News Ticker

Skaife back on track at ‘The Island’

skaife-longhurst-ingall_bmw-m6-phillip-island-photo-by-darren-house-2

Mark Skaife has completed a second test session in the SRM prepared Castrol Edge BMW M6 GT3 that he will share with fellow veterans Tony Longhurst and Russell Ingall in the Bathurst 12 Hour event.

The six-time Bathurst 1000 commentator, who hasn’t raced since accepting a guest drive in the 2012 Carrera Cup round at the Australian Grand Prix, said driving the BMW required a different mindset compared to a V8 Supercar.

“It is a much different style of car than a V8 Supercar and requires a much different way of driving to get the best from it. It is more like an open wheel car so I have had to get my brain back into old sports cars and open wheel cars to get a feel for how you get the best from it,” he told PistonBroke.online

skaife-longhurst-ingall_bmw-m6-phillip-island-photo-by-darren-house-4

“It has got a lot of aero and it achieves its speed a lot differently. The mid-corner speed is massively up on what we were used to. Corners that we would brake or lift for (the BMW) can get around flat, so that takes a little bit of getting your head around.”

While Skaife said the venture started out as ‘fun’, those who understand him well, know there’ll also be a very serious side to his driving.

“It started out as a bit of fun, I spent a day in it a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it (but) if you are going to do it, you want to do it well. You are thinking of driving as well as you can as a consequence.

skaife-longhurst-ingall_bmw-m6-phillip-island-photo-by-darren-house-3

With the Bathurst event just three months away, the V8 Supercars champion, turned TV commentator, concedes he still needs to find some speed.

“I am still probably a half a second or more away from Stevie Richards’ time – trying to get my brain around driving it well. I’ve only had one little run today, my more senior counterpart (Russell Ingall) has been driving all day. Later on this afternoon we’ll put some better tyres on it and see what it’s like.”

As Ingall walked past, I asked Skaife if Russell had given him any tips. “He’s very good with his tips,” replied Skaife, before Ingall called out “Be kind to your mother”.

skaife-bmw-m6-phillip-island-photo-by-darren-house

Having experienced great success on Mount Panorama, Skaife is looking forward to stepping out of the TV studio and back onto the track, and is optimistic about his team’s chances.

“I love Bathurst and this is an opportunity to have a run in a different style of car and different style of race. It’s 12 hours it’s double the distance of what we would do in a Bathurst 1000. It will require some patience and careful traffic management to make sure that we get through without too much drama. If we get to the last hour and the car is in good nick we might end up near podium land somewhere.”

longhurst-richards-ingall_bmw-m6-phillip-island-photo-by-darren-house

Darren House

Words/Photos: Darren House.