Mark Larkham

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Mark Larkham
Nationality Australia Australian
Born (1963-12-29) 29 December 1963 (age 50)
Victoria (Australia) Benalla
ATCC / V8 Supercar
Years active 1995-2004
Teams Larkham Motor Sport
Starts 104
Wins 2
Poles 1
Best finish 11th in 1998 Australian Touring Car Championship
Previous series
1988-89
1990
1990-93
Formula Ford Series
Australian Production Cars
Australian Drivers' Champ.
Championship titles
1989
1993
Formula Ford Series
Indonesian Grand Prix

Mark Larkham (born 29 December 1963 in Benalla, Victoria) is a retired Australian racing driver, former racing team owner and television commentator.

Open wheelers[edit]

Mark Larkham's first impressions on the national racing spotlight was finishing fifth in the 1988 Motorcraft Formula Ford Driver to Europe Series. The following year with the support of the front running Coffey Ford team, Larkham won the 1989 series [1] creating an early rivalry with Russell Ingall. Larkham was hired by Peter Brock's Advantage Racing for the 1989 Australian Touring Car endurance races and finished 7th in the 1989 Sandown 500. He missed out on a seat at Bathurst when British driver/engineer Andy Rouse joined the team as Brock's co-driver (Rouse supplied Brock's team with their Ford Sierra RS500's as well as the technical data). His Bathurst debut would not occur for another 6 years.

Forming his own Larkham Motor Sport team, Larkham made a brief attempt at running a Ford EA Falcon in the 1991 Australian Production Car Championship and returned to open-wheelers at the wheel of a Ralt RT20 in Formula Brabham. In his first season Larkham finished third in the 1991 Australian Drivers' Championship and was the only driver to take a win away from Mark Skaife. The following year Larkham imported a Reynard 90D, the first driver to exploit the relaxation of Formula Brabham rules which had previously prevented cars constructed of carbon-fibre. It was not enough to defeat Skaife however and Larkham ended runner up.

In 1993 Larkham again raced head-to-head with Skaife, now also sporting a carbon-fibre car, and again Larkham lost the title to Skaife. Larkham did however claim Formula Brabham's first international event, the 1993 Indonesian Grand Prix.[2]

Touring cars[edit]

After spending 1994 out of the sport, Larkham's team stepped into V8 Touring Cars in 1995 with an innovative car design, bringing their open wheel experience and principles to touring car racing. They team had a troubled season, failing to score a single point. Some of their innovations spread across the sport however. The team gradually improved, a highlight was third place at the 1997 Bathurst Classic working itself into a position where it could attract international quality co-drivers.[3] By 1998 much of vehicle preparation was being handled by Stone Brothers Racing, promoting Larkham into a race winning combination, the win finally coming at the 1998 Surfers Paradise Indycar event. 1999 continued improved performances, Larkham taking pole position at the Bathurst 1000. During this time Larkham also first served on the board of TEGA.

In 2003 the team expanded to a second car with Jason Bargwanna taking on lead driving role. Larkham scaled back his driving involvement with Mark Winterbottom taking Larkham's place as full-time driver. Larkham's final racing drive was at the 2004 Bathurst 1000. After the 2005 season Larkham Motor Sport was sold into the WPS Racing,[4] with Larkham taking over team management role with WPS, however this did not last the season and Larkham retired from the sport.

Television[edit]

Larkham returned to the sport as part of Channel 7's television broadcast coverage of V8 Supercar. Larkham has been used as their on air technical guru, explaining to the wider audience V8 Supercar's intricacies. Larkham also acts as one of the pit reporters during the races. Larkham also acts as frequent guest and occasional co-host with Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife of V8 Xtra program.[5]

Larkham also serves on the board of the Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety.[6]

Career results[edit]

Season Series Position Car Team
1988 Motorcraft Formula Ford Driver to Europe Series 5th Van Diemen-Ford
1989 Motorcraft Formula Ford Driver to Europe Series 1st Van Diemen RF89 Ford
1990 Australian Drivers' Championship 11th Ralt RT21 Holden Thalgo Racing Team
1991 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Ralt RT20 Holden Larkham Motor Sport
1991 Australian Production Car Championship 11th [7] Ford EA Falcon
1992 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd Reynard 90D Holden Larkham Motor Sport
1993 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd Reynard 91D Holden Larkham Motor Sport
1997 Australian Touring Car Championship 15th Ford EL Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
1998 Australian Touring Car Championship 11th Ford EL Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
1999 Shell Championship Series 21st Ford AU Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
2000 Shell Championship Series 14th Ford AU Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
2001 Shell Championship Series 19th Ford AU Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
2002 V8 Supercar Championship Series 22nd Ford AU Falcon Larkham Motor Sport
2003 V8 Supercar Championship Series 25th Ford AU Falcon
Ford BA Falcon
Larkham Motor Sport
2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series 53rd Ford BA Falcon Larkham Motor Sport

References[edit]

  1. ^ Steve Normoyle, Larkham bound for the Continent, Australian Motor Racing Year 1989/90, pages 238 to 245
  2. ^ Sentul Success, Australian Motor Racing Year, 1993/94, pages 166 to 170
  3. ^ "Alain Menu profile". news.com.au. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. ^ "Larkham Sells V8 Supercar Licenses". nmd.com.au. 2006-01-31. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Mark Larkham - Pit Reporter". The Official website of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety: Board". Confederation of Australian Motor Sport. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  7. ^ Procar Series Points Tables, www.procar.com.au, 21 August 2006, as archived at web.archive.org Retrieved on 2 January 2014