While the 2023 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars top three positions in the GT Class are wrapped up, the GT2 honours are still at stake this coming weekend (17-18 November) at Zwartkops Raceway in the season finale, which will also be Mackie Adlem’s final outing in the series.
After securing his maiden title in the penultimate round, Julian Fameliaris (Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette) will be one of the favourites in the GT class to finish the season in the commanding form he enjoyed throughout the year. He has won seven of the 14 races in 2023, with at least one win in each round.
Third-placed Thomas Reib will sit the season finale out while recovering from a recent shoulder operation. Effectively, this settles for the runner-up spot for Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR). Although with a 55-point edge, it was all but wrapped up already. With no pressure on him, the six-time consecutive series Champion will look to end his successful career on a high.
Warren Lombard (PepBoys Automotive / Bumper to Bumper Ford Falcon) is in line to equal his best championship finish of fourth place, but he also wants to secure his first race win of 2023. He is eager to establish himself as a 2024 title contender, and finishing off the current season victoriously will give him a psychological edge into the off-season.
Franco di Matteo (Deltec / NHR Mining Jaguar XKR) is only 23 points adrift and could make up a place at the circuit, where he holds a superb record in the series. Di Matteo’s sole victory of the year came in Round 3, and a double-win today will aid his cause to move up a position significantly.
It has been a torrid season by Terry Wilford’s (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Falcon) standards, with sixth place being the best he can hope for in 2023. Despite coming close several times, Wilford has yet to record his first podium of the year. Granted, the year has seen him develop and test two cars, with a 2024 title assault on the cards. However, nothing says “Number 1 contender” quite like finishing a season with a victory.
Sam Dahl (Arcprotech Ford Falcon) is 10 points adrift and will challenge him for sixth place. This will be the third 2023 outing for the Finnish resident, who missed most of the mid-season due to European commitments. However, he has been showing that he is ready to take the fight to those ahead of him.
While Reib will be on the sidelines, it does not mean his Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina will be. Reib’s recovery is pathing the way for a new driver to debut in the series. Marius van der Berg will be taking on the driving duties, having previously tested the car. Although relatively unknown, the word from the team is that Van der Berg is on the pace. He could well cause a few upsets.
This all means that the title focus will shift to the group behind the premier class. The GT2 class will be racing for double points in the season finale to raise the stakes even further.
Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings / PREI Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) has been leading this championship since the first qualifying session, While the likes of Bevan Schwarz (Chevrolet Corvette) and Larry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) provided for early competition, it is Antonie Marx (Reman Africa Chevrolet Corvette) who has emerged as his sole rival heading into the season finale.
While 71 points is a significant advantage, the double-points round leaves the title battle wide open. The pressure will, however, be on Marx to take the maximum points on offer while Herbst can afford to stay clear of trouble and bring the car home.
Auke Compaan (Hurricane Automotive Ford Mustang) will also be back on the grid following a positive few sessions and will look for his maiden 2023 win.
African Group Lubricants
African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager Nicole Jooste looks forward to an exciting weekend at Zwartkops Raceway. “The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars will add plenty of excitement as always. There is still one title to wrap up in the GT2 class. This weekend will also be emotional for us all while we say goodbye to Mackie. He has been a stalwart of the series for years. Most people know him as one of the most talented competitors in South Africa who will always put on a fierce battle, but there is also a softer side to him. Mackie will always lend a helping hand to anyone in the pits, be it a title rival or someone making his debut. Mackie’s attitude towards life, the sport, the series and everyone in the paddock has made him one of the most loved faces associated with African Group Lubricants and Mobil 1.
Saturday’s season finale will form part of the Extreme Festival Grand Finale roster, with two 10-lap races scheduled for 11:55 and 16:00
Spectator tickets can be purchased directly on Saturday at the Zwartkops Raceway entrance gate. The full race programme will be broadcast live on the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube channel.
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 Thompson
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