Motor racing legend Craig Lowndes was officially recognised as an honorary citizen of Bathurst yesterday at the opening of a new exhibition celebrating his outstanding achievements in the sport.
The exhibition is the latest addition to the National Motor Racing Museum, and features many iconic mementos from Lowndes’ almost three decade long motor racing career.
Lowndes was named Bathurst’s 19th honorary citizen in September last year, and the opening of the exhibition served as a prime opportunity to finally recognise the seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner in the public eye.
“I’ve been coming here for many years now, and to be thought of in that way by the people of Bathurst is a great honour,” he said.
“Everyone here is really polite and respectful, and they’ve embraced the race events with plenty of enthusiasm throughout the years.”
Lowndes was in town over the weekend competing at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and said the new Town to Track event was a fantastic initiative to bring the drivers closer to the community.
“It was great to be able to drive the cars into the town and connect with members of the Bathurst community who may not have had the opportunity to make it to the 12 Hour,” he said.
“We’re currently in talks with Supercars about getting a Town to Track event in place for this year’s Bathurst 1000.”
The new exhibition features a number of vehicles reflecting Lowndes’ storied career, including the Ford BA Falcon he won the 2006 Bathurst 1000 in following the tragic death of his mentor, fellow legend Peter Brock.
Also featured in the exhibition is various pieces of memorabilia from Lowndes’ personal collection, including his treasured 1966 Ford Cortina.
Everyone here is really polite and respectful, and they’ve embraced the race events with plenty of enthusiasm throughout the years.Craig Lowndes
“It’s great to see the entire collection free of all the dust and mothballs and on display here at the museum,” he said.
“It’s not just my collection that stands out either, the motorbike memorabilia is fascinating.”
“The funny thing is that the motorbike guys think it’s claustrophobic being stuck in a car, but we think they’re nuts because they’re sitting on top of a rocket.”
In collaboration with the exhibition’s opening, a gold coin was donated by each visitor toward the Australian Road Safety Foundation, Lowndes’ charity of choice.
Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger said it was an absolute pleasure to welcome Lowndes among the fraternity of Bathurst’s honorary citizens.
“An honorary citizen is a non-resident who has made substantial contributions to the Bathurst community, and Lowndes is a worthy recipient,” Mr Hanger said.