Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Fameliaris claims maiden Mobil 1 V8 Supercars title at Zwartkops

  • Two GT class wins and a second place ensured Julian Fameliaris claimed the 2023 championship
  • Six-time champion Mackie Adlem handed the number one plate to Fameliaris
  • Steve Herbst retains the GT2 Championship lead
Julian Fameliaris celebrating his title with outgoing Champion Mackie Adlem

Julian Fameliaris claimed his first Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship at the penultimate round of the 2023 season, held at Zwartkops Raceway on 13 and 14 October.

The Lube-Net / Di Matteo Racing Chevrolet Corvette driver won the first two heats from pole position and then followed Mackie Adlem (Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR) — the only man who could stop him from taking the crown — home to second place in the final heat to secure the title. Antonie Marx (Reman African Chevrolet Corvette) and Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings / PREI Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) shared the wins in the GT2 class.

Although Adlem was quickest in Friday’s practice sessions, Fameliaris was confident that his car had the pace to run at the front when the serious business started on Saturday morning. His confidence was not misplaced as he claimed pole position from  Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina),  with Adlem in third. Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Falcon)  ended the qualifying session in fourth ahead of Franco di Matteo (Deltec Batteries / NHR Mining Jaguar XKR) and Warren Lombard, racing a borrowed car as his newly rebuilt Bumper to Bumper Ford Falcon was not ready in time for the event. Herbst headed the GT2 grid from Marx and Andrew Katay (Katay Racing Chevrolet Corvette).

In the opening heat, Fameliaris used his pole position to good advantage and grabbed the lead ahead of Reib and Adlem with Wilford in fourth until a spin dropped him to the back of the pack. Adlem hounded Reib, trying everything he could to get past the Lumina. He did make a move that stuck just before half distance and then set off after Fameliaris. Fameliaris, however, was in no mood to give up as the pair opened a gap to the chasing pack, with Fameliaris hanging on to take the victory. Behind them, Di Matteo found a way past Reib to claim the final podium position. Marx took the GT2 win, crossing the line in fifth place ahead of a recovering Wilford. Herbst ended the race in seventh, with Lombard in eighth after dropping down the field after his car suffered mechanical problems while running with the leaders. Katay retired with engine troubles in his debut race.

Race 2 was similar in that Fameliaris took the lead from the start, but this time, Adlem got past Reib going up to the top of the hill on the opening lap and immediately started pressurising Fameliaris. Reib had Wilford and Di Matteo in his wheel tracks, with Lombard keeping a watch just behind them in sixth until an electrical problem ended Wiford’s race just as they crossed the line to complete the second lap. Reib’s car then developed its own problem, which saw him slowly drop down the field as first Di Matteo and then Lombard worked their way past the ailing Lumina. Meanwhile, at the front, Fameliaris and Adlem ran nose-to-tail and opened up a substantial gap over the chasing pack. Fameliaris was able to hold off Adlem and take his second win of the day. They were followed over the line by di Matteo, Lomard and Reib.

In the GT2 class, Herbst and Marx traded positions early on, but fueling problems slowed Marx and left Herbst to take a comfortable victory.

In the reverse-grid final race, Adlem and Fameliaris lined up alongside each other on the third row, with Wilford and Lombard at the front. It was Wilford who set the early pace while Adlem and Fameliaris worked their way towards the front, a task made slightly easier when Di Matteo’s Jaguar expired after a couple of laps. Adlem finally made it to the front with two laps left to run, with Fameliaris moving up to second a lap later, positions they held until the flag. A last-lap move by Lombard demoted early leader Wilford to fourth ahead of GT2 class winner Marx. Reib nursed his ailing car to sixth, with Herbst seventh on the road and second in GT2.

In the day’s overall standings, Adlem took the win from Fameliaris and Reib, while the GT2 class went to Herbst from Marx.

In a true sportsmanlike gesture, outgoing six-time consecutive Champion Adlem, who announced his retirement from the series following the upcoming season finale, applied the “Number 1” decal to Fameliaris’ Corvette in the paddock following the points confirmation.

Speaking after Fameliaris has wrapped up the championship, African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager Nicole Jooste said, “Congratulations to Julian on your maiden title. Julian’s rise in the series ran parallel with our own. Both African Group Lubricants and Julian joined the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars at the start of 2019. It was a fierce contest today and throughout the season, but it was heartwarming to see the genuine respect and sportsmanship in the paddock. With a very good crowd in attendance, the drivers put on a high-quality performance, similar to the quality the fans enjoy when using Mobil 1 lubricants in their vehicles.”

Although the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars championship has been decided, the competitors have one more outing at Zwartkops Raceway to round off their 2023 season. This takes place on 17 and 18 November and will see the rest of the GT class championship positions decided, while the inaugural GT2 Champion will also be crowned in a double-point affair for the class.

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/

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