AS revealed in The Examiner yesterday, veteran driver Russell Ingall has announced he will bring to a close his V8 Supercar championship career at the end of 2013, driving the Supercheap Auto Commodore for Walkinshaw Racing.
There was some conjecture as to whether he would continue for one more year, and earlier in the year, he was reserved in his answers when asked.
When pressed, he indicated he wanted to continue for at least another year but acknowledged the decision depended on a number of factors that have obviously been sorted out.
Ingall believes the introduction of the new Car of the Future next year will present an opportunity to go out of the category on a high with all teams starting from scratch with brand-new and different specification cars.
"All good things must come to an end, and the introduction of the COTF will give me the opportunity to go out the way I always wanted - on my terms," Ingall said.
COTF is a whole new ball game for V8s and it will open up the competition. "You won't see the domination by two teams as we have seen this year," the 1995 V8 champion said.
The 48-year-old believes that experience and a cool head will be major factors next year, which is something he has on his side.
Ingall started racing karts at age 12 in Whyalla, winning several junior and senior titles before moving overseas to continue in karts and then made the transition to formula Ford.
In 1990 he won the Australian FF championship and the following year finished second in the British FF championship.
Two years later, Ingall won the British FF championship, scoring 13 wins from 16 starts, followed that up with victory in the prestigious FF Festival and then went on to win the New Zealand FF championship, with 10 wins from 12 starts.
Ingall, who has often been referred to as the Enforcer due to his sometimes forceful driving style, had his first race in a V8 Touring car at the Sandown 500 in 1994 with Win Percy in the Coca-Cola Commodore and then drove in the Bathurst 1000.
He then went back to England to contest the British formula Renault championship, finishing third overall before returning to Australia for the endurance races to team up with Larry Perkins and begin an eight-year association that saw them win the Bathurst classic in 1995 and 1997.
The London-born Ingall finished second in the championship in 1998, 1999 and 2001 before moving to Stone Brothers Racing in 2003 to score another second place in 2004 and then win the title in 2005 driving a Ford.
In 2008 he returned to Holden, joining Paul Morris Motorsport and started his association with the Supercheap Auto brand, which continues to this day.
This year Ingall has been driving for the Melbourne- based Walkinshaw team and, while good results have been few and far between, there have been occasions when Ingall has shown competitive speed.
Even though Ingall has started in more than 200 championship events and will break John Bowe's all- time record of 226 at the scheduled Townsville round next year he has only ever scored one pole position in his Touring Car/V8 Supercar career.
Poor qualifying has been an issue and if he has any chance of finishing well up in the championship it's an area the team will need to address as the racing is now so close you cannot afford to be back in the pack.
Wishing everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.