Craig Lowndes has hinted that he's likely to see out his current two-year deal as a full-time Supercars driver, amid a significant upswing in form compared to the 2017 season.
While Lowndes has admitted that the "phasing out" part of his career – namely slimming back his in-car commitments to an enduro drive – is likely to start at the end of his current deal in 2020, he's also failed to rule out stepping away from a full-time seat at the end of the current season.
The speculation about his future wasn't helped by a relatively poor 2017 season, which saw him finish outside the top four in the points for the first time since joining Triple Eight back in 2005.
However, thanks to an upturn in form this season, Lowndes is now speaking in positive terms about seeing out the two-year deal he signed with Triple Eight to cover the '18 and '19 seasons.
"[Retirement] wasn't in my mind, so I’m not sure where that came from," said Lowndes when asked if hanging up the helmet is now out of the question.
"We have a contract for this year and next year.
"Last year was terrible, there's no question about that. In my whole career I've had a couple of years where it's been pretty lean, both in Ford days, Holden days, and last year was terrible. You can't hide from it. Results show what it is.
"You've got to be realistic. If you're not performing, you're not getting results. I don't want to be a driver to make up numbers and circulate and do it for fun. You want to be there competitive, for the sponsors, the team, and yourself.
"Last year, as I said, we had a rollercoaster ride, and at the end of the year to be honest with you were a little bit down on yourself. You don't doubt yourself, but you're down because you're working hard but the results are not coming.
"Now we're seeing the fruits of what we did and seeing seeds of what we put in last year to make sure this year was smelling like roses."
Lowndes has enjoyed a solid run of results over the last six races, with three podiums (including a win). He's also qualified inside the top four three times since the start of the Tasmania round, although his third place on Sunday in Perth did come from the back row of the grid.
In terms of the championship Lowndes is currently fourth, second-best of the Triple Eight drivers and 194 points behind DJR Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin.
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