Australian car market: Car sales, statistics and figures
We Australians have a long and proud history of punching above our collective...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
Mark Skaife is V8 Supercar racing’s answer to Eddie McGuire - a colourful character with multiple roles across his chosen sport.
For the better part of two decades Skaife was the benchmark driver in Australian touring car racing. Emerging onto the scene driving the controversial Nissan Skyline GT-R - infamously known as ‘Godzilla’ for its domination - he was initially a polarising figure.
But after winning in a Holden Commodore to prove it was driver skill, not just the car, that made him a champion, Skaife’s image began to turn.
His career jumped to the next level in 1998 when he replaced Holden hero Peter Brock at the Lion brand’s factory outfit - the Holden Racing Team.
Between 1998 and 2003 he won three V8 Supercar titles and never finished lower than third in the standings. He became Holden’s new leading man in the wake of Brock’s departure and ‘Skaifey’ became one of the sport’s most popular drivers.
Most famously he set a Guinness World Record for the fastest speed in a ute when he drove an HSV Maloo to 277km/h in the South Australian outback.
Skaife wasn’t just a local hero or touring car specialist either. He won three Australian Gold Stars (the highest honour for a local driver) when he won back-to-back Formula Brabham open-wheeler titles driving for Gibson Motorsport.
He made a short-lived attempt at Formula 1 by trying his luck in the 1992 International Formula 3000 series. He also made a start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997 with the factory Lister team.
Since retiring from driving Skaife has become the face of the sport on television, acting as both a host and expert commentator for Channel Seven and more recently, Fox Sports.
Here’s everything you want to know about Skaife and his career.
Skaife was born April 3, 1967, making him 54 at the time of publication.
He was born in Gosford on the New South Wales central coast, but for most of his career he has lived in Melbourne.
Given the private nature of V8 Supercar contracts it’s unclear how much Skaife is worth. Infamously a newspaper report in 2009 claimed he was in more than $3 million worth of debt to racing entrepreneur Tom Walkinshaw, related to Skaife’s ownership of the Holden Racing Team.
However, Skaife has enjoyed a long career as a driver, racetrack design consultant and, since 2009, a television broadcaster - so it’s believed he is worth several million dollars.
While his exact net worth is unknown, he has done well enough to be part of the new ownership group for the V8 Supercars series.
His parents are Russell and Gay Skaife. He described his mother in a 2020 interview as having “the highest work ethic of anyone I’ve ever been around” and instilled in him his attention-to-detail.
Yes, Skaife has been married to Toni since 2004. This is his second marriage, he married his first wife, Belinda, in 1993 but the pair filed for divorce a few years later.
Yes, he has three children. His son Mitchell is from his first marriage, and he shares two daughters - Mia and Tilly - with Toni.
Yes, there have been several books written about him. The most recent was his 2020 autobiography titled, Mark Skaife: The Complete Illustrated Autobiography.
He wrote another autobiography in 2010, with journalist Andrew Clarke, titled - Skaifey: Life in the Fastlane - and in 2002 he published, Mark Skaife: Diary of a Champion.
There was a 2009 documentary about his driving career titled, Skaifey: The Mark Skaife Story.
Skaife drove the majority of his career with just two teams - Gibson Motorsport and the Holden Racing Team.
He drove for Gibson Motorsport - when it was known publicly as Nissan Motorsport Australia - between 1987 and 1992 driving the famous Skyline GT-R.
When Nissan left the sport Gibson Motorsport switched to running Holden Commodores and Skaife stayed until mid-way through the ‘97 season.
At that point he was recruited by the Holden Racing Team (HRT) to partner Peter Brock in what was meant to be his final Bathurst 1000 start.
He then replaced Brock at HRT in 1998 and stayed at the team until his retirement from full-time driving at the end of 2008.
When he became an endurance race drive (competing only at the Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst 1000) he drove for Tasman Motorsport in 2009 before switching to Triple Eight Race Engineering for 2010 and 2011.
Skaife is a six-time Bathurst 1000 winner. He won his first two in 1991 and ‘92 sharing a Nissan Skyline GT-R with Jim Richards.
He then won in 2001 driving for HRT with Tony Longhurst. He partnered with Richards again to win in 2002 in an HRT Commodore.
His next win came in 2005, once again with HRT but this time partnering with Todd Kelly.
Skaife’s final Bathurst 1000 victory came in 2010, when he shared a Holden with Craig Lowndes for Triple Eight Race Engineering.
As Skaife was successful for an extended period from the early 1990s through to the late 2010s he had many rivals.
Craig Lowndes was both a teammate and rival, while the likes of Glenn Seton and John Bowe were adversaries during Skaife’s run in the ‘90s. In the 2000s Marcos Ambrose emerged as his closest challenger on track.
However, his most famous rival is without question Russell Ingall. The pair clashed on and off the track with their most famous confrontation in 2003 at Sydney Motorsport Park (then known as Eastern Creek Raceway).
The pair made contact on the circuit and Skaife was spun into the wall and out of the race. Skaife then waited by the side of the track for Ingall to come by the next lap and walked towards his rival’s car while yelling at him.
The incident became known as ‘The Shriek at the Creek’ and both drivers were penalised for their behaviour.
He is a five-time champion winning the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars series in 1992, ‘94, 2000, ‘01 and ‘02.
He also amassed 90 race wins, 203 podium finishes and 41 pole positions in 479 races he started.