V8 Supercars – Mark Skaife Steps Down From Driving To Chair V8 Supercar Comission

October 22, 2011

V8 Supercars

Mark Skaife has stepped down from driving to take his role as Chairman of the V8 Supercar Commission.

Having already retired from full-time racing, he had been weighing up his options following two successful years as Craig Lowndes’ endurance race partner in two wins at the L&H500 at Phillip Island, victory at last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and second in this year’s Mount Panorama classic.

The most decorated driver in V8 Supercar history announced on the eve of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 he had made his decision. The rules of the commission state the Chairman must be independent to any individual team. Skaife’s initial term is two years.

“This is one of the biggest decisions of my life,” said Skaife who has proved with Lowndes he could drive on for several years as an endurance race specialist if he chose to.

“I have got to say it’s a decision that’s a bit more of my head and not my heart. Driving a V8 Supercar and racing at Bathurst has been a big part of my life for the last 25 years.

“I can’t drive forever. I’ve really only got a two or three year window at the highest level and on the other side I have an opportunity which has probably got a longer tenure and a modern career path.

“The biggest thing is saying my heart is still in love with driving race cars but my head tells me that this is too good of an opportunity for me to pass up.”

V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane said he was elated Skaife had taken up the position as Chairman which was a huge positive for the sport but sad that it meant stepping down from driving.

“I know exactly how hard this decision has been for Mark and how much thought he has put into making the right call,” Cochrane said.

“Mark is a man who always makes the right decision. I believe this is fantastic for him and even better for the sport to have a man of his great experience in our business plan for at least next two years.

“It is also sad that he won’t be in the drivers’ seat for the time being whilst he is in this role. There are few people if any that have put their heart and soul into V8 Supercars like Mark.”

Skaife said V8 Supercars’ medium and long-term strategy would expand the business astronomically under new major shareholders Archer.

“I am very proud of where the sport is and I want to do all I can in the next five years to make it grow to the next level again. I can tell how committed the new owners are to the continued growth of the sport and I know how committed I am to it,” Skaife said.

“The commission is specifically tasked with the technical and racing components. I am very excited for one by the Car of the Future program which will take the sport to the next level.

“It’s also a matter of making the racing product the absolute best it can be to ensure better racing, more exciting racing and safer racing. The sport has become a world leader for its great racing on-track and management off-track.

“I am going to apply myself as much as I ever have in my life to make sure we are making decisions that are vital to the structure of the business. I can do that better if I’m not distracted by driving in two big events each year.”

Skaife will also continue as one of the lead commentators for Seven and next year will call his first Bathurst event in its 50th year.

“As yet I’ve never been involved in the telecast of Bathurst. It’s important to me also that I put my full effort into the broadcast,” he said.

The Armor All Gold Coast 600 begins on Friday when Australasia’s V8 Supercars heroes are joined by 28 international drivers from around the world.

The on-track action is backed up by the 600 Sounds concert festival. Friday night – presented by Sea FM – sees Bliss N Eso joined by Drapht, Illy, The Potbelleez, Bag Raiders and Tonite Only.

Saturday night – presented by Gold FM – the Gold Coast welcomes Scottish rockers, Simple Minds in their only Australian concert.

WHAT IS THE ARMOR ALL GOLD COAST 600?

The Armor All Gold Coast 600 is South East Queensland’s biggest annual event and represents the third endurance race on the V8 Supercars calendar. Fresh from the Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst, the 28 V8 Supercars drivers are partnered with an international star. Racers from Formula 1, IndyCar, Sports Car, Touring Car and NASCAR will be on hand in 2011 for the event –October 21-23. The V8 Supercars will be supported by Porsche Carrera Cup, the V8 Utes, Touring Car Masters and Formula Ford.

WHAT IS 600 SOUNDS, PRESENTED BY SEA FM?

600 Sounds is the nightly concert component of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 Rock ‘N’ Race format. In 2011, Aussie HipHop stars Bliss N Eso lead the charge on Friday night – presented by Sea FM, whilst legendary Scottish rockers, Simple Minds will make the only Australian appearance of their world tour on Saturday night – and are proudly presented by Gold FM. The Friday night concert also includes The Potbelleez, Drapht, Illy and Bag Raiders, whilst Simple Minds will be ably backed up by Eskimo Joe, the Hoodoo Gurus and Masters Apprentices.

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