Skaife undecided on future as Commission chairman
V8 Supercars kingpin Mark Skaife says he’s yet to decide whether he wants to continue as the category’s Commission chairman once his current tenure runs out next month.
The five-time championship winning driver led V8 Supercars through the development of its 2013 Car of the Future rule package while chairing the Commission, which was instigated two years ago as part of Archer Capital’s majority purchase of the business.
The exact term of Skaife’s tenure as chairman has been confused somewhat by the fact that an endurance driver contract with TeamVodafone ensured he did not actively take the role until after October 2011’s Bathurst 1000.
Skaife confirmed that the situation is currently under discussion, with a decision yet to be made on whether he wants to run again. Other potential candidates for the role are currently unclear, with an intricate knowledge of the sport and an independence from all teams the key requirements.
“I haven’t made my mind up yet,” Skaife told media in Austin when asked of a second stint as Commission chairman.
“It’s challenging and unbelievably tiring. There are some difficulties attached to it for sure.
“Clearly it’s a big part of where they want the sport to be and how that runs in terms of the strategy and policy that comes with that. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
V8 Supercars’ two-tier Commission and Board structure will enjoy an injection of new life next month regardless of Skaife’s decision when recently announced CEO James Warburton takes up his appointment.
Warburton has spent recent weeks making contact with the sport’s key stakeholders and will be travelling around Australia meeting Racing Entitlements Contract holders in the coming weeks.
Warburton is expected to chair the Board, at least in the short term while V8 Supercars remains without a dedicated chairman following the death of James Strong in March.
It is hoped that Warburton’s sales based skill set will be able to reduce friction between Archer and the teams following the downturn in revenues that has seen the annual Racing Entitlements Contract income shrink from nearly $800,000 per annum to naught over the last four years.
Speculation over Archer’s commitment to its investment has grown in recent months, although whether it could find a buyer for the business at a price it’d be comfortable with remains to be seen.
The V8 Supercars Board is currently made up of two Archer Capital representatives, Andrew Gray and Brad Lankin, and two team representatives, Brad Jones and Roland Dane.
Jones was re-elected for another two-year stint on both the Board and Commission last October, while Dane told Speedcafe.com at the weekend that there are no guarantees that he’ll put his hand up again when his tenure runs out this year.
Elsewhere, the position of the independent Commission member, Chris Lambden, comes up for renewal next month, while that of team representatives Todd Kelly and Tim Edwards and the observers’ seat of the Holden Racing Team’s Steve Hallam are all up in October.
Kelly and Edwards both told Speedcafe.com in Austin that they will be keen to continue for another two-year stint, with the Nissan Motorsport co-owner stressing his enjoyment of the role.
Regardless of whether or not a new marque joins the championship for 2014, Kelly and Edwards are expected to have at least one opponent when voting takes place on the Gold Coast in October, with Erebus Motorsport’s David Stuart a likely starter.
“It’s not a conversation we’ve had at a management level, but from casual conversation we think it would be beneficial to put someone forward for representation on the Commission,” Stuart told Speedcafe.com.
“We feel that we’d be able to contribute to the category through the Commission.”
The V8 Supercars Championship enjoyed its first visit to North America at the weekend and continues at Darwin’s Hidden Valley circuit on June 14-16.