A teenager with Port Pirie connections and a name straight from Bathurst glory is making his mark in motorsport.
Skaife Ward, 16, owes his first name to former Commodore supercar driver Mark Skaife who is a six-time winner of the famous Bathurst 1000.
“Some people think I am joking when I tell them my name,” said Skaife whose father is Philip Ward, of the Gold Coast, and whose grandfather is Bob Ward, of Port Pirie.
Skaife has been racing go-karts and working at TEKNO Autosports while juggling his Year 12 studies.
He helped prepare the team’s Bathurst-winning Commodore in 2016 – the orange rear bumper from the race car is signed by the members and has pride of place in his father’s “man-cave”.
Philip said he was a “supporter” of Mark Skaife and was inspired to name his son after him.
“There are too many Brocks around,” he said.
Philip and his family moved to Gawler then the Gold Coast from Port Pirie after he was hurt in an industrial accident at the smelter.
He is now an automation engineer with a robotics company just down the road from the autosport team.
The team has prepared Ferraris and McLarens for racing and is giving Skaife an introduction to his ultimate career of data engineering.
“The data engineer performs analysis and looks at what the car is doing. They mentor the driver and help them improve their driving based on what they are doing in the car and how the motor is performing,” Skaife said.
“I grew up around the track and Dad loves motorsport. It is definitely interesting when you tell people my name when at the track.
“It was pretty funny when I got to meet Mark Skaife at Adelaide last year.
It was pretty funny when I got to meet Mark Skaife.Skaife Ward
“Dad introduced me to motorsport and bought me a go-kart. From there it has just taken off."
Skaife is also travelling the country with Koftecki Brothers Racing while following his career path.
He had became involved with motorsport when he knocked on TEKNO’s door and asked to do work experience when he was in Year 10.
Now he has a role in putting motors into VF Commodores for the race track and helping to boost performance of exotic cars.
He spent the first few years of his life in Port Pirie before the family moved to Gawler then the Gold Coast.
He was thrilled that Port Pirie could “claim” him as one of its talented sons.