IN PICTURES: 2024 Adelaide Motorsport Festival

Formula 1 cars returned to the streets of Adelaide last month for the seventh edition of the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, an event that’s growing in both popularity and stature.

Words & Pictures: Andrew Balfour

As soon as it was confirmed that I’d be working at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, I knew I had to extend my trip down under and attend the Adelaide Motorsport Festival one week earlier in my hometown. I’d been lucky to attend once before, in 2018, before government funding cuts and then the pandemic saw the event go on an extended hiatus. 

With a new premier leading the state (the dynamic Peter Malinauskas) and local motorsport enthusiast Tim Possingham taking over the running of the event, the Adelaide Motorsport Festival finally returned in 2023. The event is now held one week before the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and it’s a fitting curtain-raiser to the main event. 

The new dates have also allowed the organizers to attract bigger names from the world of Formula 1. Honorary local Valtteri Bottas is almost guaranteed to appear these days and this year, he was joined by Gunther Steiner, David Croft, Liam Lawson and 1995 Australian Grand Prix winner, Damon Hill.

Dates have already been confirmed for the 2025 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, which will take place on March 8-9, one week before the 2025 Australian Grand Prix (March 13-16).

Peak Hour of Power

As with previous editions, the 2024 Adelaide Motorsport Festival kicked off with a street party in the centre of the city on Friday night, the highlight of which saw some of the weekend’s star cars drive through the streets of the city.

Mazda 767b

The Adelaide Motorsport Festival doesn’t only celebrate the city’s Formula 1 history. This year’s ‘star car’ was the legendary Mazda 767b, the forerunner of the only rotary-engined winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours. As well as turning heads on track, the Mazda and its Japanese owner, Senji Hoshino, were also popular drawcards in the paddock throughout the weekend. The good news is that it’s already been confirmed that the Mazda 767b will be returning to Adelaide next year.

Valtteri Bottas

For the second year in succession, Finnish F1 ace Valtteri Bottas returned to the Adelaide Motorsport Festival. The ten-time F1 race winner, now driving for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, is a regular visitor to Adelaide. His partner, Felicity Cromwell, is from Adelaide and Bottas has also been promoting the state of South Australia to his large social media following. As well as being interviewed by David Croft on the stage in the Grand Marquee, Bottas also took to the track at the wheel of a Holden VK Commodore Group A touring car from 1988 and also completed some laps in the Leyton House CG891 F1 car from 1989.

Damon Hill, Liam Lawson, David Croft & Guenther Steiner

Arguably the biggest name to have appeared at the festival to date, Damon Hill was the winner of the 1995 Australian Grand Prix (the last on the streets of Adelaide). It was the first time that the retired British champion has returned to Adelaide since that victory, and he recounted plenty of memories of the event during his appearance on the stage in the Grand Marquee, including his infamous coming-together with Michael Schumacher in 1994.

Rising motorsport star Liam Lawson, who made his Formula 1 debut last season deputising for an injured Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri, also found time to be interviewed on the stage in the Grand Marquee between several demonstration runs in a variety of machinery. The Kiwi star got behind the wheel of the Ford SuperVan 4.2, Rodin FZED and Leyton House Porsche 962C over the course of the weekend!

“The Voice of Formula 1”, David Croft was also an enthusiastic and popular attendee at this year’s festival, as was former Haas F1 team boss and Netflix star, Guenther Steiner, who also took a passenger ride on the track alongside James Courtney in a Ford Mustang Supercar.

Adelaide-Era Formula 1 Cars in Action

The organizers assembled an impressive list of Formula 1 machinery for this year’s festival, including several cars that competed (and one that won) on the streets of Adelaide between 1985-1995. As well as the cars we have highlighted below, the F1 entry list this year featured the beautiful Leyton House CG891 (one of Adrian Newey first F1 designs), a locally-based Lola Larrousse LC88 Cosworth from 1988 driven by Brenton Griguol and a pair of Brabham BT58s from the 1989 F1 season.

Benetton B190

Owned and driven by Englishman John Reaks, this was the very same Benetton B190 chassis that won the 1990 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide with Nelson Piquet behind the wheel.

Benetton B193b

Another Adelaide-era Benetton that made the long trip out from its current home in the United Kingdom, the Camel-sponsored Benetton B193b is owned and piloted by Steve Ottavianelli. This chassis was driven by Michael Schumacher during the 1993 Formula 1 season, taking the chequered flag in Portugal.

Arrows A10

Raced by Eddie Cheever during the 1988 Formula 1 season (including at the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide), the Arrows A10b is powered by a 4-cylinder BMW turbocharged engine that was rebadged by the team as Megatron. The Arrows A10 was driven by legendary Australian touring car driver, Craig Lowndes.

Two Wheels

Two-wheeled motorsport was not forgotten at the 2024 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, with an expanded motorbike category featuring a host of legendary machines and motorcycle grand prix winners Chris Vermeulen, Kevin Magee and Daryl Beattie.

Something for Everyone

There really was something for every kind of motorsport fans at this year’s festival, with 18 categories and over 200 cars in action. Popular categories included several featuring Australia’s tin-top touring cars series, including a host of Bathurst 500 winners, legendary rally cars, sports prototypes, exotics and plenty of Ferrari supercars.

Dates are already confirmed for the 2025 Adelaide Motorsport Festival, which will take place on March 8-9, one week before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Expressions of interest are now open for entrants & exhibitors, traders and sponsors. Registrations are also open for volunteers and track officials.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Post

Readers’ Experiences at Suzuka – 2024 Japanese Grand Prix

Trackside at Circuit de Monaco – 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

Adam’s Travel Report – 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

RANKED: The Best Value For Money F1 Races To Attend

Do Formula 1 Circuits Offer Guided Tours?

Trackside at Autodromo Imola – 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Trackside at the Red Bull Ring – 2024 Austrian Grand Prix