2021 IMSA at Watkins Glen International (June 25)

Watkins Glen International (WGI) is a race track I always look forward to visiting, with its varied terrain and elevations, making it a great place to watch and photograph motorsport. Over the next few blogs will describe my photography experiences at this awesome track. Hope you like the photos.

Left Boston around 7.30 am on Thursday. Road trips are a way for me to unwind and catch up on audio books, podcasts and music. Listened to several of my favorite podcasts on F1 racing and outdoor adventures. Not sure why, but really enjoy listening to people’s outdoor adventure experiences, especially alpine mountaineering. Guess it’s something I aspire to do one day, and to photograph. Arrived at the track mid-afternoon and picked up my weekend general admission ticket and infield parking pass. Since WGI is a large track, having an infield parking pass is great, since it allows you to park at different locations, which saves you time and energy. Arrived at the track too late to photograph any on track sessions, so decided to drive around the inside of the track to scout locations to photograph from. This helped me to save time on the following days since it allowed me to start planning my shots and visualize the photographs I’d like to take. It was also a good opportunity to get my bearings again, since its been a while since I’ve been to WGI. After, the “track walk/drive” left WGI to the hotel I was staying at in Watkins Glen.

On Friday, arrived at the track around 7.30 am and parked the car at the infield parking location near the top of the inside of the Boot. Was great to be at a race track again and to see all the people with there campsites set-up.

For the 8.00 am practice one session for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, started photographing from the right side of the marshals stand for shots of the cars as they hit the apex of Turn 9 at the top of the Boot. This is a great place to be with the morning light illuminating the front of the cars. The #83 FASTMD RACING Audi R8 GT4.

The bright orange livery of the #27 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR really stood out in the morning light.

As the session progressed, moved to my left for shots of the cars as they come over the top of the Boot. First went for a wide shot to capture the ambience of this part of the track. Then a tight shot, where I tried to frame the front of the car so it is parallel to me with a clean background. The #71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R (top) and #93 CarBahn with Peregrine Audi R8 GT4 (bottom).

The #54 Michael Johnson Racing Hyundai Veloster N TCR with the characteristic high catch fencing and blue safety railings in the background.

There is also a good opportunity for panning shots as the cars continue into the Turn 9 to 10 straight. The #65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4.

The #64 TeamTGM Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R speeding through the apex of Turn 9.

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars hit the track for their qualifying sessions at 10.00 am. For this session went back to my right for shots of the cars as the hit the apex of Turn 9. Thought the blue livery of the #16 Change Racing would be a good match for the blue safety railings.

Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars looked very stealthy as they raced past you and disappeared under the track safety railing. The #51 Taurino Racing.

Was great to see spectators back at the track in the Boot section.

The #36 Change Racing.

Practice session 2 for the Michelin Pilot Challenge started at 11.30 am, so headed over to the inside of the Inner Loop. A couple of shots of the #65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4.

At 4.40 pm the WeatherTech Championship cars hit the track for practice one. For this session, went to the inside of the Chute that goes into the Boot. The #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi leading other prototypes and GTLM cars down the Chute.

Down the Chute with the Ally Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi.

The backlighting on the cars as they went through Turn 6 looked great. The #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R.

The #24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.

Finished the day with an artsy shot of the #5 Mustang Sampling / JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi. Really enjoyed photographing all the different classes of IMSA cars. Looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks for spending your time reading this blog.

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