Mobil 1 V8 Supercars

Quest for 2023 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars champion to commence at Kyalami

Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit could see the start of the most exciting Mobil 1 V8 Supercars season this coming weekend (23-25 February), with a host of contenders eager to build on the form in which they finished their previous campaign.

Multiple champion Mackie Adlem
Image by Raymond Cornwell

Mackie Adlem (Adlem Automotive Jaguar XKR) will be heading up the field. The reigning champion is searching for his seventh-consecutive title and will look to start his campaign with a victory. Despite taking his most recent title by a convincing margin, 2022’s final rounds, particularly the battle for the runner-up spot, showed that there are a host of motivated challengers eager to overturn his dominance in the series.

Some of those have already solidified their places in Mobil 1 V8 Supercars history. Franco di Matteo (Laude Jaguar XKR) has kept Adlem honest throughout his reign at the top and will be one of the frontrunners in this year’s campaign. The previous outing for the series at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit was a year ago, in the delayed 2021 season finale. On that occasion, Di Matteo started the sole race from pole position, and had it not been for mechanical issues, he could have broken Adlem’s stronghold in the three-way battle for the championship. After holding the early points lead in 2022, he is eager to establish himself at the top and improve his end-of-season third place.

Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) knows about last-round heartbreaks. In 2020, he lost the title in the home stretch. Despite winning the race in the last Kyalami outing, it was not enough for him to clinch the title. Reib, who missed the second round of 2022, was a consistent frontrunner throughout the year and finished the season in fourth place, a position that did not seem likely just a few months prior. He will aim to continue this momentum in the 2023 season opener.

Terry Wilford (Fuchs Lubricants / Schick Ford Mustang) has been a stalwart at the front of the field for years, but the second half of 2022 clearly indicated that we are still to see the best of him. Add to this that Wilford is still the fastest Mobil 1 V8 Supercars driver around the circuit’s current layout, and we could be in for a weekend that will see him emerge as the points leader. Like Di Matteo, the previous outing also saw him struggling with mechanical issues, but he will look to channel his 2019 performance in one of the best lead battles in the series’ history.

However, recent years have seen a host of young drivers entering the series and making their names known as candidates to take the mantle of “Top driver in South Africa’s most powerful series.” Julian Fameliaris (Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette) and Warren Lombard (Bumper To Bumper / PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) clarified their intentions in 2022.

Mobil 1 V8 Supercars at Kyalami
Mobil 1 V8 Supercars in action at Kyalami
Image by Paul Bedford

For Fameliaris, a podium in the last Kyalami outing started a successful run that saw him finish the 2022 season as runner-up. In addition, his three race victories also saw him second to Adlem only in the victory stakes. The youngest driver in the field has steadily moved up the pecking order since his 2019 debut and will head into the Kyalami weekend with a target on his back. The Number-One contender is motivated to finish the opening weekend as the leader on the points table.

Lombard’s sixth place at the end of last season does not begin to explain the mechanical misfortunes that plagued his campaign. On more than one occasion, a sound tyre strategy was marred by something small like a puncture. When he finished, he finished well and went into the mid-season break with a maiden race victory. In 2022, he drew first blood with his maiden pole position, something he will look to repeat at Kyalami, this time following it up with a victory.

Auke Compaan’s (Hurricane Automotive Ford Mustang) mid-season return in 2022 showed some promising results, which he will capitalise on to establish himself as a top contender for the season ahead. Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) also bounced back in the latter stages of 2022 and is eager to move closer to the front runners.

Sam Dahl (ArcProTech Ford Falcon) is eager to start his third season in the series after gradually moving closer to the leaders in 2022. In Round 1, the Finn will not be the sole overseas entrant in the series, and he will be joined by debutant Sten Jarl (Ford Falcon) from Sweden.

2023 also marks the fifth season of the partnership between Mobil 1, African Group Lubricants and V8 Series, managed by SAMCAR. Nicole Jooste, African Group Lubricants Marketing Manager, is as eager as the competitors ahead of the new season. “This coming weekend will mark the first occasion since 2019 that there will be no limitations on spectators at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit; therefore, we are excited to start our new season at South Africa’s most prestigious circuit. We know the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars will deliver a fantastic performance in the build-up to the Kyalami 9 Hour. This series has grown from strength to strength in four years, and 2023 could be even better.”

The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars season opener will form part of the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour, headlined by the second round of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge. The first of the weekend’s two races will occur on Friday at 14:20, with Race 2 scheduled for 09:00 on Saturday. The event promoter will make online and television broadcast information available closer to the weekend.

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