Originally from Corbridge, Lowdon grew up in Stocksfield. He gained both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield University, as well as an MBA from Newcastle University. Initially he worked in the power industry in the north of England and Singapore, before joining ABB Group working as part of the international sales force for their power station division. He identified that a potential client also ran an IndyCar team in the United States, and assisted in organising a sponsorship deal with the team.
In 1996 Lowdon returned to the UK and created Industry On-line, providing online trading platforms for industry. He also co-founded Eiger Racing, a Formula Renault racing team. Having secured investment from 3i, he developed Industry On-line into Just2Clicks, which was floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 2000. At the end of 2000 Lowdon joined Manor Motorsport in a non-executive commercial role.
He helped Manor Motorsport to develop into a Formula One team. Lowdon had strong links with Richard Branson's Virgin Group, Virgin Trains being one of Nomad's customers. He used these links to create the Virgin Racing team.