Twenty years ago, Craig Lowndes ventured to Europe to race in European Formula 3000, then the feeder category to Formula 1. Lowndes reflects on his season racing overseas and return to V8 Supercars in his column in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #101.
Issue #101 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on issue #101.
"My whole upbringing was open-wheelers and it was something I wanted to get back into," writes Lowndes.
"The 1996 season was a stepping stone to where I wanted to get to, with the support of Tom Walkinshaw.
"It was the first time I'd left Australia so it was a culture shock. Living and racing for an Austrian team, the language barrier meant we struggled to communicate. And, obviously, it was a completely different team structure and mentality to what I was used to back home.
"In terms of my driving style, I needed to try to go back to my old open-wheeler style rather than a touring-car style. For the first half of the year we had one engineer covering both cars. And my teammate Juan Pablo Montoya came from an open- wheeler background, so he definitely had a different mind-set of what he wanted from the car, which didn't help me.
"I was hoping for a second season, so although it was great coming back to Australia to race in the endurance events and seeing family and friends, it did make me realise how homesick I had been. The way HRT welcomed me back reinforced that in Europe the team and its structure was probably not the right fit for me."
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