Results may suggest otherwise but motorsport great Craig Lowndes says he has his mojo back as he prepares for next week’s milestone Supercars round at the Australian Grand Prix.
The 43-year-old did not look like he had made much progress from his winless 2017 campaign at the opening Supercars round in Adelaide.
The Holden veteran made telling mistakes in two qualifying sessions before battling back to finish ninth and seventh respectively in the round’s two races on the tough street circuit.
In contrast, five of the six podium places on offer in round one were filled by drivers using the same ZB Commodore on offer to Lowndes.
But he believed the stage was set for him to show what his Holden could truly do next week in Melbourne when Supercars race for points for the first time on the Grand Prix program.
“Definitely the speed is there,” six-time Bathurst 1000 winner Lowndes told Supercars.com.
“The potential was there to be in the (top) 10 both days (in Adelaide) which is very different to last year where we struggled for speed and performance.
“My confidence is back and if we can duplicate that every race weekend we’re going to be in the 10 and pushing for podiums.
“I’m definitely more confident than I have been in a while.
“We’ve got the ingredients to be able to do it, we’ve just got to execute it.”
Usually a pressure-free, non-championship weekend, the Supercars round at Albert Park – dubbed the Melbourne 400 – will boast four races for points with two 13-lap sprints and a pair of twilight, 25-lap pit stop events.
The opening race is on March 23.
“It is exciting. Finally we go to the Australian Grand Prix with something to win or lose,” Lowndes told speedcafe.com.
“We have come as a support act for so many years and it didn’t really matter what you did in terms of results, as long as you got something coming out of it.
“Now it is part of the championship there is a different mindset going into it.
“You really have to maximise getting the most out of the car in those two short practice sessions (before races).”
Shane van Gisbergen leads the Supercars drivers standings with a perfect 300 points after claiming both wins in Adelaide ahead of fellow Holden drivers David Reynolds (258) and James Courtney (240).
Three-time touring car champion Lowndes is seventh (180).