Craig Lowndes and Lee Holdsworth are well accustomed to banging doors at Eastern Creek, Mount Panorama and the like, but over the Easter weekend the V8 Supercar pair faced off in the United Arab Emirates at the sinuous Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, rated as one of the greatest driving roads in the world.
In a novel promotional stunt for November’s Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, for which the V8 Supercars will serve as a support event, the Aussie duo powered up the 11.7km mountain road in diverging machinery – Lowndes was at the wheel of his familiar Team Vodafone Holden Commodore, but Holdsworth swapped his Stone Brothers Ford Falcon for an Aston Martin V8 Vantage borrowed from the Yas Marina Circuit’s arrive-and-drive fleet.
Italy’s Stelvio Pass and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road are rightly rated as fabulous stretches of tarmac, but the Jebel Hafeet road, which winds its way through 21 corners etched in the barren, rocky terrain to the mountain’s 1249m summit is also a driver’s delight.
Billiard-table smooth and with two uphill lanes snaking their way to the peak, it’s tailor-made for flat-out assaults in a suitably hardcore car… although the local constabulary will be more than happy to impound your wheels if they catch you in the act.
Lowndes and Holdsworth obviously had no such issues as the road was closed off for the publicity stunt, footage of which is set to feature in an upcoming viral video that reportedly also shows the V8 hotshoes surfing and white-water rafting.
“It was an amazing thing to do,” Holdsworth was quoted as saying. “Abu Dhabi is such an incredible place, we have had an absolute ball over here. There’s nothing you can’t do, I’d recommend having a holiday here to anyone and I can see why plenty of Aussies do.”
Lowndes added: “Being alongside Formula One, as we are at the Melbourne Grand Prix, is heaven for us and for the fans. You can have the best of the best in open wheel racing and the world’s best touring cars.”