This weekend (25-27 August) will see the fifth round of the 2023 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship form part of the biggest annual automotive event in South Africa, the Wesbank Festival of Motoring at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
This marks the series’ second appearance on the festival’s roster, having previously been part of the 2019 edition. A repeat outing was scheduled for 2020, but restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic saw the event cancelled. The weekend will also see the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship becoming the only South African motorsport category hosted twice at Midrand’s prestigious race circuit in 2023. In February, the season opener formed part of the extended local curtain-raiser programme for the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour.
However, not just the event’s magnitude will make this such a significant round on the 2023 calendar. Round 5 will carry a double points payout in the GT Class, with three races scheduled on the weekend.
Julian Fameliaris (Lube-Net / Di Matteo Racing Chevrolet Corvette) holds a 40-point lead coming into the weekend, and dominance at the circuit that has proven to be a happy hunting ground for him can aid his aspirations to win his maiden title significantly. Fameliaris has won a race in each round this year and taken three of the four overall wins. Particularly in the latter two rounds, he has made significant comebacks from unfavourable positions and will enter the weekend with an accumulated points tally of 278.
Second-placed Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) has been looking strong throughout the season, despite having to wait for the most recent race in Gqeberha to record his first win of the year. In doing so, he also reminded everyone of his ability to hold onto the lead despite pressure. Known to find his pace early on the weekend, Reib could draw advantage from the weekend’s shortened practice schedule to emerge in pole position on the grid and control things from the front.
Defending six-time consecutive Champion Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR) trails Reib by 18 points and knows that this weekend will be vital in determining his 2023 fate. A similar round just under a year ago took him within a few points of clinching the title. He will need a repeat performance to keep his title hopes alive this time. Adlem’s last race win came four months ago in Round 2, with his other 2023 victory coming from the first race of the year at the same circuit.
Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries / NHR / Di Matteo Racing Jaguar XKR) is a further 11 points adrift but will not compete this weekend as he is abroad. Further back, Warren Lombard (PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) and Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Mustang) will look to bounce back, with 108 and 94 points to their names, respectively. Both drivers were absent from the starting grid in Gqeberha, be it for different reasons. While Lombard’s weekend came to a halt in the second practice session, Wilford missed the trip altogether due to other commitments. Both will be eager for a strong weekend.
Sam Dahl (ArcProtech Ford Falcon) will make his first appearance since the previous Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit visit. His absence was brought on by professional commitments in his home country, Finland, and he is eager to return to the grid.
Another driver who will be back in action for the first time since October 2021 is Ben Morgenrood (Morgenrood Ford & Mazda Ford Mustang). The 2019 edition of the event saw Morgenrood’s contribution to V8 Supercars racing honoured. Since then, he has only competed in the series once but is eager to affirm himself as one of the best in the category.
The GT2 Class will see five entrants this weekend. However, the points payout for competitors in this class will carry the standard weight.
Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings / PREI Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) has 52 points and holds a three-point lead over Bevan Schwarz (Chevrolet Corvette). However, the latter will not be competing this weekend, which will see Herbst heading into the weekend with an even more significant advantage over the host of newcomers to the class.
Larry Wilford (Aurora Bearings Chevrolet Corvette)and Auke Compaan (Hurricane Motorsport Ford Mustang), who started the season in the GT Class, have moved to the GT2 Class for the remainder of 2023.
They will be joined by Antonie Marx (Reman African Chevrolet Corvette), who will compete in his first round since the 2022 season finale. Andrew Katay (Katay Racing Chevrolet Corvette) will make his debut in the series, having purchased JP Nortje’s car.
African Group Lubricants
For the naming rights partner of the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship, African Group Lubricants, the Festival of Motoring will be an important opportunity to promote their range of Mobil products. With many visitors expected at the event, the three races will demonstrate the benefits of choosing Mobil performance lubricants in severe conditions.
However, Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and the Festival of Motoring also played another significant role in the partnership between the race series and the lubricant manufacturer, as African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager Nicole Jooste explains.
“It was at the 2018 edition of the Festival of Motoring that the partnership between African Group Lubricants, the Mobil 1 brand, and the V8 Supercars series was announced. The five years since then have been prosperous for all involved, and together, we look forward to heading up the motorsport part of the event programme for the first time since 2019.”
Friday will see two practice sessions, with the qualifying session scheduled for Saturday morning. The first of three races will take place at 15:30 on Saturday, with Races 2 on 3 at 10:30 and 15:00 on Sunday. Race 1 and 2 will be contested over eight laps, while Race 3 will run over ten laps.
Wesbank Festival of Motoring tickets can be purchased via Howler. There will not be live streaming for this event.
Mobil 1 V8 Supercars would like to acknowledge and thank African Group Lubricants for making the 2023 season possible. Please visit our brand partner at https://aglubricants.co.za/
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of African Group Lubricants
Photography by: Raymond Cornwell, Jason Hanslo and Reynard Gelderblom
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.