2014 Le Mans – Part Two of My Motorsport Photography Year

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle of sports car endurance racing. Everything about this race is amazing, from the large field of cars that participate (55 cars in 2014), length of the race (about 3000 miles after 24 hours), size of the track (about 8.5 miles), and the huge number of spectators that attend (263,000 in 2014). Of course their is the incredible technology in the LMP1 cars from Audi, Porsche, and Toyota. Who could have imagined when Le Mans first started 82 years ago, that we now have turbo-electric-kinetic-energy-recovery-hybrid-all-wheel-drive-carbon-fiber-bodywork cars that are highly efficient and have the endurance and speed to “race” for 24 hours. From a photographers point of view, Le Mans must be experienced, since you have the opportunity to photograph the cars under different lighting, weather, and terrain conditions. You also have plenty of time to “get the shot” and many opportunities to get a variety of photos from the “spectator side of the fence” as shown in this photo story.  Since Le Mans is a special race, I’ve dedicated part two of my motorsport photography year to cover round three of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Hope you like the photos.

2014 Le Mans (Drivers parade)

On the Friday before the race, a Drivers Parade is held through the historic streets of Le Mans. Tens of thousands of people line the streets to see the drivers that compete in this amazing race (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 75mm, f/16, 1/80, ISO 320)

2014 Le Mans (Drivers parade)

Beautiful dances in colorful costumes are also part of the Drivers Parade (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/8000, ISO 400)

2014 Le Mans (Front straight)

From the Ferris Wheel you get a great view of the long front straight leading from the “S” Ford Curves to the right-hander into Dunlop Curves (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 98mm, f/8, 1/8000, ISO 1000)

2014 Le Mans (222A3230)The #81 Ferrari 458 Italia leads the #75 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR out of the “S” Ford Curves (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 98mm, f/13, 1/1000, ISO 1000)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A8456)

From the viewing platform at the front of Stand 23 you can get shots of the cars speeding into the “S” Ford Curves. Here’s Paul-Loup Chatin, Nelson Panciatici, or Oliver Webb in the #36 Signatech Alpine ALPINE A450b – Nissan (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/16, 1/125, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (Ferrari 458 Italia)

Near the lower left side of Stand 23, you can put your lens against the outer fence for shots of the cars speeding down the front straight as they pass a safety car entrance to the track. A Ferrari 458 Italia (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4, 1/100, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (#14 Porsche)At the outside of Virage du Raccordement near the entry to the front straight, there’s an opening in the inner fence for credentialed photographers to shoot through. So pushed my lens up against the outside fence and directed it towards the opening in the inner fence to get low front shots of the cars speeding through Virage du Raccordement chicane. First up is #14 Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, or Marc Lieb in the #14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4.5, 1/1000, ISO 125)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A8351)

Marcel Fassler, André Lotterer, or Benoit Treluyer in the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro which won the race (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4.5, 1/1000, ISO 125)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A9255)

The afternoon sun on the Dunlop Bridge with Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, or Brendon Hartley in #20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 145mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 200)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A8751)

Now for some night time shots. First up is Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, or Kazuki Nakajima in the #7 Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid at the Porsche Curves, shot from the spectator viewing mound above this curve (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4, 1/320, ISO 3200)

2014 Le Mans (At the Esses at night)

Watching the cars speed down the Esses late at night is amazing (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with 1.4x extender III, 280mm, f/4, 1/1000, ISO 2000)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A9567-2)

Its surreal, on the track you have cars racing into the night, and in the spectators area near the Dunlop Stand a rock concert with tens of thousands of people watching (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with 1.4x extender III, 205mm, f/4, 1/320, ISO 3200)

2014 Le Mans (222A4279)The early morning light on the Dunlop Bridge is a sight to behold (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with 1.4x extender III, 280mm, f/16, 1/2000, ISO 1250)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A9688)

As you walk down the hill, you have the opportunity to photograph the cars (albeit with a long lens) speeding down the Esses in the morning light from a spectators vantage point behind the concrete marshals box. Patrick Pilet, Jörg Bergmeister, or Nick Tandy in the #91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4, 1/2000, ISO 500)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A9654)

It must be hard for the drivers to see the track with the morning sun in their eyes. Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander, or Giancarlo Fisichella in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/4.5, 1/2000, ISO 640)

2014 Le Mans (HC7A9808)As you continue further down the hill, you have the opportunity to push your lens against the fence for shots of the cars speeding out of the Esses and into the straight for Tertre Rouge. Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, or Christoffer Nygaard in the #98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, f/5, 1/1000, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (222A4250)

Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, or Brendon Hartley in the #20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid speeding through the Esses in the morning light. Shot taken from the spectator viewing mound on the inside of the track (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with 1.4x extender III, 280mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (222A4497)

Ralph Jüttner (Managing Director) congratulates Marcel Fassler co-driver of the winning #2 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro. Shot from Stand 34 overlooking the Audi pits (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 140mm, f/2.8, 1/1250, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (222A4519)

A “sea of red and white” as the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 E-tron Quattro drives down pit lane to the podium (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250, ISO 100)

2014 Le Mans (222A4557)

Thousands of fans crowd the front straight to help celebrate Audi winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 140mm, f/16, 1/200, ISO 250)

 

This was my forth time in a row to Le Mans, and the race never fails to excite me. Wow, what a race and an experience!!

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