Lowndes expecting Sandown 500 wildcard effort2 min read
The Supercars legend will return to the Supercheap Auto-backed Triple Eight wildcard entry this season, paired with Zane Goddard.
This will be the third year of T8’s wildcard programme which in 2021 and 2022 was limited to the only long-distance race on the schedule, the Bathurst 1000.
While the 2023 programme has been confirmed, as it stands none of the details, including which races it will cover, have been unveiled.
That’s thought to be because the Supercars Commission is yet to finalise the wildcard rules for the coming season, and therefore no wildcards have been formally approved.
The Bathurst 1000 is a lock while there has also been speculation that Goddard could take the wheel of the Supercheap Camaro for a solo round at some point during the season.
One event Lowndes is expecting to be part of the programme is the revived Sandown 500 which will return to the schedule as a two-driver race for the first time since 2019.
“I think the programme or the plan is to do both the enduros,” Lowndes told the Castrol Motorsport News podcast.
“It’s fantastic to have the 500 back on the calendar. It’s something that it needed to be, and I suppose being selfish now as a co-driver, just having one enduro race a year is not enough.
“I think we saw the last couple of years where again the inexperienced drivers really struggled to get their head around the speed of the [Bathurst 1000] race, the enormity of it, and to have a 500 is a great opportunity to basically shake the rust off and get ready for the Bathurst 1000.”
Lowndes has high hopes for both endurance races, the seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner predicting he and Goddard, the most experienced line-up in the T8 wildcard yet, will be in the hunt for podiums.
That prediction follows Lowndes and Declan Fraser’s eighth place at Bathurst last year, the best ever finish for a wildcard entry in the race.
“We have both been talking about it and we’ve both got a feeling that we can definitely get onto the podium somewhere,” said Lowndes.
“It’s great to have Zane alongside us with his experience in the main game but also his experience in other categories around the world. He brings a lot of experience and speed to the table and I’m really excited about that.
“Last year, Declan, he’s a great young kid and again very talented but at the same time, it was his first big sort of opportunity – and he grasped it with both hands. But Zane brings a lot of experience.”