limited time on track this year for the co-drivers means there is a premium on limiting mistakes.
“Everyone has got to be on their game and, at the same time, co-drivers haven’t had a lot of seat time,” he said.
“So it’s going to come down to making the least amount of mistakes, having good confidence and knowledge of the place and handing the car to Jamie in a strong position in the end.”