Lowndes: Make Australian GP a V8 championship round

The V8 Supercars must race for championship points at the Australian Grand Prix to ensure their future at the event, TeamVortex veteran Craig Lowndes believes.

With the V8 Supercars' involvement beyond 2018 up in the air, Lowndes says it would be a big blow if his sport walked away from the Formula One event.

"Not coming back to the grand prix would be a shame," Lowndes told ESPN.

"We've been such a big part of the fixture here and the Formula One guys appreciate what we do, the cars that we race and the sounds that we make. It would be a shame if we didn't."

If the V8 Supercars were to drop the grand prix event off the calendar, it's unlikely for a gap to appear for long, with potential races in Tailem Bend, South Australia and Geelong both on the cards. But an opportunity to promote the category to a wider audience would certainly be lost.

Lowndes, who has been racing V8 Supercars around the streets of Albert Park since 1996 when the Formula One Grand Prix first made its way to Melbourne, knows the ongoing points debate all too well.

"It would be nice to see it as a championship round," the 41-year-old said.

"We come here, we bring everything we would to a race weekend, we race as hard as we would at a race weekend but we just don't get any points for it. We've got a great opportunity to change that in the future.

"There's always a buzz around this event when we get an opportunity to race with Formula One. It's a great opportunity for us to showcase V8 Supercars."

All up, 60 non-championship races have been contested at Albert Park in the past two decades with the reason for never offering points simply down to the category being viewed as a "demonstration event".

The V8 Supercars' track time is also reduced in order to fit in with the Formula One schedule, another factor that has led to it being a standalone event.

Lowndes' comments come just weeks after V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton warned his series would not race at the Australian Grand Prix beyond 2018 if it was denied a bid for championship status.

"I can't see us there in 2019 unless it's a championship round," Warburton told Fairfax Media.

"Obviously we'll fulfil our contract which runs through to 2018, but beyond that I can't see us racing there."

The V8 Supercars field will be on track for seven sessions at this year's Grand Prix but at the moment it's a glorified and expensive test weekend for teams.