TIMELINE: Mark Skaife’s career in review

Speedcafe.com

Tuesday 18th October, 2011 - 1:58pm

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Garth Tander, Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes celebrate on the podium in 1999

Garth Tander, Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes celebrate on the podium in 1999

Mark Skaife has officially confirmed his retirement from V8 Supercars racing today.

The six-time Bathurst 1000 winner and five-time Australian Touring Car Champion will go down as one of the best drivers to ever grace Australia’s race circuits.

Skaife retired from full-time racing at the end of 2008, but has competed as an endurance specialist over the past three years, winning two Phillip Island 500s and a Bathurst 1000 – both with Craig Lowndes and TeamVodafone.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s story yesterday on Skaife’s retirement.

CLICK HERE to see more reaction on Skaife’s departure.

The touring car legend will remain heavily involved in the sport, heading up the newly-formed V8 Supercars Commission, as well as remaining one of the lead commentators for the Seven Network.

To commemorate Skaife’s contribution to the sport, Speedcafe.com takes a look back at the highs and lows of a long and highly successful career behind the wheel.

Mark Skaife won the 2002 Clipsal 500

Mark Skaife won the 2002 Clipsal 500

1984 – Makes racing debut driving a Holden Torana XU-1 Sports Sedan at Amaroo Park.

1985 – Competes in Ford Laser one-make series, finishing second overall.

1986 – Finishes second again in Laser Series, but is denied a maiden Bathurst 1000 start when car owner Peter Williamson crashes the Toyota Supra they were set to share in practice.

1987 – Wins Australian 2.0 Litre Touring Car Championship in Gibson Motor Sport prepared Nissan Gazelle, before finishing 19th on Bathurst 1000 debut in same car (co-driven by Grant Jarret).

1988 – Appears at selected touring car events in Gibson’s factory Nissan squad. Fails to finish both the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 alongside George Fury.

1989 – Makes four ATCC starts as third driver in Gibson Nissan team, starring in the wet at Winton on the way to fifth place. Pairs with Jim Richards for endurance races, winning Sandown 500 before taking first Bathurst 1000 podium with third place.

Toni and Mark Skaife celebrate the record-breaking achievement of beating Brock's win record in 2007

Toni and Mark Skaife celebrate the record-breaking achievement of beating Brock's win record in 2007 at Eastern Creek

1990 – Graduates to full-time drive with team following retirement of Fury. Finishes 14th in ATCC having switched from HR31 to R32 GT-R model Skyline midseason. Also competes in Australian Drivers’ Championship for Gibson Motor Sport, finishing third overall. Finishes 18th at Bathurst alongside Richards having suffered mechanical problems. Sustains back injury after rolling GT-R in Australian Grand Prix support race.

1991 – Wins three ATCC rounds and scores more points than any other driver during the season, but loses title to Jim Richards under drop-worst-round rules. Takes dominant Bathurst 1000 win (with Richards) in record total time. Also records a Bathurst DNF after driving the team’s second car late in the race under cross-entering rules. Continues in ADC, winning his first Gold Star.

1992 – Wins four ATCC rounds on his way to the championship. Takes second Bathurst 1000 win as red flags called following co-driver Richards being one of several to crash in wet conditions. Wins ADC for second consecutive year. Competes with British 3001 International team in final four International Formula 3000 races of season, scoring a best result of 16th.

1993 – Stays with Gibson team during switch from Nissan GT-R R32 to Holden Commodore VP under new Group A rules. Finishes sixth in ATCC after failing to win a round. Takes second at Bathurst alongside Richards following a race-long duel with eventual winners Larry Perkins and Gregg Hansford. Takes third consecutive ADC with Gibson team. Competes in FIA Touring Car World Cup at Monza with Nissan Castrol Racing, finishing 35th.

Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes

Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes

1994 – Wins four rounds (including first three in succession) on his way to a second ATCC title. Finishes second (with Richards) in first Sandown 500 start in five years. Crashes out early in wet conditions at Bathurst.

1995 – Misses opening ATCC round after enormous pre-season testing crash at Eastern Creek. Eventually finishes sixth in points standings with one round win. Leads Bathurst 1000 comfortably before mechanical trouble strikes nearing half distance.

1996 – Gibson team scales down to one car for ATCC following end of tobacco advertising. Finishes ninth in points with best round result of third. Records 13th in Sandown 500 (with Gary Waldon and Mark Noske) and seventh at Bathurst (with John Cleland).

1997 – Competes in just five of 10 ATCC rounds as funding issues continue at Gibson team. Ends season 13th after best round result of third. Drives Lister Storm alongside Julian Bailey and Tommy Erdos in Le Mans 24 Hours, but fails to finish following mechanical issues. Makes first appearance with Mobil Holden Racing Team driving alongside Peter Brock in Sandown 500, scoring pole and finishing 12th. Again on pole at Bathurst but retires from the race while leading.

1998 – First full season with MHRT, finishing third in ATCC without winning a round. Teams with Craig Lowndes in new VT model Commodore at Sandown to finish second. Pair show dominant form at Bathurst but finish just sixth after tyre issues.

1999 – Wins six rounds of Shell Championship Series (the most of any driver) but again finishes third in points. Teams with Paul Morris for endurance races, recording 22nd in new Queensland 500 event (after being delayed by accident damage) and third at Bathurst.

2000 – Wins four rounds, including Clipsal 500 Adelaide and Queensland 500, on way to Shell Championship Series title. Seals championship with sixth place alongside Craig Lowndes in Bathurst finale.

2001 – Takes four round wins, including the Bathurst 1000 alongside Tony Longhurst, to claim Shell Championship Series title. Secures crown at penultimate event in Pukekohe – the first championship round to be held outside of Australia.

2002 – Enjoys dominant V8 Supercars Championship Series victory, having won seven of the 13 rounds, including the first five in succession. Season highlights also include a fourth triumph in the Bathurst 1000, partnered by former team-mate Jim Richards, and a second Clipsal 500 trophy.

2003 – Wins Clipsal 500 and Sandown 500 (alongside Todd Kelly) on his way to third in the championship. Announced as new owner of Holden Racing Team mid-season following earlier collapse of founding owner Tom Walkinshaw Racing. Finishes eighth at Bathurst alongside Todd Kelly after late-race mechanical black flag for loose bodywork while running second.

2004 – Fails to win a championship round for the first time in six years. Finishes season 12th in points with a best round result of second at Oran Park. Out of contention early at Bathurst with mechanical trouble (teamed with Todd Kelly). Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia for services to motor racing and charity.

2005 – Wins fifth Bathurst 1000 crown, this time teamed with Todd Kelly. Records fifth place in V8 Supercars Championship Series.

2006 – Finishes 16th in V8 Supercars Championship Series with one round win. Crashes out of Bathurst 1000 on opening lap after enduring mechanical issues while starting from pole position (teamed with Garth Tander).

2007 – Records eighth in V8 Supercars Championship Series with one round win – finishing behind team-mate Kelly in the standings for the fourth consecutive year. Misses Sandown 500 due to appendix surgery before crashing out of Bathurst 1000 in closing stages. Transfers partial ownership of HRT back to Tom Walkinshaw.

2008 – Wins L&H 500 at Phillip Island alongside Garth Tander. Finishes 12th in Bathurst 1000 after mid-race crash. Confirms 2008 will be final season as full-time driver following Gold Coast event. Ends season 14th in points with a 27th place round result in Oran Park finale. Announces sale of remainder of HRT to Walkinshaw.

2009 – Assumes role as V8 Supercars commentator for Network 7 television coverage. Begins initial work on V8 Supercars Car of the Future project. Teams with Greg Murphy at Tasman Motorsport for endurance races, finishing 11th in Phillip Island 500 and fourth in Bathurst 1000.

2010 – Formally introduces COTF to media following Australian Grand Prix. Joins TeamVodafone to win Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst 1000 alongside Craig Lowndes.

2011 – Skaife Racing appointed by CAMS to run Australian Motor Sport Foundation. Skaife makes one-off appearance in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at Albert Park, finishing fourth overall. Races as endurance-only driver in V8 Supercars Championship for third consecutive year. Teams with Lowndes to score second consecutive Phillip Island 500 victory before placing second in Bathurst 1000. Confirms plan to take role as Chairman of newly formed V8 Supercars Commission, requiring the cessation of racing V8 Supercars.

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