Adelaide 500: A revving history of Australian motorsport excellence


In the heart of South Australia, the city of Adelaide is gearing up for an adrenaline-packed weekend as the Adelaide 500 roars back into town from the 26th to the 28th of November. This annual extravaganza is a staple in the Australian motorsport calendar and has a rich history, attracting fans from all corners of the country. The event, originally known as the Sensational Adelaide 500, has evolved over the years, showcasing top-notch racing and cementing its status as a beloved fixture on the Supercars Championship circuit.

A Pioneering Spirit

The race traces its roots back to 1999 when it first came into existence. It was then known as the Sensational Adelaide 500, and it was a groundbreaking event for Australian motorsport. This was the first time that a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship (now the Supercars Championship) was held on the streets of a major Australian city. This move brought the high-octane action closer to the fans and made it more accessible than ever before.

The inaugural race was held on a challenging 3.2km street circuit that weaved its way through the heart of Adelaide. It was an immediate hit, drawing large crowds and media attention. Mark Skaife, a legendary figure in Australian motorsport, took home the victory in the first-ever race, and his name would become synonymous with the event.

In 2000, the event underwent a significant change in its layout, moving from the Adelaide Parklands circuit to the Victoria Park Street circuit. This shift brought new challenges for the drivers and fresh excitement for the fans. The Victoria Park circuit was shorter and featured tighter corners, making for more intense and unpredictable racing.

The change in location did not dampen the enthusiasm of the fans, in fact, it only served to enhance the appeal of the event. The Victoria Park circuit became a battleground for some of the greatest drivers in Australian motorsport history. Names like Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, and Mark Skaife would become synonymous with the Adelaide 500 as they claimed victory on the challenging streets of Victoria Park.

Iconic Moments and Famous Winners

Over the years, the Adelaide 500 has provided motorsport fans with a slew of iconic moments and unforgettable victories. Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife both have a remarkable track record at the event, each accumulating multiple wins. Their intense rivalry on the streets of Adelaide became the stuff of legends, creating thrilling moments that will forever be etched in the memories of fans.

The Adelaide 500 also served as a platform for emerging talent. In 2005, a young Will Davison claimed his first-ever Supercars victory in Adelaide, signalling the start of a successful career in motorsport. The event has consistently delivered high-speed drama and nail-biting competition, making it a must-see for both die-hard motorsport enthusiasts and casual fans.

The Covid-19 Pandemic: A Temporary Halt

In 2020, the Adelaide 500 faced an unexpected and unprecedented challenge: the Covid-19 pandemic. As the world grappled with the devastating effects of the virus, the Australian motorsport calendar was not immune to the impact. The event, which was scheduled for its usual March date, had to be postponed due to safety concerns.

However, the organisers and fans were not ones to be easily discouraged. Although the event underwent a temporary hiatus in 2020, there was a collective determination to ensure that the iconic race would return stronger than ever. In the face of adversity, the Adelaide 500 family displayed resilience and optimism, patiently waiting for the day they could hear the engines roar once more.

In 2021, the event made a glorious comeback, albeit with some changes to its traditional format. The March date was replaced with a new November slot, however, this didn’t dampen the excitement. With limited international travel, the 2021 Adelaide 500 was contested solely by domestic drivers, further highlighting the incredible talent pool within Australia’s Supercars Championship. This change brought a unique flavour to the event, and fans were thrilled to see their favourite local drivers compete at such a high level.

The event also introduced a new sprint format, consisting of two 250km races rather than the traditional 500km single race. This change was met with enthusiasm as it injected more unpredictability and excitement into the racing, with pit strategies and driver skills becoming even more crucial.

What to expect in 2023

As the Adelaide 500 gears up for its 2023 edition, anticipation is at an all-time high. The iconic Victoria Park street circuit will once again host the high-speed spectacle, and fans can expect nail-biting duels and fierce competition as the drivers battle it out for supremacy.

As always, the event promises more than just racing. The Adelaide 500 experience includes a wide range of entertainment options, from live music to family-friendly activities making it a fun day out for family and friends.

This year’s event will serve as a celebration of Australian motorsport excellence and tickets are still available online now. If you won’t be able to attend in person, you can still stay up to date on all the action by following all the latest Supercar news on the Australian motorsport news platforms.