Todd Kelly is an Australian racing driver who competed in the V8 Supercars Championship until 2017 for Nissan Motorsport Australia, operated by his family-owned team Kelly Racing. Todd Kelly debuted in a series in 1999, collecting more than 500 starts since then and winning 19 times.
His best season was 2005 when he finished in the fourth place. At Bathurst 1000, he was on a podium three times, including a victory in 2005, together with Mark Skaife. Outside V8 Supercars, Todd Kelly was the Bathurst 24 Hour race winner in 2003.
Todd's younger brother Rick, also V8 Supercars driver, won the championship in 2006 and scored two wins at Bathurst 1000 (in 2003 and 2004).
Starting a career in the Australian Formula Ford
Todd Kelly was born on October 9, 1979, in Melbourne. He started a racing career in 2005, participating in a couple of races in the Australian Formula Ford Championship. His first full season was 2006 when he finished in the 12th place. Next year, he was among the front-runners, winning four times and finishing third in the final standings, behind Garth Tander and Marcos Ambrose.
Third in the Australian Drivers' Championship
In 1998, Todd switched to the Australian Drivers' Championship, driving a Reynard-Holden for Birrana Racing. With two wins on his account, he finished third in the championship, behind Scott Dixon and Mark Noske. In 1999, Todd participated in two races only, winning both. Instead of racing with single-seaters, he focused on touring car racing, debuting in the Shell Championship Series, what was a new name for the Australian Touring Car Championship.
V8 Supercars debut with Holden Young Lions
Todd Kelly debuted in the V8 Supercars competitions along with his rival from single-seaters Mark Noske. They were members of the Holden Young Lions team. Kelly was driving the #15 Holden Commodore in five rounds. The highlight of the season was Bathurst 1000, where he and Mark Noske finished in the sixth place.
Joining Holden Racing Team in 2000
In 2000, Todd joined Holden Racing Team, as a teammate to Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife. Kelly participated in 21 races, finishing 17th in the final standings. At Bathurst 1000, he and Nathan Pretty finished in the fifth place driving the #15 Holden VT Commodore, one place ahead of their teammates in the #1 Holden.
First full season and maiden victory in 2001
In 2001, Kelly moved to newly formed K-mart Racing team, to drive the #15 Holden VX Commodore alongside Greg Murphy as a teammate in the #51 car. Todd captured his maiden victory in the last round of the championship at Sandown International Raceway.
At Bathurst 1000, he reached a podium for the first time, sharing a car with Greg Murphy. They finished in the third place. At the end of the season, Todd was sixth in the points. Todd spent one more season with K-Mart Racing, progressing in the final standings to the fifth place. At Bathurst, he and Greg Murphy were 13th.
Rejoining Holden Racing Team in 2003
After two successful years with K-mart Racing Team, Todd returned to Holden Racing Team in 2003. He was driving the #2 Holden VY Commodore, with Mark Skaife as a teammate in the #1 car. They were together in the #1 car at Sandown 500, winning the race. At Bathurst 1000, they were 8th. Todd's brother Rick won the race. At the end of the season, Todd was ninth in the points.
Victory at Bathurst 24 Hour in 2003
In November 2003, Todd Kelly was a part of the two-car Garry Rogers Motorsport's assault at the Bathurst 24 Hour race. The team scored its second consecutive win with Holden Monaro 427C. The drivers in the victorious #05 car were Peter Brock, Greg Murphy, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly.
Second Bathurst win for Todd's brother Rick
In 2004, Todd progressed in the championship, finishing in the seventh place. He was driving the #22 Holden VY Commodore, winning the fourth round at Hidden Valley Raceway. At Bathurst 1000, his brother Rick was the winner again, Todd finished in the 12th place, sharing a car with Mark Skaife.
Todd scored Bathurst 1000 victory on his 26th birthday
In 2005, Todd Kelly finally reached the top podium spot at the Mount Panorama, winning the Bathurst 1000 on his third attempt with Mark Skaife as a co-driver. It's interesting that Todd scored his the most valuable win in a career on his 26th birthday.
The season 2005 was also Todd's most successful V8 Supercars season in a career. He was on a podium five times, including three wins (Shanghai, Darwin, Bathurst). At the end of the year, he was fourth in the points.
2006 Bathurst podium for Kelly brothers
Todd Kelly spent two more years with Holden Racing Team, finishing in the sixth place in both seasons. For the endurance races in 2006, he swapped a seat with HSV Dealer Team driver Garth Tander. Todd joined his brother Rick in the #15 Holden, finishing in the second place both at Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000.
In 2007, he won the season-opening Clipsal 500 and added two more wins later in the season. At Bathurst 1000, he and Mark Skaife didn't finish the race due to an accident.
For the 2008 V8 Supercars season, Kelly joined Perkins Engineering/Jack Daniel's Racing to drive the #7 Holden VE Commodore. With one victory, at Symmons Plains Raceway, he finished the season in 12th position.
Kelly Racing team was founded in 2009
In 2009, Kelly Racing team was founded by Todd's parents John and Margaret Kelly. The team fielded two Holden VE Commodores, sponsored by Jack Daniel's, for Todd (#7) and Rick (#15). The team had not so successful debut year, finishing in the 13th place, with Todd in the 18th place of drivers' standings. At Bathurst 1000, Kelly brothers were 8th.
Todd was driving Holden Commodore for Kelly Racing until the end of 2012, not scoring wins and reaching only two podiums. He was 18th in the points for two seasons (2010, 2011) and then 22nd in 2012. At Bathurst 1000, his partners were three different drivers (Dale Wood, David Russell and Tim Blanchard) with 18th place as the best result.
Driving Nissan Altimas since 2013
For the 2013 V8 Supercars season, Kelly Racing was rebranded as Nissan Motorsport, replacing Holdens with Nissan Altimas. Todd Kelly stayed with the team, scoring a single Top 10 race result to finish 25th in the points. In 2014, he was slightly better, finishing 22nd in the points. His best result was fifth place at Phillip Island. At Bathurst 1000, he and Alex Buncombe were 7th.
In 2015, Todd was far from the top again, finishing 17th in the points. The season 2016 was his best so far with Nissan, as he finished 14th in the points. Following 18th-place finish in 2017, Todd announced a retirement from Supercars.
Photos: Todd Kelly FB,