Mark Skaife to get back aboard a Nissan
Mark Skaife will be reunited with the Gibson Motorsport team and one of his former Nissan Skylines at this year’s Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport in march.
The five times Australian Touring Car Champion will drive the HR 31 GTS-R in which he contested much of the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.
Skaife drove the HR 31 into fourth place at the final round of the 1990 ATCC at Oran Park, which was won by his teammate Jim Richards in the team’s then-new, four wheel drive Skyline GT-R. Their combined performances secured the first of Nissan’s landmark three consecutive Australian Touring Car Championship titles.
Skaife said he was excited to be reunited with his old Skyline racing car and working again with Fred Gibson.
“This is a unique opportunity – one I just couldn’t pass up,” said Skaife.
“The combination of driving for Fred, in Jim’s Skyline, at one of the world’s most decorated Historic meetings, held at Australia’s best permanent race circuit, is something that will bring back many great memories for me.
“I hope that seeing Gibson Motorsport again running one of the great cars of Australian motorsport history will inspire the fans there to experience all the old touring cars”.
The two wheel drive, 440HP, turbocharged six cylinder 2.0-litre HR 31 was acquired recently by Richards, but a clash of dates with the Touring Car Masters in Sydney means he is unable to drive it at the Phillip Island Classic.
Although disappointed at not being with the team at Phillip Island, Richards said he was delighted that he and Skaife were again working with Fred Gibson.
“I have told Mark to look after the car and if he breaks it, he owns it!” said Richards.
Gibson Motorsport has recently been reborn and is currently responsible for the maintenance and development of several historic racing cars as well as many classic road cars.
The HR31 that Skaife will drive is one of three Nissans that Gibson Motorsport will field at this year’s Phillip Island Classic.
Skaife’s ‘teammates’ are the similar former Nissan team HR31 owned and driven by Robert Marshall and the ex George Fury DR30 RS-2000, owned by Carolyn Kruger and to be driven at Phillip Island by fellow Victorian Luke Ellery. The DR30 was raced in 1986-87 and still carries all the battle scars from its last ATCC outing.