Mark Skaife

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Mark Skaife
Mark Skaife.jpg
Skaife at the Australian GP in 2006
Nationality Australian
V8 Supercar Record
Series Championships 5
Races 220
Round Wins 42
Podium finishes 87
Race Wins 90
Pole positions 41
2011 Championship position 29th (532 pts)

Mark Stephen Skaife OAM (born 3 April 1967 in Gosford, New South Wales) is an Australian motor racing driver. Skaife is a five time winner of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, including its predecessor, the Australian Touring Car Championship. He is also a six-time winner of Australia's most prestigious domestic motor race, the Bathurst 1000. On 29 October 2008, he announced his retirement from full-time touring car racing but continues to compete on a part-time basis.[1] Skaife's most visible role today is as a colour-commentator for Channel 7's broadcast of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

Biography[edit]

Skaife was born in Gosford, New South Wales, the son of touring car racer, Russell Skaife. Skaife is married to wife Toni with three children: Mitch, Mia and Tilly.[2] He attended Wyong High School.

In 2004, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, for services to motor racing and charity.[3] In 2006, Skaife set a Guinness World Record with the fastest speed of 277.16 km/h for a production ute, driving a HSV Maloo at the Woomera Prohibited Area.[4]

Racing career[edit]

Skaife began racing karts in the 1980s. His first car race was at Amaroo Park in 1984, at the wheel of a Holden Torana XU-1 sports sedan, which was partly built by his father, Russell. The following year, Skaife joined the Ford Laser Series, finishing second in the series. Skaife again finished runner up in 1986. Skaife was due to race at Bathurst that year, however his co-driver and team owner, Peter Williamson, crashed the team's Toyota Supra heavily during practice and the entry was withdrawn.

Gibson Motor Sport[edit]

Skaife was recruited by Fred Gibson for 1987. However, his early days at Gibson Motor Sport were spent as a mechanic for the team. During this time, he learnt his way through all aspects of motorsport, while also winning the 1987 Australian 2.0 Litre Touring Car Championship with a Gibson Motorsport prepared Nissan Gazelle, breaking Toyota's stranglehold on the 2.0 litre category. Skaife made his Bathurst debut in 1987, finishing 19th in the Gazelle with the Adelaide Hills based Nissan dealer Grant Jarrett. Skaife made his Australian Touring Car Championship debut in 1988, driving the team's third Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R at Oran Park that year. He went on to partner George Fury at both Sandown and Bathurst and was involved in a practice crash at Forrest's Elbow which damaged the front and rear of the Skyline. Skaife didn't get to drive in the race as the Skyline threw its fan belt on lap 17 which instantly overheated the turbocharged engine, causing its retirement.

In 1989, Glenn Seton left to form his own team, Glenn Seton Racing. Skaife also drove a third Nissan at certain rounds of the ATCC. When Fury was released by the team at the end of 1989, Skaife was elevated into a full-time driving role alongside Jim Richards. Skaife won his first Bathurst in 1991 with Richards, and the following year became the only driver to win the Australian Touring Car Championship, the Bathurst 1000 and the CAMS Gold Star for the Australian Drivers' Championship in the same year. Skaife won the Formula Brabham Australian Drivers' Championship each year from 1991–1993. In 1992 Skaife had briefly raced in the International Formula 3000 championship, he took part in the last two races driving for the 3001 International team. His best result was a 16th place at Nogaro in France. In 1993 he returned to Nogaro to race in the French Super Tourer round as a warm up event for the World Touring Car Cup in a Nissan Primera. He and Tony Longhurst represented Australia in that event.

1994 Champion, Mark Skaife

Skaife won his second ATCC title in 1994. In the following years, Gibson Motor Sport struggled with sponsorship after the ban of tobacco advertising saw the team lose long-time sponsor Winfield. Skaife joined the Holden Racing Team for the 1997 Bathurst 1000, partnering Peter Brock. The pair failed to finish the race.

Skaife also drove internationally in 1997. Midway through the year when his then main employer Gibson Motor Sport was having a limited run due to a lack of funds, Skaife joined the Newcastle United Lister Storm team at the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans. His car (#46), shared with former Formula One driver Julian Bailey and Brazilian Thomas Erdos, qualified in 29th place (25th in the GT1 class) but retired after 77 laps with terminal gearbox trouble.

Holden Racing Team[edit]

Skaife joined the Holden Racing Team full-time for 1998, alongside Craig Lowndes. Skaife won his third title in 2000, and also won the Queensland 500 with Lowndes. Also in 2000, Skaife pulled off a last-to-first performance in the second race of the Clipsal 500. Skaife successfully defended his crown in 2001, taking a third Bathurst win with Tony Longhurst. In 2002, Skaife had a fantastic season, and he himself has said that the 2002 season was the best he has ever driven.[5] Skaife won seven of the thirteen rounds, and took his fourth Bathurst title driving with Jim Richards.

2003 saw Skaife finish third in the series, winning the Sandown 500 with Todd Kelly along the way. 2004 did not hold much for Skaife, and he finished 12th in the standings, with his best result 2nd overall at Oran Park. In 2005, he collected his fifth Bathurst win, on the way to 5th in the title. At Pukekohe in 2006, Skaife equalled Peter Brock's long-standing record of 37 ATCC round wins, and moved ahead when he won at Eastern Creek in 2007. He also made his 200th championship start at Phillip Island that year, and marked the celebration by running car number 200. Skaife collected his final round win at the 2008 L&H 500, when he paired with Garth Tander.

Mark Skaife at Queensland Raceway 2008

On 29 October 2008, Skaife announced that he would be retiring from full-time driving in the V8 Supercar Championship Series. Skaife was given a farewell and tribute at the final round of the series, which was also the last V8 Supercar round at Oran Park Raceway. Skaife sold his interest in Holden Racing Team to Tom Walkinshaw, who owned the team before his UK business collapsed in 2002.

Post retirement[edit]

Skaife paired up with Greg Murphy at Sprint Gas Racing for the 2009 enduros. They finished fourth at the 2009 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

With a new rule prohibiting full-time drivers from being team-mates for the endurance races (Phillip Island and Bathurst) in the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series, Skaife paired up with Craig Lowndes at Triple Eight Race Engineering for both events. At Phillip Island Skaife finished first together with Craig Lowndes over FPR's Mark Winterbottom and Luke Youlden. The pair backed this up with a win at Bathurst giving Skaife his sixth win in the event and 41st career round win. For 2011 Mark has once again joined Craig Lowndes for Phillip Island, where they won, and for the Bathurst 1000 where they placed second in the closest ever non formed finish of 0.2917 seconds.

Skaife is currently co-presenter on Seven Sport's coverage of V8 Supercar races and co-host of the sports program V8 Xtra. In addition, Skaife also presents segments on lifestyle program Guide to the Good Life.

Skaife designed the Homebush Street Circuit for touring cars in Sydney in 2009 as well as the unsuccessful Canberra Street Circuit ten years prior.

Statistics[edit]

In 2008, there had been debate over whether or not Skaife has recorded 39 or 40 V8 Supercar round wins. At the start of 2008, Skaife was retrospectively awarded the win of the 2000 Clipsal 500 in place of Garth Tander, giving him his 39th round win at the time. Skaife recorded his '40th' round win at the L&H 500 with Tander later in the year. However, the 2000 Clipsal 500 win has been awarded back to Tander since then, leaving Skaife's tally at 39. Skaife has since won the 2010 L&H 500 taking his total to 40 wins, then 41 wins after victory in the 2010 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. This total was again increased in 2011 to 42 round wins after taking out the 2011 L&H 500 event with Craig Lowndes.

This situation arose because of the unique format of the Adelaide 500. In recent years, the winner of the second leg has been seen as the round winner, regardless of points. In 2000, Skaife only finished with fourth highest points for the weekend, but won the second race. This situation also arose in 2007, where Rick Kelly was awarded the round win instead of his brother Todd, despite Todd recording the most points for the round.

Career results[edit]

Season Series Position Car Team
1985 New South Wales Laser Series 2nd Ford Laser Tyretown Racing
1986 New South Wales Laser Series 2nd Ford Laser Tyretown Racing
1986 Victorian Laser Series 1st Ford Laser Tyretown Racing
1987 Australian Touring Car Championship 17th Nissan Gazelle Peter Jackson Nissan Racing
1987 Australian 2.0 Litre Touring Car Championship 1st Nissan Gazelle Peter Jackson Nissan Racing
1989 Australian Touring Car Championship 9th Skyline HR31 GTS-R Nissan Motorsport Australia
1990 Australian Touring Car Championship 14th Skyline HR31 GTS-R
Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R
Nissan Motorsport Australia
1990 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Spa FB001 Holden Gibson Motor Sport
1991 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R Nissan Motorsport Australia
1991 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Spa FB003 Holden Gibson Motor Sport
1992 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R Winfield Team Nissan
1992 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Spa FB003 Holden Gibson Motor Sport
1992 FIA Formula 3000 International Championship 29th Reynard 92D Mugen Honda 3001 International
1993 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden VP Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1993 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Lola T91/50 Holden Gibson Motor Sport
1993 Touring Car World Cup 35th Nissan Primera eGT Nissan Castrol Racing
1994 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Holden VP Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1995 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden VR Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1995 Australian Drivers' Championship 7th Lola T93/50 Holden Gibson Motor Sport
1996 Australian Touring Car Championship 9th Holden VR Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1997 Australian Touring Car Championship 13th Holden VS Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1998 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden VS Commodore Holden Racing Team
1999 Shell Championship Series 3rd Holden VT Commodore Holden Racing Team
2000 Shell Championship Series 1st Holden VT Commodore Holden Racing Team
2001 Shell Championship Series 1st Holden VX Commodore Holden Racing Team
2002 V8Supercar Championship Series 1st Holden VX Commodore Holden Racing Team
2003 V8Supercar Championship Series 3rd Holden VY Commodore Holden Racing Team
2004 V8Supercar Championship Series 12th Holden VY Commodore Holden Racing Team
2005 V8Supercar Championship Series 5th Holden VZ Commodore Holden Racing Team
2006 V8Supercar Championship Series 16th Holden VZ Commodore Holden Racing Team
2007 V8Supercar Championship Series 8th[6] Holden VE Commodore Holden Racing Team
2008 V8Supercar Championship Series 14th Holden VE Commodore Holden Racing Team
2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series 31st Holden VE Commodore Tasman Motorsport
2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series 33rd Holden VE Commodore Triple Eight Race Engineering
2011 International V8 Supercars Championship 29th Holden VE Commodore Triple Eight Race Engineering
2012 Australian Carrera Cup Championship 21st Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Porsche Cars Australia

Complete World Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1987 Peter Jackson Nissan Racing Nissan Gazelle MNZ JAR DIJ NUR SPA
BNO SIL BAT
19
CLD
WEL
FJI NC 0

Complete International Formula 3000 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
1992 3001 International SIL
PAU
CAT
PER
HOC
NÜR
SPA
ALB
NOG
16
MAG
RET
NC 0

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1997 40
DNF
GT1 46 United Kingdom Newcastle United Lister United Kingdom Julian Bailey
Brazil Thomas Erdos
Lister Storm GTL D 77
Jaguar 7.0L V12

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guy Hand (29 October 2008). "Skaife announces retirement from V8s". FoxSportsNews. Retrieved 29 October 2008. 
  2. ^ "Official site of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series: Teams & Drivers: Driver – Mark Skaife". 
  3. ^ "Skaife honour record". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Desert Storm". Guinness World Records. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  5. ^ Holden Racing Team DVD
  6. ^ [1]
  • "Farewell Skaifey", 2008 NRMA Motoring & Services Gran Finale official race programme

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Simon Kane
Winner of the Australian Drivers' Championship
1991, 1992 and 1993
Succeeded by
Paul Stokell
Preceded by
Win Percy
Allan Grice
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1991 and 1992
(with Jim Richards)
Succeeded by
Larry Perkins
Gregg Hansford
Preceded by
Jim Richards
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1992
Succeeded by
Glenn Seton
Preceded by
Glenn Seton
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1994
Succeeded by
John Bowe
Preceded by
Craig Lowndes
Winner of the V8Supercar Championship Series
2000, 2001 and 2002
Succeeded by
Marcos Ambrose
Preceded by
Garth Tander
Jason Bargwanna
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
2001 and 2002
(with Tony Longhurst and Jim Richards)
Succeeded by
Greg Murphy
Rick Kelly
Preceded by
Greg Murphy
Rick Kelly
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
2005
(with Todd Kelly)
Succeeded by
Craig Lowndes
Jamie Whincup
Preceded by
Garth Tander
Will Davison
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
2010
(with Craig Lowndes)
Succeeded by
Garth Tander
Nick Percat
Records
Preceded by
Peter Brock
37 wins
(19732004)
Most ATCC round wins
42
(19872011),
38th win at the 2007 Eastern Creek round of the V8 Supercar Championship
Succeeded by
Craig Lowndes
43 wins
(19962013)