BELOVED Australian racing car driver Craig Lowndes is the latest person to be awarded honourary citizenship of Bathurst.
Lowndes has been coming to the city for more than two decades, debuting in 1994.
His successes around Mount Panorama include six Bathurst 1000 wins and two victories in the 12 Hour.
The popular driver, who will retire from full-time racing at the end of 2018, was surprised by the honour.
"I didn't have any idea," Lowndes said.
"From what I understand, the council put my name forward and they all voted on it and that was it, they accepted it. It's a great honour."
The title is awarded to those who are not citizens of the city, but have contributed beyond the call of duty.
Lowndes is the 19th person to have been given the honour, joining other motor sport names such as Peter Brock and Allan Moffat.
"It's amazing, I'm the 19th person that's been nominated. It was a phone call out of the blue and it's a great honour," Lowndes said.
"Getting to Bathurst this year and being awarded that side of it, I'm looking forward to it."
Lowndes said that Bathurst and the mount have always been special to him and he looks forward to being back again this October.
"I think there's no doubt that, as a country town, it definitely explodes with all the fans, and very passionate fans at that, over the course of the Bathurst week.
"But it's not just that, now you've got the 12 Hour, you've got other races up there, you've got the six hour, other events which showcase Bathurst as a destination, but also as a race track.
"We normally do an annual road trip down the east coast, we actually leave tomorrow [Friday]. We spent some time training and relaxing before what will be a massive week in Bathurst.
"We will get into town on Tuesday and of course it all starts from then. When you come over the Blue Mountains and see those white rocks that spell out Mount Panorama, it does give you goosebumps.”
Lowndes has worked his way up to being one of the most successful drivers in Australian history.
In May, 2015, he became the first and only Supercars driver to start 650 races and won over 100 races in his career.
He was also awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to both the community through his road safety work and to his sport