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Lowndes, Schenken inducted to Supercars Hall of Fame

CRAIG Lowndes and Tim Schenken have become the latest inductees to the Supercars Hall of Fame.

The pair were inducted at Monday evening’s Supercars Gala Awards, held at the Adelaide Oval in the wake of the season-ending Adelaide 500.

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A victorious Craig Lowndes at Eastern Creek 1996. Photo: Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.

Lowndes’ exceptional career, headlined by three Supercars Championships and seven Bathurst 1000 victories, was always destined to lead to a Hall of Fame berth.

His debut in touring car racing in 1994 kickstarted the trend of younger drivers battling the sport’s established stars, a point emphasised by his stunning championship victory in his first full-time Australian Touring Car Championship season in 1996.

After his breakthrough successes with the Holden Racing Team, Lowndes made the shock switch to Ford for the 2001 season, winning races for Gibson Motorsport, 00 Motorsport and Ford Performance Racing before linking with Triple Eight Race Engineering for 2005, a team he has remained with ever since.

Lowndes was a threat for race wins for over two decades, and became the first driver to achieve 100 ATCC/SC race wins in 2015.

He is also a five-time Barry Sheene Medallist – Supercars’ ‘best and fairest’ award – as well as a two-time Bathurst 12 Hour victor, and Lowndes was inducted to the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2019.

In addition to his successes on the track, Lowndes has earnt the largest fan base and profile of any Supercars driver outside the sport and received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2012 for his services to the Australian community, in particular through road safety education and charity work.

He retired from full-time driving in Supercars since the end of the 2018 season, but Lowndes continues to be a valued enduro co-driver for Triple Eight Race Engineering and becomes the second active Supercars driver to be inducted to the category’s Hall of Fame.

Tim Schenken in 2021, holding his farewell present from the Supercars community: a Stonie cartoon of him holding a glass of red wine… Pic: Motorsport Australia

Schenken has been a key figure in Australian motorsport for six decades, first as a driver and competitor, then as an administrator within the sport’s governing body.

After beginning in club racing in the 1960s, Schenken headed to England in 1965 to pursue a professional career, earning success in Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 2 before graduating to Formula 1, where he made a total of 36 starts for the Williams, Brabham, Surtees, Trojan and Lotus teams between 1970 and 1974.

His best race result was a third placing for Brabham in the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix; as of 2022, he is one of just five Australians to have claimed a podium finish in the Formula 1 World Championship.

He also became a respected sports car pilot across the same period, racing and winning for Ferrari during the 1972 and 1973 seasons before it departed the class to focus on its F1 efforts.

After co-founding the Tiga Race Cars company in 1974, which built successful open-wheel racers and sports cars, Schenken returned to Australia in the 1980s to take up a position with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport, now Motorsport Australia.

The most high-profile of his roles was as race director for the Supercars Championship, holding the top job in race control from 1987 until his retirement at the end of the 2021 season, in addition to serving as Clerk of Course for the Australian Grand Prix and holding key roles within CAMS and the FIA.

Like Lowndes, Schenken was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016 for services to motorsport and he was inducted to the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2018.

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