THE Adelaide 500 is Australia’s largest domestic motorsport event and widely regarded as one of the best touring car races in the world.
Taking place on a shortened version of the former Formula One grand prix circuit, it features some of Australia’s favourite corners, including the Senna Chicane, the deep-braking hairpin at Turn 9 and the now infamous Turn 8 sweeper. The first race was held from 9-11 April 1999 as the Sensational Adelaide 500, and was won by Craig Lowndes from the Mobil Holden Racing Team.
Formula One Heritage
Adelaide hosted Australia's first FIA Formula One World Championship grand prix in 1985.
Adelaide became regarded as the hot spot for one of F1's greatest events, including highlights like:
- Keke Rosberg's win in the inaugural race
- Nigel Mansell's tyre blowing loss of the World Championship in 1986
- The rain-soaked victory of Thierry Boutsen in 1989
- Piquet's victory at the 500th Grand Prix in 1990 in front of former World Champions Fangio, Stewart, Hulme, Hunt and Brabham
- The shortest Grand Prix in history with 14 laps of 'ice-skating' in 1991 with victory to Senna
- The clash between Mansell and Senna taking both men out in 1992 with victory to Berger; Prost's last race in 1993
- The Hill-Schumacher clash in 1994 giving the World Championship to Schumacher and race victory to Mansell
- And the sell-out final Grand Prix in 1995 with victory going to Damon Hill are among the many highlights.
Awards & Recognition
The Adelaide 500 is one of Australia's leading major events and festivals. It was the first race inducted to the Supercars' Hall of Fame in 2005. Among the event's awards are:
- 8x Supercars - Promoter of the Year
- Supercars - Hall of Fame
- Australian Tourism Awards - Major Festivals and Events
4x Gold: 2003/2004, 2005, 2007, 2008
- SA Tourism Awards - Major Festivals and Events
10x Gold: 2001-08, 2011, 2013
3x Silver: 2009, 2010, 2012
- SA Tourism Awards - Hall of Fame
2003 and 2007
Adelaide's Grand Prix heritage has been upheld with the introduction of Supercar racing in 1999 with the original F1 circuit being reduced in length from 3.78 kilometres to its current 3.22-kilometre form following the removal of Stag Corner and Rundle Street straight.
Off-Track Action & Entertainment
Entertainment is paramount at the Adelaide 500.
Another major component of the event is the air displays with top-line military aircraft from the Australian Defence Force.
As a benefit of Adelaide's unique circuit with its combination of near downtown city streets and parkland areas, the atmosphere of the event flows over to adjacent entertainment precincts - when the Adelaide 500 is on, Adelaide becomes a party town with street events and other forms of entertainment, all of course with a motorsport flavour.
Built into the Adelaide 500 are some 90 individual events including a Ladies Day Luncheon, charity luncheons with Supercar drivers, driver autograph sessions, beach and fashion parades, exotic vehicle displays, sideshows, family entertainment and much, much more.
In 2009 over $20 million worth of circuit upgrades, including shade for all grandstand fans and a new pit building.
For the 2014 event 23,133 grandstand seats and 102 corporate facilities were booked, including the Coopers Podium Club - a huge marquee structure erected behind the main Barry Sheene Pit Straight Grandstand, providing high quality seated dining and entertainment.
24 Superscreens were in prime vantage points around the race circuit providing full coverage for spectators in all areas.