Craig Lowndes has shut down speculation that he could make a shock full-time Supercars comeback in the near future, confirming his retirement will be permanent.
The 44-year-old made one last start as a Supercars full-timer in Newcastle late last month, ahead of a new career dovetailing an enduro drive with Triple Eight with TV commitments and plans to race at some big overseas events.
However not everyone is convinced that Lowndes is truly done as a Supercars regular, with speculation that he could make a shock full-time return after a break in 2019.
That speculation has been fuelled by a recent column penned by John Crennan for the Automotive Dealer Magazine.
The former Holden Racing Team boss, who was at the helm of the squad when it first signed Lowndes in 1994, wrote that Lowndes is "burnt out", and that he'd be back in the series in either 2020 or 2021.
“My theory starts with a basic assumption that Craig would undoubtedly have mega sports star fatigue after 24 years of racing, travel, sponsors, media and the politics of sport,” Crennan wrote.
“Burnout with top sport stars is best treated with a well thought out long break when your performances are still very competitive, as Craig’s are.
“My money is on Craig returning to a full-time Supercar seat in either 2020 or 2021 for these reasons;
“A) I don’t see Craig suited to a top media role nor a team management or ownership position,
“B) the Sean Seamers of Supercars know Craig puts volume bums on seats and turns on television sets and a comeback would reignite massive interest for the sport,
“C) about this time next year Craig will start getting itchy feet for full-time racing and be missing all the trapping deserving of a superstar in the sport.... we will see!”
However Lowndes has hosed down Crennan's theory, the veteran racer confirming once and for all that Newcastle was his final start as a Supercars full-timer.
"I'm burnt out apparently. I don't think I'm burnt out, I just need a change," he said.
"I read those reports, and basically I'm not going to make a return full-time. Especially not in Supercars. We'll see what else is out there, and I want to do some sportscar stuff and other things.
"Supercars will always be here, I'll still always be a co-driver in some form for a number of years to come. I'll get my fix through that."
When pressed on whether a break could lead to a change of heart, Lowndes was adamant it won't happen.
"No. I'm still comfortable with myself with the decision we've made," he said.
"In 12 months time, if I'm itching to get back in a car, I don't think it will be a Supercar."
Lowndes has won 107 races so far in his Supercars career, with future outings set to be limited to the three long-distance events at Bathurst, Sandown, and the Gold Coast.
He's widely-tipped to be paired with Jamie Whincup for those races in 2019.
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