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Australian motorsport great in guest Porsche Carrera Cup appearance

Mark Skaife to race in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at the 2011 Formula 1™ Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

Reigning Bathurst 1000 champion and motorsport great Mark Skaife will race in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at the 2011 Formula 1™ Qantas Australian Grand Prix, March 24-27.

Skaife will race a 2011-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) car as a guest entry in the all-Porsche series, which will be his first time racing a left-hand drive race car. The Formula 1™ Qantas Australian Grand Prix will mark the return of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, which hasn't raced in Australia since the end of 2008.

A five-time Australian Touring Car champion, Skaife is looking forward to racing at Albert Park five months after his last competitive outing - winning the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 alongside TeamVodafone co-driver Craig Lowndes.

“I'm really looking forward to it. I've had great results at Albert Park over the years. I've always enjoyed driving there and the Porsche will definitely suit the Albert Park circuit,” said Skaife.

“When I retired from full-time driving I did say I would pick out the events I enjoyed. Clearly the Australian Grand Prix is one of those. At this stage of my career I can select the event when the opportunities arise and this is obviously one of them. I'm looking forward to it, it should be good fun.”

Skaife tested the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on March 03 and was quickly on the pace.

"It was my first time ever driving left-hand drive race car. To drive a car like that on the latest-spec Michelin tyres is much different to anything I've been used to and was a great experience, especially around a fast, flowing European-style circuit."

"I really enjoyed it. All cars react differently based on the style of car and how they achieve their performance. The Porsche was easy to acclimatise to, especially because it's designed like a race car."

"We made a few little changes throughout the test day – we made some gains and made some losses like you normally would in any motor racing, especially with cars you're unfamiliar with. At the end of the day I was really happy.”

Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager, Jamey Blaikie, said Skaife's inclusion is a boost for the relaunched series and highlights the status of Porsche Carrera Cup in Australia.

"From a Porsche perspective, having Mark on board is a glowing endorsement for Carrera Cup Australia, which comes at a great time for the brand – celebrating 60 years of Porsche in Australia."

"With the opening round at the Australian Grand Prix, running a guest entry with a VIP driver was always on our radar and Mark was the obvious choice. We needed someone who had a strong profile within Australia, but who would also be competitive. Mark was a perfect fit."

"Mark is one of Australia's greatest drivers, which was apparent when he tested the GT3 Cup car. Within a few laps he was on the pace and by the end of the day he was posting competitive lap times."

Skaife's Porsche GT3 Cup car will sport #60, which commemorates 60 years of Porsche in Australia, while featuring sponsors Dutton Insurance and L'Oreal Men Expert.

For bookings or more information to the 2011 Formula 1™ Qantas Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, 24 - 27 March, visit www.grandprix.com.au or call Foxtix on 1300 111 369.

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