25 Oct 2008

Is Skaife set to retire

11:41 am on 25 October 2008

The Australian motor racing legend Mark Skaife is expected to confirm within days he will retire from fulltime V8 Supercar racing at the end of the year.

The 41-year-old has been contemplating his future since crashing out of the Bathurst 1000 a fortnight ago.

But while the Holden Racing Team and Skaife would not confirm it, it is believed he will draw the curtain on his illustrious career soon - perhaps as early as next week.

Skaife is among the sport's greatest champions, winning more V8 Supercar rounds than any other driver, five championships and five Bathurst 1000s.

He was at the peak of his powers in a remarkable 2002 season, in which he clinched his third successive championship for the Holden Racing Team, won the opening five rounds of the year and Bathurst.

But despite his status and the fact that he has conquered the sport's major pinnacles, Skaife's future has been the subject of constant speculation this year amid claims he had lost speed and competitiveness.

Skaife sits 12th in the championship - well inside the top half of the points standings - and has also been consistent in qualifying all year.

Skaife's impending retirement is set to increase speculation that rising Ford star Will Davison will move to HRT as his replacement, driving alongside championship contender Garth Tander in 2009.