Supercars Championship veteran Todd Kelly has announced his retirement from racing after this weekend’s season-ending Newcastle 500.
The driver and co-owner of the four-car Nissan Motorsports stable will bring down the curtain on a racing career spanning over three decades in Australia; he has confirmed he will not serve as a co-driver in next year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup and instead spend his time behind the scenes supporting Nissan’s ongoing Supercars efforts.
Following stints in karts, Formula Ford and the Australian Drivers’ Championship, Kelly – the elder brother to fellow ownder/driver Rick – made his V8 Supercars debut in 1998. Now one of the elder statesmen in the championship, Kelly will chalk up 541 race starts at this weekend’s season-ending Newcastle 500 round. In total, he has claimed 19 Supercars race wins – the highlight being the 2005 Bathurst 1000 – a further 28 podium finishes, and 6 pole positions.
In all, Kelly’s greatest success came when racing for the likes of the Holden Young Lions (1999), the Holden Racing Team (2000, 2003-7), and K-mart Racing (2001-2) – he peaked with fourth overall in the Drivers’ Championship in 2005 but hasn’t cracked the top-ten in the standings since 2007.
He joined Larry Perkins’ eponymous team in 2008 before the Kelly family took ownership of the team the following year. With the siblings acting as managers and drivers, they run privateer Holden Commodores until Nissan Motorsport joined forces as part of the Japanese carmaker’s return to Australian touring car racing.
“I’ve decided to hang up the helmet at the end of this season,” he explained.
“To have a 20-year career doing something you love is pretty special. It’s been a long, solid and clean career of being a professional driver. And even though I would probably change a few things if I had my time again, there’s not anything I regret over that period.”
The 38-year-old also cited a persistent knee injury – for which he has twice had surgery this year – as one of the factors contributing to his decision to hang up his helmet.
Nissan Motorsport is yet to announce who will replace Kelly in its #7 Nissan Altima next year.
Images via Nissan Motorsports