The return of the Adelaide Motorsport Festival this past March 25-26 saw big crowds turn out for the East End Street Party and the Victoria Park Sprint in what was a celebration of all things motorsport.
Amongst the star drivers at the 2023 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, Finnish Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas put on a show, meeting fans and driving both an Alfa Romeo GTV touring car from the Group A era and the 2016 Bathurst 1000-winning Holden VF Commodore V8 Supercar.
Bottas started out in the Alfa Romeo, cutting some fast laps in the Heritage Touring Cars category, despite the wet weather.
After catching up with former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson, Bottas joined commentator Mark Gallagher on stage in the Adelaide Motorsport Festival’s Grand Marquee, answering questions before meeting with fans and signing autographs.
With Bathurst 1000 winners Craig Lowndes and Jonathon Webb providing some guidance, Bottas then drove the Commodore V8 Supercar, entertaining the crowd with some sideways moments!
Another highlight of the event was a Repco demonstration featuring two generations of Brabhams driving Sir Jack Brabham’s Formula 1 championship-winning Brabham BT19. David Brabham and Sam Brabham (Jack’s grandson) both drove the BT19 in a special demonstration - the first time Jack’s descendants have driven the famous open wheeler at the same event.
The BT19 won the 1966 Formula 1 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships in the hands of Jack Brabham, the first time a driver had won the F1 title in a car he built: a feat that’s unlikely to ever be repeated.
In addition to a catch-up with Bottas and Q&A fan session in the Grand Marquee, Stefan Johansson also got behind the wheel of a 1985 Ferrari 156/85 F1 car for a few laps, while other attractions at the 2023 Adelaide Motorsport Festival included the Australian debut of the Rodin FZED track car from New Zealand, the first appearance of a modern IndyCar on the streets of Adelaide and the unveiling of the Airspeeder Mk4 aerial racer that’s been testing in South Australia.
Additionally, Hayden Paddon demonstrated his revolutionary Hyundai Kona EV rally car and Aston Martin's Valhalla hypercar made an appearance, while driver signings, special guest speakers and car launches in the Grand Marquee were also a big hit with the fans.
Ahead of the weekend’s on-track action, the Friday night of the 2023 Adelaide Motorsport Festival saw a parade of cars and bikes head from Victoria Park to East Terrace, using the original Adelaide Grand Prix circuit layout and cheered on by thousands of people. The parade parked up at East Terrace, where the likes of Johansson, Paddon, David Brabham, Craig Lowndes, Tim Slade, Todd Hazelwood and others were introduced and mingled with the crowd.
Expressions of interest for the 2024 Adelaide Motorsport Festival are open now, as are registrations for volunteers and officials. On the latter, organisers advise that places are limited, due to a high percentage of this year’s crew already signing on for 2024.
For expressions of interest in entering and further details on volunteering, go to: adelaidemotorsportfestival.com.au
The 2023 Adelaide Motorsport Festival also saw a new Ambassadors’ Club launched, with the initial inductees made up of this year’s special guests. More motorsport stars will be added in the future, along with an ‘Ambassadors’ Lounge’ trackside hospitality space in 2024.
The 2024 Adelaide Motorsport Festival is scheduled for late March (dates TBC at time of writing). For more details and event updates, go to: adelaidemotorsportfestival.com.au