LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between Liverpool FC and Besiktas JK at Anfield on February 19, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The off season is finally over and today the cars will finally take to the Adelaide Parklands Circuit for the long awaited 2017 Clipsal 500.

The Clipsal, as it is often referred to as, has been the season opener since 1999, apart from 2010 and 2011 when the season opened in  Abu Dhabi at the Yas marina Circuit, and has had Clipsal as a title sponsor from 2000. The 2017 event will be the last one to be sponsored by Clipsal, so unless a new title sponsor is found, it will go back to being known as the Adelaide 500.

The reason it is called the ‘500' is that the weekend consists of two 250 kilometre races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday with the winner normally being the driver who takes victory on the Sunday.

The actual circuit is part of the original street circuit used for the Formula One World Championship prior to it moving to Albert Park in 1996 and the V8's used to race in support of the European series, back when it was known as AVESCO (Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company)

The first race held as a championship event instead of a support race, was won by Supercar veteran Craig Lowndes, however he was disqualified from the Saturday race due to an incident with Danny Osborne and forced to start the second race from the back of the grid. Lowndsey being Lowndsey, he passed every car in the field to come through and win the Sunday race as well, and his disqualification from race one was later overturned.

That first race wasn't run the way it is today. Yes, there were two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, however, the Saturday race was stopped at the 250 km mark and restarted the next day from the same place. This meant that any cars that had retired on the Saturday were not allowed to take part on Sunday. As so many retired that first weekend, the rules were changed to make it two complete races instead.

Now all the teams and drivers are chomping at the bit to get going and we will see new faces, new liveries and new teammates galore. So let's bring on the racing guys and gals, we have waited long enough!

Clipsal fast facts:

  • Track name: Adelaide Parklands Circuit
  • Circuit Length: 3.219 km/2.012 miles
    Direction: Clockwise
  • Complete race distance: 2 x 125 km races, 1 x 250 km
    Times the race has been held here: 18
    First GP: 1999, won by Craig Lowndes
    Total number of race laps: 156 (39,39,78)
  • Race lap record: 1:21.0507 – Jamie Whincup – 2012
  • Pole record: 1:20.0319 – Jamie Whincup - 2015
  • Turns: 14
    2016 winner: Nick Percat – overall winner.
  • - Race 1 winner - Jamie Whincup
  • - Race 2 winner – James Courtney
    - Race 3 winner – Nick Percat
  • Most wins - Driver Jamie Whincup – 4
  • Most wins – Team: Holden Racing Team – 7
  • Number of drivers to take back to back wins: 4 – James Courtney, Mark Skaife, Marcus Ambrose, Jamie Whincup
  • Top Speed: 251 km/h
  • Average Speed: 146 km/h
    Fastest point: Adelaide Straight
    Slowest point: Hairpin
    Fast fact: Clipsal 500 winner has gone on to win the championship on 6 occasions (Lowndes, Skaife, Ambrose, Whincup x 3