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The British sportscar manufacturer, which gave Mark Skaife his Le Mans debut

During the 1990s, current Repco Supercars Championship commentator Mark Skaife tried his hand in multiple international disciplines including the FIA World Touring Car Cup due to his Nissan links, a couple of rounds of F3000 and a trip to Le Mans.

Skaife contested the 1993 FIA World Touring Car Cup and the final two rounds of European F3000 in 1992 when the local regulations were switched to the V8 ruleset leaving Gibson Motorsport to switch from Nissan to Holden.

Backed by Winfield, Skaife won the 1992 and 1994 Australian Touring Car Championships, but the Government outlawed cigarette advertising at the end of 1995 leaving Gibson Motorsport struggling for budget. Sega came on as a sponsor midway through 1996, but the next season led to Skaife completing a part-time campaign before joining the Holden Racing Team for the endurance events.

Prior to this though, Skaife got the opportunity to tick off a bucket list item by racing at Le Mans in what was a bullish GT model still revered to this day in Britain.

Launched in 1954, Lister released its first model heavily influenced by Cooper featuring a tubular ladder chassis, de Dion rear axle, inboard drum rear brakes and MG tuned gearbox.

Founder Brian Lister installed former MG factory driver Archie Scott Brown to represent Lister on the race track and he did so by winning multiple races as development led to a variety of engine changes as even an open-wheeler was designed.

By 1958, Lister was successful and Scott Brown continued to win races until his untimely death at Spa-Francorchamps. Competition began to wind down the next year until withdrawal as Lister was chosen by the Rootes Group to develop the Sunbeam Tiger for Le Mans, but a short time frame during the R&D process led to the failure of the programme.

As a consequence, Lister’s tuning work declined.

The Lister name came to the fore again when engineer Laurence Pearce tuned 90 Jaguar XJSs to top 200mph leading to the Storm being released, the marques first model in close to 34 years. Featuring a 7.0-litre V12 Jaguar engine, the Storm went on to be competitive in GT racing for more than a decade including winning the FIA GT Championship in 2000.

It’s GT campaign included a regular trip to Le Mans in the midst of a golden generation for long distance racing, particularly in the outright class in which the Lister competed against Porsche, Nissan, Mercedes, McLaren, Panoz and Lotus.

Joining ex-Formula 1 driver Julian Bailey and Brazilian Tommy Erdos, Skaife retired very early on after 77 laps though it left an impression considering the Lister was the fastest in a straight line clocked at 214mph.

Skaife never made it back to Le Mans or to Europe as budget was a problem and getting the plum seat at the Holden Racing Team further cemented his career in Australia.