V8 Supercars chairman James Strong died in Melbourne on Sunday at the age of 68.
Strong had only taken over the running of the series in November 2012, when he replaced former chief Tony Cochrane.
An 18-year stint running the Qantas airline was the central part of Strong's career, which also featured managing roles in the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports.
Australia's leading F1 driver Mark Webber was among those quick to pay tribute to Strong.
"Sorry to hear the news that James Strong has passed away," Webber wrote on Twitter. "He was very special towards my junior racing career. Great guy. Will be missed."