Turn 1 (inside turn from Turn One Club, mid-afternoon)
By mid-afternoon started to get hungry so walked over to the Audi Turn One Club for a late lunch and sat in a small Grandstand which was right next to the inside of the apex of Turn 1. This was a great place to be very close to the cars, but taking photos of the cars was very challenging since it was a blind corner. Had no time to see the car coming, just had to push the shutter button when you saw movement and hoped you got a good shot. Also had a narrow range to pan due to several obstacles in the way, and was not the right time of day to photograph since the sun was in the wrong direction. Anyway, after numerous attempts got a shot I liked.
Aston Martin Vantage V8 – GT class, Aston Martin Racing Gulf/Hackett (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/20, 1/160, ISO 100; Inside Turn 1 from Audi Turn One Grandstand)
Turn 6 to 7 straight (mid-afternoon)
After the late lunch walked over to the Turn 6 to 7 straight pass the Driveover Bridge to get some head on and panning shots.
Safety car leading an Audi e-tron quattro and rest of the field (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/8, 1/800, ISO 100; Outside Turn 6 near Driveover Bridge)
HPD ARX-03a HPD – P1 class, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing/Muscle Milk (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/22, 1/100, ISO 100; Outside Turn 6 to 7 straight)
Turn 8 to 9 (mid-afternoon)
Walked down the Turn 6 to 7 straight, then over the Walkover Bridge and through the Green Park camping area to the Fangio Chicane area between Turns 8 and 9. In the afternoon this is a good place to get rear car shots, whilst in the morning its a good place to get front car shots due to the suns direction. Its also a good place to try side panning shots of the cars in the background and blurred trees/branches in the foreground, although didn’t get a chance to take these shots since I needed to be back at the Audi Turn One Club by 5.15 pm for the pit tour.
P1 class cars heading into the Fangio Chicane (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/9, 1/100, ISO 100; Inside of Turn 9)
“Official Pace Car” in the Green Park area (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/7.1, 1/800, ISO 100; Green Park area)
Audi Motorsports Pit Tour (late afternoon)
Took the long walk back to the Audi Turn One Club since I signed up for a pit tour. The pit tour was done in groups of 5 people, and we had to wear fire suits and headphones with wireless communication so we could hear and talk to the tour guide. I think we all couldn’t believe the opportunity we were giving by Audi Motorsports to visit the pits during the race with the chance of seeing a pit stop right before our eyes. We all had smiles on our faces that went from ear to ear. After taking the Golf cart shuttle to the paddock area we met the tour guide at the East Walkover bridge then walked to the pits. The tour guide said to stay close together and to keep an eye out for moving things (literally). When we got to the Audi pits the tour guide took us to the “command center” and described how the race engineers were monitoring the cars and how the next driver (Marcel Fassler) and pit crew were getting ready for the R18 e-tron quattro number 2 pit stop. We saw several familiar faces including Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsports) and race engineers Leena Gade and Howden “H” Haynes. For the pit stop we were able to stand right next to the concrete barrier which the pit crew jumps over to service the car. The tour guide told us “not to cross over the concrete barrier” since it would be a penalty for the team. After a couple of minutes the Audi R18 e-tron quattro number 2 pulled into the pits, driver Benoit Treluyer jumped out, driver Marcel Fassler jumped in, headlights and windshield cleaned, fuel added, tires changed, then the car drove off. All this happened very fast, and it was amazing to see first hand, and to think we were only mere feet from the action. Wow, what an experience. Thanks again Audi Motorsports for this experience of a lifetime …………..
Audi Sport Team Joest command center. Race engineers Leena Gade (seated top right), Howden “H” Haynes (seated lower left) and head of Audi motorsports Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (seated far-background with headphones on) (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/30, ISO 400; Audi pits)
Driver Marcel Fassler waiting for the pit stop (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/40, ISO 100; Audi pits)
Driver Marcel Fassler and pit crew getting ready to jump over the concrete barrier (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/125, ISO 100; Audi pits)
Benoit Treluyer exits car and Marcel Fassler gets ready to enter the car. Pit crew cleaning headlights and windshield (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/60, ISO 100; Audi pits)
Pit crew fueling car and getting ready to change tires (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/100, ISO 100; Audi pits)
Pit crew changing tires (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/125, ISO 100; Audi pits)
Audi R18 e-tron quattro serviced and ready for racing (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/160, ISO 100; Audi pits)
View down pit exit as we walked from the pit area to finish our tour (Canon 5D Mark II, 28mm f/2.8 IS, f/8, 1/400, ISO 100; Pits)
Turns 4 to 5 (inside of turns, night)
After returning from the pit tour to the Audi Turn One Club, changed out of the fire suit and went to the small Grandstand next to Turn 1 to have a bite to eat, then walked to Turns 4 and 5 for some night shots of the cars. This time I used available light from the cars headlights illuminating cars in front of them and/or track lighting for panning to capture a sense of speed with the wheels blurred. Didn’t use the Speedlite since it freezes panning shots with wheels not blurred.
Aston Martin Vantage V8 (GT class, Aston Martin Racing Gulf/Hackett) ahead of a P2 class car (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/2.8, 1/800, ISO 10,000; Inside of Turns 4 to 5)
The distinctive LED headlights of an Audi R18 e-tron quattro – P1 class, Audi Sport Team Joest (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/4, 1/400, ISO 100; Inside of Turns 4 to 5)
Audi R18 e-tron quattro number 1 won P1 class by 7.68 sec from Audi R18 number 2 after 12 hrs racing- P1 class, Audi Sport Team Joest (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/3.2, 1/200, ISO 1000; Inside of Turns 4 to 5)
Turn 6 to 7 Straight
At about 9 pm started walking down the Turn 6 to 7 straight for some rear car shots as they went under the Walkover Bridge. Was hoping to find a place to shoot the cars as they decelerated into the outside of Turn 7 for some glowing brake drum shots, but unfortunately the catch fencing was too high for clear shots. It was getting late, and had about an hour’s drive to the hotel so didn’t stay for the race to finish at 10.30 pm. Hence, headed back to car around 9.30 pm and left the track after a long (over 12 hours) and great day of shooting, and experiences of a lifetime.
BTW, the winners were
- P1 class – Audi Sport Team Joest Number 1 (R18 e-tron quattro)
- P2 class – Level 5 Motorsports Numer 551 (HPD ARX-03B)
- PC class – Mathiasen Motorsports Number 52 (PR1)
- GT class – Compuware Chevrolet Corvette Number 4 won (Corvette C6.R)
- GTC – WeatherTech Number 22 (Porsche 911 GT3)
Media tower overlooking start/finish straight (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/2.8, 1/400, ISO 2500; Outside of Turn 6 to 7 straight)
Walkover Bridge looking towards Turn 7 (Canon 5D Mark III, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, f/2.8, 1/800, ISO 1250; Outside of Turn 6 to 7 straight)