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Feature: Generational change

Rick Kelly’s full-time retirement from Supercars is the latest from the group of drivers who debuted in the late 1990s/early 2000s and sit at the top of the list of most round starts in the championship. 

27 December 2020

SupercarXtra Magazine looks at the generational change in Supercars and reflects back on Kelly’s career in issue #119.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #119.

Within the space of three years, the four most experienced drivers in the history of the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars have retired from full-time driving in the category. Kelly has followed in the footsteps of Jason Bright, Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander in stepping down from full-time driving, accelerating the changing of the guard in Supercars. 

Kelly vacates the #15 Kelly Racing entry, bringing to an end a full-time career that started in 2002 and notched up 583 race starts, 265 rounds, 39 podiums, 13 race wins, 10 pole positions, two Bathurst wins (2003 and 2004) and one championship title (2006) across three manufacturers, Holden, Nissan and Ford. 

Kelly sits third in the all-time round starts behind Lowndes and Tander, who retired from full-time driving in 2018, and ahead of Jason Bright, who retired in 2017. 

“Whilst as a driver you always want to win, and externally your on-track results hold the biggest influence on your report card, and as you’d expect from any athlete, I’ll leave wanting more” says Kelly. 

“One thing’s for sure, I will step away satisfied with always having given my best and never giving in, no matter how far back we were.”

“As a whole I’m proud of what we have achieved as a team over the last decade” reflects Kelly. 

“We have relentlessly pushed hard, worked directly with three different manufacturers and represented some of the most recognised brands in the world”¦ I have had a solid hustle over the past 20 years in motorsport, never really sitting still.”

Todd Kelly, who retired at the end of 2017, paid tribute to his brother and team co-owner: “Well done to Rick on an outstanding career. He has had a big impact on the sport during his time as a driver and has not only had success on the track but been a leader in both fan and sponsor engagement. It’s going to be quite different not having Rick driving full-time; however everyone at Kelly Racing wishes Rick all the best with his future and congratulates him on a successful career in Supercars.”

Kelly’s retirement intensified an already volatile silly season, following soon after Scott McLaughlin’s departure.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #119 within Australia.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #119 within New Zealand.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #119 for the rest of the world.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #119.