on 26 Nov 2023
The biggest crowd in five years has gone ALL IN and witnessed Supercars rookie driver Matt Payne win his first VAILO Adelaide 500 at South Australia’s infamous street circuit.
An estimated 260,700 people flocked to the event over four days, packing into grandstands, enjoying all the off-track attractions and partying late into the night at the After Race Concerts.
It was the Supercars that they all had first and foremost come to see, however, and for the second year in a row, a rookie driver claimed the Sunday race and the winner’s wreath and trophy.
Payne, from Penrite Racing, was joined on the podium by last year’s winner, Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Broc Feeney, who finished eight seconds behind him in second place.
Payne’s teammate David Reynolds also was able to celebrate with him on the podium by finishing third.
“I was getting halfway through the race and thinking, ‘I think it’s going to happen but I don’t want to say anything too early’,” Payne said.
“It was a long last 10 laps.”
The race conclusion also featured celebrations from 2023 Supercars champion Brodie Kostecki, who completed the now-traditional champion’s burnout in pit straight alongside his trophy that was prominently displayed.
He finished the race in eighth position, while his team CocaCola Racing by Erebus clinched the 2023 Supercars Teams championship.
“It was a tough race for us but I’m stoked to get the Teams championship and the Drivers championship,” he said.
“We’re humbled to be here.”
The weekend crowd was the biggest since 2018. As soon as the chequered flag was flown, fans flocked to the Concert Oval to continue the festivities at the After Race Concert, headlined by Robbie Williams.
Fresh from clinching the Drivers championship on Saturday, Kostecki qualified in pole position during the Top Ten Shootout for the Sunday race, driving 0.03 seconds faster than Payne.
Payne had been fastest in the morning qualifying session and did not want to be beaten twice, making a better start than Kostecki to take the lead on Turn 1.
He never lost it, maintaining a cool head in a safety-car free race.
The only blemish in the racing occurred in pit lane, where cars collided during the pit stops, but no serious damage was caused.
Last year’s Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, who had been in 2023 championship contention until a first-lap crash put him out of the race on Saturday, had another day to forget, suffering problems with his car.
He was forced to retire from his last Supercars race before he moves to the US to race NASCAR next year.
A four-car smash coming out of the chicane at the start of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup race was the biggest accident of the day and secured Callum Hedge the championship, as the other contender for the title Jackson Walls was caught up in the carnage.
South Australian driver Kai Allen clinched the Dunlop Super2 Series championship in an enthusiastic race won by Ryan Wood, who completed a clean sweep of Adelaide races.
It was also a clean sweep of race wins by Aaron Cameron in the S5000 Drivers Championship, holding on as a few drivers crashed behind him.
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters race finished under safety car with South Australian driver and team combination Joel Heinrich for Whiteline Racing leading the way, ensuring the VAILO Adelaide 500 round trophy stays in Adelaide.
The final Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS race was won by the Yasser Shahin/Matt Campbell two-driver team but Liam Talbot did enough to win this year’s championship.
The V8 SuperUtes were racing for glory and the Go Sunny Solar Tradies Cup, which was won by this year’s category champion Aaron Borg.
OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS
The RAAF F-35A Lightning II flyover followed up its awesome passes from Saturday with another fabulous show, causing fans to stop in their tracks for 10 minutes to watch it perform various manoeuvres in the sky above the circuit. It returned a few minutes later to do one last pass timed perfectly with the end of the national anthem.
The HomeStart Family Zone and Golden North Ferris Wheel were full of fans young and old having fun rides and enjoying the festival atmosphere.
The Kindig Custom Car Show trophies were awarded to the display cars competing across three categories.
American TV personalities Dave Kindig and Kevin “Kev Dinggo” Schiele presented their individual favourites as well as specialty awards and overall trophies.
The Show N’ Shine Car of Show award was presented to the Ford XR6 Falcon, the Street Elite Car of Show award to the Holden FB and the Elite Car of Show award to the Ford XY Falcon.
“I’ve been just absolutely dazzled by the warmth and friendships we’ve made here,” Kindig said. “The beautiful countryside, the cars, the race - everything.”
Schiele said the people he had met and the cars he had seen as part of the show had been amazing.
“The passion you guys have for automobiles and racing is second to none,” he said.