Sunday, July 3rd, was race day for the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Watkins Glen International (WGI). After 197 laps, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen was won by João Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Covered the grid fan walk and race from the “spectators” side of the fence. Hope you like the photos.
Map credit – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watkins_Glen_International
My wife and I arrived at the track early Sunday morning under beautiful blue skies and parked the car at the infield parking area near the Glen Corral. During our walk to our friend’s camp site, we checked out the different ways people camped at WGI, which ranged from tents, to camper vans, to buses. After meeting up with our friends, we headed to pit lane for the open grid fan walk which started at 9.00 am.
Was great to see a lot of people at the open grid fan walk. #6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Thought the Cruisin Monkey livery on the #33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R looked really cool.
During the fan walk drivers were being interviewed and teams were preparing for the race.
Glamor at the fan walk.
Some of the cars had insulated covers over the cockpit to keep the interior as cool as possible.
One of the drivers getting his photo taken with the lovely WeatherTech promotional girls.
The Stars and Stripes.
Around 9.30 am, left the fan grid walk, then crossed the pedestrian bridge over the front straight, then headed down the outside of the track (drivers left) to the Seneca Grandstand for the race start. Once at the grandstand, found a vantage point at the top of the stairs (on the right side of the stand as you are facing the track) which overlooked the front straight and Turn 1. Arrived in time to get shots of the cars leaving pit lane for the formation lap.
Green flag for the Prototypes and Prototype Challenge cars. Was really cool watching the cars maneuvering for position down the front straight into Turn 1. The race winning #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP can be seen to the right of the photo.
Next up was the GTLM and GTD race start. Ryan Briscoe or Richard Westbrook in the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT leading the GTLM field through Turn 1. The #67 car would go on to win the GTLM class.
“Diving” into Turn 1 with John Potter, Andy Lally, or Dion von Moltke in the #44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3.
After a few more laps, decided to pack up my gear and head off to the next location.
As I was walking from the Seneca to Argetsinger Grandstand, noticed an interesting vantage point of the cars exiting Turn 1, albeit through the catch fencing. Decided to try an “artsy” shot with the catch fencing in focus and the car out of focus in the background.
From the top of the Argetsinger Grandstand you can get shots of the cars speeding into the Turn 2 to 3 uphill straight, then through Turn 3.
Kept walking the outside of the track (drivers left) from Turns 2 to 4, looking for vantage points. Found a location between Turns 3 and 4 on a hill where you can get shots of the cars speeding along the Turn 1 to 2 straight in front of the Seneca Grandstand, then into Turn 2 with the blue guard barriers framing the shot. Really liked the green and orange colored livery on the #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda in honor of the 25th anniversary of this manufacturer’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991.
Continued my walk around the track by heading towards Turn 4, but taking the East Tunnel to get to the inside of the track (drivers right). Found a location where you could get shots of the cars speeding into the uphill Turn 3. Due to the busy background, decided to expose for the race car and overexpose the sky, which resulted in the mesh between the catch fence poles to “disappear”. Also, processing the photo in black and white helped to reduce the distractions in the photo.
Headed down the inside of the track (drivers right) to the Turn 1 to 2 straight in front of the Argetsinger Grandstand. Earl Bamber or Frédéric Makowiecki in the #912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR.
By now was starting to get hungry, so headed up to the food concession stands near the midway for lunch and some rest.
After lunch headed off to the outside of Turn 10 (drivers right) and went up to the top of the grandstand that overlooks this turn for some scenic photos of the track and surrounding areas.
Left the Turn 10 grandstand and walked past the West Tunnel and found a vantage point under some trees on the outside of Turn 9 (drivers right). Here you can watch the cars speeding up the “heel” of The Boot.
Two to three wide through Turn 9.
At Turn 9 you can also get some creative shots with the crash barriers in the foreground. Thought it would be cool to get a shot of a Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R in front of the Chevrolet sign.
John Pew, Oswaldo Negri Jr., or Olivier Pla in the #60 Michael Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Ligier JS P2.
Was fortunate that one of the race fans let me stand on a step ladder, which enabled me to shoot over the crash barriers. João Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the race winning #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Really liked how you could see the dirt and grime on the car from hours of racing.
Alex Popow or Renger van der Zande in the PC class winning #8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09.
Towards the end of the race walked over to the inside of Turn 5 (drivers right). Michael Marsal or Markus Palttala in the #97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 speeding though The Outer Loop.
Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan, or Jeff Segal in the GTD class winning #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.
For the end of the race went to the Inner Loop. This was a difficult shot since you needed to shoot “through” the catch fencing wide open and pre-focus on the track to avoid the cameras AF being distracted by the catch fencing. Managed to get a couple of shots. The #88 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 leading the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT through The Bus Stop.
After covering about three-quarters of the track over six hours of the race, headed back to my friends campsite for some rest and to catch-up with my wife. Had a great time at Watkins Glen International with my wife and friends. Hope to get back here next year, and to spend so extra time exploring the neighboring area lakes and waterfalls.