on 31 Oct 2023
The Supercars championship will be decided at the VAILO Adelaide 500, meaning the 2023 event will provide some of the most exciting racing ever seen on the iconic street circuit.
With just 131 points separating the top two contenders and a total of 300 points available, the two races will be make or break. However, there are 23 other drivers who will be out to steal the spotlight – and some of them may be racing for the last time in Adelaide.
Here are 5 key on-track storylines to follow.
KOSTECKI VS VAN GISBERGEN
Coca Cola Racing by Erebus driver Brodie Kostecki leads Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen by 131 points coming into the final round of the 2023 Supercars championship.
Kostecki has been the frontrunner all year but Van Gisbergen has stood at the top of the podium five times in Adelaide and knows what it takes to win.
Will the pressure get to Kostecki? Can Van Gisbergen send off the Supercars chapter of his career in style, as he leaves the series to pursue a career in the US next year?
Whether Kostecki becomes a first-time Supercars champion or Van Gisbergen secures his fourth title, there’s sure to be some epic celebrations after the Sunday race in pit straight.
EREBUS VS RED BULL
Not only are Brodie Kostecki and Shane van Gisbergen sitting 1-2 in the championship but their teammates Will Brown and Broc Feeney are ranked 3-4 in the standings right behind them.
Feeney already has tasted success in Adelaide with Red Bull Ampol Racing, having won the Sunday race and therefore anointed the 2022 VAILO Adelaide 500 champion. Brown, meanwhile, is on the move to a new team in 2024 and will be keen to leave Coca Cola Racing by Erebus on a high note.
The team’s championship also is on the line, with 140 points separating the two, and Coca Cola Racing by Erebus will be desperate to secure their first over their rival that is the most successful team in pit lane.
MUSTANG VS CAMARO
The new Gen3 package has not translated into much success for the Ford Mustang this year, with the blue oval race vehicles winning only four of the 26 races held so far.
After parity changes were implemented on the Ford Mustangs for the last round - also a street race at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast - Mustangs dominated the top of the qualifying sheets and went on to win both races.
Leading Mustang driver Chaz Mostert, from Walkinshaw Andretti United, also knows how to win in Adelaide, having reached the top step of the podium in the Saturday race last year and placed second in the Sunday race.
It will be interesting to see if the Chevrolet Camaro resumes its domination or if the Mustang will end the year with more wins.
TERROR AT TURN 8
Supercars drivers are already concerned about what will occur at the notorious Turn 8 this year, thanks to the different kind of Supercar that they are racing.
They’ve all openly said the Gen3 Supercar – whether it is the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro – is unpredictable and harder for them to drive than the previous Gen2 Supercar.
In a high-speed, fast-flowing corner like Turn 8 - that is already well-known to be a car killer if the driver makes even the most minor mistake – the Gen3 package is particularly tricky to handle.
Expect some hair-raising moments if the drivers get it right - and heartbreak for those who suffer the worst.
FAREWELL TO TWO LOCAL FAVOURITES
South Australian drivers Todd Hazelwood and Scott Pye will both be racing in their final Supercars races as full-time drivers at their home track, as they have been edged out of their current teams for season 2024.
Both drivers have a history of showing fast pace at the Adelaide race track. Pye has twice qualified on the front row and was on for a race win at last year’s event before his car was unluckily taken out by a rival. Hazelwood, meanwhile, appeared in both Top Ten Shootouts in 2022 and won a Super2 race in Adelaide in 2017.
With possibly one last chance to achieve their dreams of winning their home event, the two local favourites will be going ALL IN to make sure this is the year that they succeed.