Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR) won the final Mobil 1 V8 Supercars race of the 2023 season at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 18 November, to bring down the curtain on a career that saw the Randfontein-based driver claim six consecutive championships.
Steve Herbst’s PPG Coatings / PREI Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette let him down on Friday, but thanks to the generosity of fellow racer Sam Dahl, who lent him his spare Jaguar, Herbst was able to secure the GT2 championship with a second place and a win in the day’s heats.
Adlem signalled his intention of going out with a bang when he emerged at the top of the overall timesheets after Friday’s practice sessions, almost eight-tenths of a second quicker than Warren Lombard, who was out in his new Bumper to Bumper Ford Mustang for the first time. 2023 champion Julian Fameliaris (Lube-Net / Di Matteo Racing Chevrolet Corvette) ended the day in third ahead of stablemate Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries / NHR Mining Jaguar XKR). Auke Campaan led the way in the GT2 class, but mechanical problems with his Hurricane Motorsport Ford Mustang brought his racing weekend to a premature conclusion.
It was slightly different in Saturday morning’s qualifying session, where Fameliaris grabbed pole position from Adlem. Lombard and di Matteo filled the second row, with Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Falcon) and Sam Dahl (ArcProTech Ltd Ford Falcon) on the third row. Marius van der Berg, out in the Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina usually piloted by Thomas Reib, lined up in seventh, just ahead of the GT2 pair of Antonie Marx (Reman African Chevrolet Corvette) and Herbst.
In the first race, Fameliaris and Adlem opened up a substantial gap over the rest of the pack, with the newly crowned champion managing to keep the former champion at bay for all ten laps of an enthralling battle. Fameliaris took the win by less than seven-tenths of a second. Behind the leading duo, Lombard was running in a solid third place until gearbox problems saw him stranded on the side of the circuit, allowing Di Matteo to inherit the final podium position after he got past Wilford. Marx claimed the GT2 win and fifth on the road ahead of Dahl and Van der Berg. Herbst ended in eighth and second in GT2.
Shortly before the second heat, a brief shower gave the drivers something extra to think about in terms of car set-up, but, luckily, it had passed by the time they rolled out onto the circuit behind the pace car. Wilford led the pack away from the partially inverted grid, but di Matteo grabbed the lead into the second corner. They were followed by Adlem and Fameliaris, with Lombard, who started at the back of the GT grid, quickly moving up into fifth. Wilford soon suffered a mechanical problem that saw him slow down before he had to retire the car. At the same time, Marx, who had just moved up to fifth place, came to a halt on the exit of turn one, prompting the race officials to deploy the safety car while the marshals cleared the stranded Corvette. By the time the safety car returned to the pit lane, just two laps were left. Adlem got the jump on di Matteo, grabbing the lead into the first turn, while Lombard also got up the inside of Fameliaris. Unfortunately for the new champion, just a couple of corners later, transmission problems saw him coast to a halt. Adlem took a well-received win from Di Matteo and Lombard. Van der Berg took fourth ahead of Herbst, who took the GT2 win. Fameliaris had done enough to be classified in sixth ahead of the final runner Dahl.
Adlem took the top step of the podium from Di Matteo and Van der Berg in the day’s overall standings, while the GT2 class went to Herbst from Marx.
Speaking after the season’s final race, African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager Nicole Jooste said, “The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars drivers delivered a fantastic send-off to the 2023 season and Mackie Adlem. Only a few positions were undecided before the weekend, but they were concluded with nail-biting finishes. African Group Lubricants also want to congratulate the second of our two 2023 Champions, Stever Herbst, who took the GT2 title, something that really looked to be in the balance on Friday afternoon. 2023 was a fantastic year for us and the series. While every driver and crew member deserves a round of applause, the biggest thank you must be extended to our loyal supporters: Those who follow the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars passionately and rely on Mobil 1’s range of products in their vehicles. You make it possible for all of us to entertain you with what we love doing, and like you, we can’t wait for the 2024 season to commence.”
The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars will begin their 2024 season at Zwartkops Raceway on 8 & 9 March 2024.
Mobil 1 V8 Supercars would like to acknowledge and thank African Group Lubricants for making the 2023 season possible.
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of African Group Lubricants
Photography by: James Thomson and Willie Pretorius
MSA Publishes media releases from a host of different sources on our website as a service to the sport. It is not practically possible to vet/approve every release that is published. Some news items and articles are written by correspondents and do not necessarily represent MSA’s views.