Business, health has Mark King call time on TCM career
A SERIES of health issues, coupled with the ongoing international success of his business, have conspired to force Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters series veteran Mark King to the side-lines.
The Queenslander will be replaced by Porsche Carrera Cup racer Michael Almond aboard the #95 Whiteline Racing 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS this weekend as the series returns to the NTI Townsville 500 in North Queensland.
Whiteline Racing confirmed the news in their most recent TCM Newsletter publication, which documents the team’s campaign in great detail at each round.
King endured several surgeries on his back in recent years, while the rapid expansion of King Springs has ensured much of his focus has remained on growing his business, both here and abroad.
A recent badly broken ankle while on a business trip to Germany only added to his decision to step back from racing.
“Kingy, with the heavy biff he sustained in Sydney, when he was turned around, has made him rethink his priorities and after two years of surgeries does not want to put his body through any more tough track action and has decided to hang up his boots with Whiteline Racing,” Whiteline’s Sharon Middleton wrote in the team newsletter.
“Kingy campaigned Sydney in May after coming off a pretty difficult couple of years of surgeries, combined with the growth and success of his business King Springs, has kept him extremely tied up and busy.
“King Springs is such a success story and these days any company that manufactures anything and does it well are truly in the minority.
“It goes without saying we will greatly miss him. Jason, his track crew chief over this time, will especially miss him, but Jase is looking forward to continuing his role starting off with Mike in Townsville.
“Kingy’s departure has opened up the opportunity for Michael Almond to debut at Townsville in the 95 Camaro.”
King made his TCM debut in 2011, racing a Holden Monaro GTS but quickly became best known for his time driving Whiteline Racing’s 1970 Chevrolet Camaro RS which, when painted red, earned him the name ‘Elmo’ – because his beard matched the car.
He contested 70 TCM rounds and 213 races in total, the fifth most of all-time in the category.
King won three races, all with Whiteline. His first came at the 2014 Adelaide 500, where he held out John Bowe’s Mustang in race two of the weekend.
Darwin would prove his happy place, however, with his next two victories coming at Hidden Valley: first in 2014 and then again in 2018.
“Kingy is just a great fun person to be with, generous, supportive and thankful of his crew and just an all round nice guy to all in the motor racing world,” Whiteline Racing boss Sharon Middleton said.
“We wish Kingy a speedy recovery and thank him for everything he brought to Whiteline Racing, we will miss him immensely, but we won’t say goodbye, because life long friendships have been forged and we look forward to fun times and get togethers in the future.”
Michael Almond will join George Miedecke in the two-car Whiteline Racing squad this weekend at the NTI Townsville 500, making his return to the category for the first time in nearly a decade.
The cars are on track from Friday morning with Qualifying and all four races to be shown live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.