For the second consecutive year, motor racing legend Mark Skaife will compete in Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia as a high profile addition to the field at the Formula 1™ Qantas Australian Grand Prix.
Skaife will drive the Team L'Oréal Porsche at Albert Park, with the French beauty and cosmetics icon using the association with Skaife to promote its L'Oréal Men Expert range of men’s skincare products. Resplendent in its vibrant orange and black livery, the Team L'Oréal Porsche is set to stand out from one of the best Carrera Cup fields ever assembled in Australia.
Skaife joins the Carrera Cup ranks as one of the most successful Australian racing drivers of all time, with a decorated career spanning over 25 years and including six Bathurst 1000 victories, a record equalling five Australian Touring Car Championships (ATCC) and the most ever V8 Supercar/ATCC race and round wins - a record previously held by the late Peter Brock until surpassed by Skaife in 2007.
Experienced team manager Paul Cruickshank will oversee the running of the Team L’Oreal Porsche, while engineering support will be provided by Dave Swenson, a former race engineer of Skaife’s at the Holden Racing Team. More recently, Swenson was race engineer to Rick Kelly in the V8 Supercar Championship and is currently an integral part of V8 Supercars’ Car of the Future development program.
Skaife returns to Carrera Cup after a guest drive in last year’s Grand Prix event, where he qualified an impressive second on debut and achieved a best race result of two fourth placings. Since racing at Albert Park last year, Skaife made his final two starts in V8 Supercar, winning the Phillip Island 500 with Craig Lowndes before narrowly missing out on a seventh Bathurst 1000 victory, and is excited about the prospect of competing in Carrera Cup at Australia’s premier motorsport event.
"I’m really looking forward to racing in the Carrera Cup again this year. The cars are unique and very exciting to drive and towards the end of last year’s event I really felt we had found some consistency with the set-up and driving technique they require, which hopefully we can put to good use this weekend.
"I said last year after Qualifying the Porsche reminded me of the open wheel cars I drove early in my career and they are very satisfying to drive on a fast, flowing circuit like Albert Park. Their mid-corner speed is very good and the level of grip they provide enables you to really attack the circuit, which is a great feeling for a driver. The series is a very professionally run and well presented category and I would certainly be interested in more Carrera Cup racing if time permits."
Also lining up in a competitive 21-car field will be three-time Formula 1 ™ Grand Prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Carrera Cup champions Craig Baird and Alex Davison and one of Skaife’s former V8 Supercar rivals, Steven Richards. The extra competition in the Carrera Cup field for 2012 is something Skaife is relishing.
"There is some serious pedigree in the field this year - there are guys who are absolute specialists in these cars like Craig Baird, Alex Davison, Jonny Reid and Daniel Gaunt who were very competitive during last year’s championship, and then there's Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who we know is an ex-Formula 1 race winner."