Paul Dumbrell says that a decision to step away from co-driving at Red Bull next year would mark a permanent end to his V8 Supercars driving career.
Dumbrell has joined long-time friend Jamie Whincup in the endurance races since halting a nine-year stint as a full-timer in order to concentrate on business commitments at the end of 2011.
The Automotive Brands CEO has largely proven the fastest co-driver since making the switch, taking the 2012 Bathurst 1000 and 2013 Sandown 500 victories.
Dumbrell’s speed at the front of the field at Sandown this year, however, masked a lack of recent race experience which showed its head at Bathurst.
Without the time to keep himself ‘match fit’ in another category, Dumbrell told Speedcafe.com that Sunday could “absolutely” have been his last Bathurst.
A decision on the matter will be made between Dumbrell and the Roland Dane-owned Red Bull team after this month’s Armor All Gold Coast 600.
“It’s such a long day and everything has to go right, you can’t be missing that tiny little one percent,” said Dumbrell of Bathurst.
“Not racing full-time I struggled in the race with race craft and all of those sorts of things. I made a few rookie errors which really cost us.
“I’ve got to sit down with the team and with Roland after the Gold Coast and analyse whether it’s right for me and right for the team to go around again.”
Dane could already have lined up the perfect replacement for Dumbrell, with Scott Pye set to be eligible for co-driver duties if a mooted step down to the Carrera Cup takes place for 2014.
On a long-term contract to Triple Eight, Pye has endured a tough rookie season placed at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, but put in a sterling performance to finish a career best sixth on Sunday at Bathurst.
Meanwhile, Dumbrell stressed that he is not simply looking for a sabbatical from the sport, and that a decision to quit would be irreversible.
“It’s like full-time driving; once you make the call to stop, you’ve got to be true to yourself and not come back,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of people in all types of sport trying and come back and it generally ends in tears. Generally you don’t go as well as you’d like to have done or what you did previously.
“I’m content with what I’ve done. Even second at Bathurst, you can’t be too disappointed about it.
“I’ve got a lot to do with business, family and so on, and there are other things I’d like to do as well, like the Iron Man World Championships (which clash with Bathurst),” he added.
“I’m going to be here for a short time, not a long time in the sport.”