MTA Queensland members, and apprentices of MTA Institute, were treated to a close encounter with motorsport legend Craig Lowndes in the run-up to last month’s Watpac Townsville 400. On the Wednesday evening before the weekend’s race meeting, in an event organised by Lowndes’ Team Vortex sponsor MTAA Super, the supercar great met with around 20 apprentices, managers and employers from the Townsville area to talk about his career, his life as a supercar driver, the future of the sport and a host of other subjects.

In attendance on the evening was Adam Silver, Service Manager at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Holden dealership. Accompanied by one of his first-year apprentices, Adam said Lowndes’ presentation was very inspirational.

“He talked about his past, present and potential future; outlined what engineers do and what the future of the sport might be; and really delved into how the cars are set up for races and their mechanical and aerodynamic fundamentals,” said Adam. “He didn’t shy away from anything and was really approachable.

“It really was very interesting, especially from an apprentice’s point of view. He talked about things that they don’t necessarily see or think about during their training and shared a lot of knowledge. For instance, he mentioned that supercars leave a lot of rubber on the track – which is something the team must consider when subsequently adjusting and setting up the car. My first-year apprentice didn’t realise something like that – an issue that seems so small – can be so significant, and by the end of the evening he had a lot of questions!”

While Lowndes presented to, and fielded questions from, the group throughout the evening, he would later mingle with guests, taking the time to catch up with and chat about a range of subjects with individual attendees.

“He had more than enough time for everybody,” said Adam. “For example, once he discovered who I was and where I worked he spent quite a bit of time with me talking about the town, the local auto industry, our business and so on. He was really interested in Townsville, its economy and the industry here, and that was terrific.”

A motorsport fan – and a participant in the sport to boot – Adam said that meeting, listening to and chatting to Lowndes had been an opportunity not to be missed.

“I’m actually a Japanese import fan and have owned and built a couple of Skylines for track work,” he said. “But I am also a fan of Holden and Lowndes. He has been around for as long as I’ve been watching the sport and, for me, the heart and soul of Supercars is Holden. So, to be able to attend this event was great. You’d be daft not to take these opportunities when they come along and I made sure that, irrespective of what was going on, we had time set aside for this. And it was well worth it.”

21 July 2017