on 13 Nov 2023
If you haven’t been to the VAILO Adelaide 500 before, you’re sure to be surprised and entertained.
While the event is the final round for Supercars and where the 2023 champion will be decided - with six other support categories also racing on track - there is also something to see or do in all corners of the precinct.
Think of it as a festival, rather than a race meet, that has a strong motorsport and car flavour, but other activities and areas where you can relax or take a break.
Most activities and experiences outlined are included with your ticket to the event.
- IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT CARS
A lot of the activities and attractions revolve around cars but that’s not all there is at the VAILO Adelaide 500.
You’ll be amazed how the Airtime FMX and Xtreme Trials riders can launch their motorbikes up to 15m into the air and perform tricks that defy gravity in the TrAction Zone.
The Boost Mobile Freestyle BMX Invitational is back, but this year the off track event has been sanctioned by AusCycling, which will allow riders to accumulate Olympic Qualification points, as well offering a prize purse of $50,000.
The Invitational will see the likes of international stars including newly crowned BMX World Champion Kieran Reilly (England) and 2022 BMX World Champion Rim Nakamura (Japan), America’s Daniel Sandoval, as well as Australian and four-time XGames medallist Jaie Toohey.
If you’re young – or young at heart – you can put the pedal to the metal yourself by getting behind the wheel of a pedal car at the maii Pedal Circuit. Then head to the HomeStart Family Zone where there are amusement rides including Mega Bounce and the Super Slide to enjoy.
Afterwards, you can all take it easy with a spin on the Golden North Ferris Wheel and soak up the atmosphere and the view of the precinct from the sky.
- THERE’S MORE CARS THAN RACE CARS
The VAILO Adelaide 500 is a motorsport event, so cars do make up a fair number of the activities and attractions, although they are not all race cars.
There are several static car displays to see, such as the MG 100 Year Anniversary display, the Drag Car display and Hot Wheels display. You can get up close to the vehicles and admire the history, the power - and perhaps the novelty!
If you’re a fan of TV show Kindig Customs, you will want to be at the VAILO Adelaide 500 to see American custom car masters Dave Kindig and Kevin Schiele make their first appearances in Australia. They’ll be holding public Q&A sessions and autograph signings to meet with their fans.
The duo will also judge the Kindig Custom Car Show, featuring 20 of Australia’s elite custom-built cars as well as more than 100 other immaculate vehicles entered by car enthusiasts.
But you don’t have to have seen the TV show before to be able to admire the effort that’s been put into all the vehicles, which will all be on display during the event.
- GET UP CLOSE TO RACE CARS AND DRIVERS
Whether it’s the support category race cars or the Supercars themselves, there are many ways to get up close to check out the vehicles – and meet a driver!
All support category cars are housed in the feature paddocks. You can stand right outside their tented pits, just a few steps away from the race cars, and watch as the mechanics work on the cars to make them as fast as they can be. Or, check out the damage to the cars after they’ve hit the circuit’s concrete walls while racing – or other competitors.
You can wander the Supercars Paddock, too, to get an up close look at the V8 race cars. This is the area behind the Supercars pit garages and you’re allowed to look inside and watch the teams prepare and repair the race cars. You can access the paddock for free on Thursday, but you will need to purchase a pass to access it on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday.
The Pit Paddock is a great area to try and catch a Supercars driver and get an autograph and/or a selfie with them.
However, there are dedicated signing times over the weekend when fans can get a signature and have a quick chat with drivers. There’s one on Friday at 3.30pm and another on Sunday at 8.45am, but the drivers also host their own autograph signings at their team merchandise tents at various times over the weekend, so keep a lookout on the boards outside their merchandise tents to see when you need to be back to line up.
You can get even closer to the action, however, by purchasing a Pit Lane Walk pass. Limited tickets are available, but it’s worth snapping one up to be able to stroll down pit lane during your Pit Lane Walk session time and see the teams at work from the front of the pit garages.
- ON-TRACK HIGHLIGHTS
Thursday’s schedule has practice sessions for the Supercars and all the support categories and qualifying for some of them. Friday sees the support category races begin and the two Supercars races are held on Saturday and Sunday.
The support categories include a variety of vehicles, ranging from utes that look like the ones you see on the street and historic race cars from yesteryear to multi-million dollar luxury vehicles and open-wheelers, so there is always something different to see.
In-between the on-track category sessions over the weekend, you can marvel at other activities that are held on the track, such as the antics of the Stuntz Inc drivers in their Hot Wheels cars.
Don’t miss the Top Ten Shootouts at about midday on both Saturday and Sunday. This is when the 10 fastest Supercars drivers from the morning qualifying sessions take to the circuit one at a time. They’ll be going all out to try and clinch pole position by setting the fastest time and are two of the most exciting on-track sessions of the weekend.
- SPOTS TO TAKE A BREAK
With all that motorsport and activity you may need a breather and there are spots that are a bit quieter in terms of noise and crowds where you can sit and relax.
The parts of the circuit alongside Turns 4, 5, 6 and 7 will give you a great view that’s close to the action but are much less crowded, and have lots of shade from the trees. Bring your own folding chair or folding stool or find a spot to sit on the grass.
During the day, the Concert Oval is virtually empty of people so you can watch the on-track action on the Superscreens beside the stage with plenty of space around you on the lawn.
The Heritage Grandstand also is a good place to sit back and take a breath. It’s a little away from the action but you can still see what’s going on from afar.
- FOOD AND DRINK
You can bring into the precinct your own food in backpacks or cooler bags, as well as non-alcoholic drinks in which the manufacturer’s seal on the bottle or carton isn’t broken.
You can also bring an empty bottle and fill it with the free water that is available at various locations around the circuit.
However, many food and drink vendors also will be available on site selling a variety of tucker if you want to treat yourself. Pop-up bars also are positioned at popular vantage points around the circuit so you can sip on an alcoholic drink, catch up with friends and still see the racing.
- WHO WINS?
Saturday’s race is not to be missed as the 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500 marks the first time since 2018 that the Championship battle will be decided in the final round of the Supercars season. Whilst the winner of the first race in Adelaide may not be the overall VAILO Adelaide 500 champion for 2023 – we may see a first time Supercars Champion in Brodie Kostecki for Coca-Colar Racing by Erebus if he can extend his championship lead to Red Bull driver Shane Van Gisbergen.
From the first Adelaide 500 in 1999, the winner of Sunday’s Supercars race is referred to as the champion of the round. It is not the driver who does the best over the two 250km races – it is potentially the driver who finished last or crashed out on Saturday that could end up winning the VAILO Adelaide 500 trophy on Sunday.
With the Supercars Championship title on the line – and being the last race in the Supercars’ season this year – what it means is leaders going all out, drivers redeeming themselves from the Saturday race and others settling rivalries in the final track battle for the year.
Who will cross the finish line first on Sunday and be named the VAILO Adelaide 500 champion? Will we see another first time winner as we did in 2022 in Broc Feeney or is there a chance for a unsuspecting Ford driver to spoil the big year Chevrolet have achieved?
Expect all drivers to go ALL IN on the race track as they aim to etch their name on the highly coveted VAILO Adelaide 500 trophy.
The VAILO Adelaide 500 will be held November 23-26, 2023. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketek with general admission free for kids 12 and under with a paying adult.