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Lowndes' mind on Bathurst ahead of Ipswich

Ipswich may be in Craig Lowndes' sights but Bathurst is on his mind.

The Supercars great has relished a return to the track for this weekend's Ipswich SuperSprint after the frenzyn following his announcement a fortnight ago he would retire from full-time driving at season's end.

Lowndes said he had no regrets about his shock call and would be "pushing hard" for an unprecedented 13th win at his final Ipswich event.

He made a promising start on Friday, finishing third fastest in opening practice before tyre balance issues relegated him to ninth in the next session ahead of Saturday's opening race.

Holden's Jamie Whincup topped opening practice before his teammate Shane van Gisbergen produced the fastest lap of the day to be quickest in Friday's second 45-minute session at Queensland Raceway.

While Lowndes will savour success at his Ipswich test track, the 44-year-old reckoned his Supercars swan song wouldn't be complete without conquering Mount Panorama one more time.

Lowndes is equal third on the all-time Bathurst winners' list with six behind Jim Richards (seven) and his idol Peter Brock (nine).

"I would love to be in the top three, four in the championship at the end of the year, that's our aim - a win at Bathurst along the way and then see what happens," the fifth-placed Lowndes told Fox Sports.

"I wake up every morning and don't regret it (retirement) so it obviously has been the right decision for me.

"It's been a whirlwind since (retirement announcement) ... I am looking forward to getting my head back in a race car this weekend."

Lowndes and Garth Tander are the only drivers to have contested all 21 previous Ipswich rounds.

Lowndes hoped to make his last Ipswich event count.

"I said to the other drivers just because I am retiring, it doesn't mean I am going to be in Mr Cruisy mode - I am going to be pushing hard now," Lowndes said.

There was speculation Lowndes was pushed into retirement by his Red Bull Racing team but the veteran driver said the only drama was getting the announcement's timing right.

Lowndes and RBR boss Roland Dane first discussed his retirement "a few years ago".

"You are trying to find the right time. But I think we are on a high, we are having great performances and I think it is a good time to finish on a high," Lowndes said.

Dane this week angrily dismissed talk that RBR shoved Lowndes into retirement.

RBR are yet to announce whether they will replace Lowndes or even run a third car next year.

Supercars stars Whincup and van Gisbergen are RBR's two main entries.

Nissan's Simona de Silvestro - a former IndyCar driver - has been strongly linked to RBR.

Qualifying and a 39-lap race will be held on Saturday before Ipswich SuperSprint's 65-lap finale on Sunday.