SKAIFEY’S FORGOTTEN SUPERCAR TESTS

Mark Skaife tests the Shane Price Jack Daniel's Commodore at Winton in 2007. It's one of a range of times the six-time Bathurst winner has driven or tested V8 Supercars that he's not raced. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.
The cover of the new Mark Skaife book, available to pre order here from the V8 Sleuth Online Bookshop.

WHEN you think about Mark Skaife’s V8 Supercar career you generally think about his championship-winning and Bathurst-winning Holden Racing Team Commodores.

But along the way the six-time Bathurst 1000 winner has driven a range of other V8 Supercars, many of them you have completely forgotten about.

By the way, there’s a new Mark Skaife illustrated autobiographical book being released in November and you can pre-order your copy via the V8 Sleuth Online Bookshop here.

It’s packed with lots of rare and unseen photos and stories from Skaife’s career, including thoughts and memories of his friends and contemporaries.

Here’s six Supercars you will have forgotten that Skaifey has driven over the years, many of them for television purposes since he retired from full-time racing in the category.

Skaife on board the Lansvale Commodore at Eastern Creek in 1994.

1994 Lansvale Commodore VP

In 1994 Channel 7 put together a cool story for their Bathurst telecast where they compared professional and privateer teams, namely Gibson Motorsport and the Lansvale Smash Repairs team.

As part of the story they had the drivers swap cars, Lansvale’s Steve Reed given a run in one of the Winfield Commodores at Eastern Creek in Sydney and Skaife strapped in behind the wheel of the yellow privateer Holden.

Mark Skaife samples the Jack Daniel’s Commodore normally raced by Shane Price during a Winton test in 2007. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

2007 Jack Daniel’s Perkins Commodore VE

With an all-rookie driver line-up in 2007 of Shane Price and Jack Perkins, the Jack Daniel’s/Perkins Engineering team found themselves having some struggles with their new Commodore VEs.

As part of assistance to Holden Motorsport, Skaife stepped behind the wheel of Price’s #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore at a Winton test day to turn 10 laps and offer some feedback.

“Holden asked me to evaluate the Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodores for a couple of young blokes in Price and Perkins, who are going well but still learning the ropes,” Skaife said at the time.

“There are a few tricks in V8s and although the cars are certainly up to scratch it’s probably a couple of setup things in brakes and suspension that we would do at HRT.

“Larry Perkins has always had a great engineering base, but you can’t replace driver experience and that only comes with more testing, more practice and more racing.

Skaife prepares to step inside the Team BOC Commodore in Sydney with Brad and Kim Jones watching on in the background. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

2009 Team BOC Jason Richards Commodore

Skaife had lots to do with the layout of the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit in Homebush and, when the first event was finally held in 2009 he was the first to turn a lap of the circuit at speed.

Having just driven in the endurance races for Sprint Gas Racing (Tasman Motorsport), Skaife was bolted into the #8 Team BOC Commodore of Brad Jones Racing for the first official laps of the 3.42-kilometre track laid out around the 2000 Olympic Games precinct.

It was a car that actually was a former Holden Racing Team car – chassis WR 003, the same chassis driven by Todd Kelly for HRT in 2007 when he was teammates with Skaife.

2010 Fujitsu GRM Commodore

The Channel 7 line-up of former drivers – namely Skaife, Neil Crompton and Mark Larkham – had a period in 2010 and 2011 of being put behind the wheel of various team cars for the broadcast. 

In Darwin 2010 Skaife was given the opportunity to drive Lee Holdsworth’s Fujitsu GRM Commodore VE, reuniting him with his former HRT engineer Richard Hollway, who by that stage was working at Garry Rogers’ team and engineering Holdsworth.

2010 Jack Daniel’s Kelly Racing Commodore

As part of the series of stories with Channel 7 commentators taking the wheel of various Supercars, Skaife jumped behind the wheel of Rick Kelly’s #15 Jack Daniel’s (though it wasn’t carrying the JD signage given local customs relating to alcohol) in Abu Dhabi earlier in 2010.

It ground to a halt while he was at the wheel, a driveline issue bringing his run to an early end.

Skaife bolts into Rick Kelly’s Commodore in Abu Dhabi 2010. Photo: Supplied.

2010 Supercheap Auto Ingall Commodore

Continuing the theme of the Channel 7 commentators driving cars during 2010, Skaife stepped into Russell Ingall’s Supercheap Auto Commodore from Paul Morris Motorsports in Townsville later that year.

Seven years after their infamous dust-up at Eastern Creek and before they went on to share a FOX Sports hosting desk for a few seasons, this was a moment many V8 Supercar fans thought they would never see – Ingall and Skaife’s names on the same window!

Ingall was even waiting in the pit lane when Skaife returned from his laps to replicate Skaife’s efforts of shaking his fist ‘Shriek at the Creek-style’ as the #39 Commodore rolled down past him back to its pit bay.

The duo later shared a BMW M6 GT3 in the Bathurst 12 Hour with Tony Longhurst and Timo Glock.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.