The quiet life of rac­ing car driver Craig Lown­des

At home with There’s more than one way to keep this cham­pion’s en­gine run­ning

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Words Catherine Nikas-Bou­los Pic­tures Mark Hors­burgh More craiglown­; Su­percheap Au­too Bathurst 1000 runs Oc­to­ber 5-8

As the pro­fes­sional race car set get ready to burn rub­ber at the Su­percheap Auto Bathurst 1000 next Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 5, Holden V8 Com­modore cham­pion Craig Lown­des will be lined up among them hop­ing to claim the che­quered flag.

He has al­ready held the cham­pion’s tro­phy aloft on six other oc­ca­sions, but his hunger to win this iconic Aus­tralian race has not abated.

To­gether with wife Lara, Craig has pre­pared for the race by driv­ing in a car­a­van from their home in Queens­land a week prior, stay­ing in coastal towns along the way.

“We do it ev­ery year, and it’s about tak­ing a men­tal break a week be­fore that race as much as any­thing else,” says Craig. “We do travel far and wide, but I know the east coast well.

“We take the push bikes with us so when we get out and take in the fresh air and sights we can ex­plore dif­fer­ent towns along the he way.”way.

With about 15 race weeks dur­ing the e year, Craig rel­ishes his time at home, which is set on about 3ha. His home is close to race team am head­quar­ters and the air­port, which is handy as he is re­quired to at­tend more than 20000 func­tions na­tion­ally dur­ing the year. Craig ex­plains be­ing home is “like a hol­i­day”,”, where he can jump on his dirt bike or take out the go-kart.

“My job is awesome, but we do travel a lot,” he says. “Peo­ple ask me what I do for down time, and I tell them, ‘I spend it at home’.”

That’s not to say he kicks back on the lounge much when he is home.

“I’m a qual­i­fied me­chanic, so if I am not be­hind the wheel I’m un­der the bon­net.”

Who V8 Su­per­car cham­pion driver Craig Lown­des Where Bris­bane

Favourite thing I bought this car (Ford Cortina Mk I, 1966 model) when I was 17. It spent about 10 years in a Ford mu­seum in Gee­long. When the mu­seum was closed the cars went back to their own­ers. I reg­is­tered it for the road, but it’s a pretty bare-boned car with no lux­ury. And it drives like an old car Home is For me, be­ing at home is a hol­i­day

Bathurst 1000

tro­phy We’ve won the Bathurst race six times. This is the cur­rent one. That’s the Holy Grail for me. If you want to win one race, it’s that one.

Dirt bike Any­thing with a mo­tor is good with me. I use the dirt bike as part of my fit­ness train­ing, I don’t re­ally like go­ing to the gym so I have to think out­side the box.

Barry Sheene medal This medal is given for best and fairest. I have been lucky to win five of them, and they mean a lot to me be­cause they are voted for by my peers and of­fi­cials.

Lola She’s a great lit­tle res­cue dog and we de­bated for al­most two years be­fore if we should get one. We travel so much that we had to get the right dog to suit our life­style.

Hel­met I have kept all the hel­mets that I’ve worn for the last 15 years, I have put the kids’ faces on the back of the hel­mets (Levi, 14, Chilli, 12), so it’s a time­line of them grow­ing up too.

iPhone It can be a good or a bad thing. With tech­nol­ogy, you have a mo­bile of­fice and can be in con­tact 24/7. I am get­ting to the point now where I can switch off in the af­ter­noon though.

Watch Lara and I have been mar­ried two years in De­cem­ber. She gave me this Omega watch as a wed­ding present and it was the per­fect choice. She ob­vi­ously knows me well.

Chill­ies We have about eight vegie patches. I can’t take credit, my wife Lara is the green thumb, but I am a good taste tester. Chilli is the most prom­i­nent fix­ture in the gar­den bed.

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