Tom Walkinshaw and Mark Skaife have finally reached an agreement for the Briton to assume full ownership and control of the successful Holden Racing Team, following the multiple V8 Supercar champion's decision to retire at the end of the 2008 season.
The decision, which came after several weeks of discussion and remains subject to approval by V8 Supercars Australia, will be effective immediately but, contrary to initial speculation, Skaife will not be ousted by Walkinshaw assuming control.
Instead, the Scot - who has an extensive history in F1, touring and sportscars, as well as V8s - has requested that Skaife remain as an ambassador for the Holden Racing Team, in an effort to reflect his achievements for the team and the sport. In addition, Skaife will remain as a major ambassador for the Holden brand and its products.
While details of the agreement between the two prominent figures will remain confidential, no debt or other outstanding financial commitments will remain in relation to Skaife's team involvement.
Finalising the deal will leave Skaife, who has expressed an interest in exploring opportunities inside and outside of motorsport, free to concentrate on the final round of his full-time racing at Oran Park this weekend. Although he is calling time on a 21-year driving career, the veteran expects to appear in select races, including the V8 endurance events.
“Tom and I have been working together on this for several weeks," Skaife confirmed, "and it's disappointing that our negotiations were inaccurately reported just as we were reaching agreement in the best interests of Holden Racing Team.”
Holden chairman and MD Mark Reuss said that the outcome would help to keep HRT as a benchmark racing team, while ensuring Skaife retained involvement with the brands he had represented for so long.