Champion race car driver Mark Skaife has retired from V8 Supercars competition.
Skaife has elected to take on the position as the chairman of the newly-formed V8 Supercars commission, leading the technical and sporting side of the V8 business.
His role as the chief commissioner means that he is prohibited from competing in V8 Supercars Championship events, including the part-time endurance role he has played for the past three seasons.
He will now play a greater behind the scenes role with the sport, including the Car of the Future program that he has led for the past 18 months.
Skaife will soon get a chance to drive the prototype Car of the Future machine ahead of the new regulations, set to be introduced to the sport in 2013.
The six-time Bathurst 1000 champion was due to hold a press conference to announce the news, but after the death of Dan Wheldon in the IndyCar race at Las Vegas, the announcement was cancelled.
Skaife says that it was a decision that he has not taken lightly.
“This is one of the biggest decisions of my life,” Skaife told The Daily Telegraph.
“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.”
Skaife is arguably the most successful Australian Touring Car driver, having won six Bathurst 1000 crowns, five Australian Touring Car Championships, as well as three CAMS Gold Stars.
Skaife retired from full-time driving at the end of 2008. He drove in the endurance races in 2009 with Greg Murphy, finishing fourth. In 2010, Skaife switched to TeamVodafone with Craig Lowndes, winning the Phillip Island 500 and the Bathurst 1000. This year, the pair won Phillip Island again before taking second place at last week’s Great Race.