2021 IMSA at Watkins Glen International (June 27)

It’s been a busy few weeks and have finally had the chance to post race day at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi with Jonathan Bomarito, Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell won the 6 hour race. Hope you like the photos.

For the 8.00 am warm-up, went back to the outside of Turn 9. This is a great place to photograph the cars as they exit the Heel of The Boot as they are illuminated by the early morning light. The yellow livery of the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R looked brilliant under the morning light (top), as did the #44 Magnus with Archangel Acura NSX GT3 (bottom).

The side-lit #4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R speeding down the Turn 9 to 10 straight.

Even during the warm-up session, the cars were pushing hard, as seen here with the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 only inches behind a prototype car.

The race winning #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi.

The eye-catching red livery of the the #25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE looked brilliant. The top photo is near the start of the Turn 9 to 10 straight, whilst the middle shot is further along the straight. The lower photo is to your left, where it’s possible to get panning shots with a long focal length lens of the cars as they speed down the Chute part of the Boot.

After Warm-up, headed to the pre-race grid walk and saw the rescue helicopter in position.

It was great to see all the spectators ready for the pre-race grid walk.

The pre-race grid walk is a great opportunity to get close to the teams and cars. The #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 (top) and one of its drivers (bottom).

Left the pre-race grid walk early, since needed to cross the Sahlen’s pedestrian bridge and walk along the outside of the track to the top of the Seneca stand at Turn 1 for start shots of the race.

Once arriving at the Seneca stand, walked to the second highest row on the very right-hand side, so could get shots of the pits and front straight over the catch fencing. The teams and IMSA officials were lined up for the National Anthem before the start of the race.

The cars then headed out of there pit boxes for the warm-up laps, led by the DPi class (top), followed by LMP2/LMP3 (second top), GTLM (third top), then the GTDs (bottom). It’s always exciting to see the cars leaving the pits before the race, and makes you appreciate the variety and number of cars that run in these endurance races.

The 10.40 am race start and dive into Turn 1 with the DPi (top two photos) and GTLM (bottom three photos) classes.

Once again the #25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE caught my eye, with its red livery matching the red colored track kerbing. You can also continue to follow the car in your camera’s viewfinder for a panning shot along the start of the Turn 1 to 2 front straight.

Yellow flag, due to an early race incident.

Here’s a wide shot, to give you an idea of the excellent view you have of the pits, front straight and Turn 1.

“I Love NY” with the #24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.

Processed this photo of the #01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi in black and white to emphasize the high catch fencing.

Headed from the Seneca stand in a clock-wise direction down the outside of the Turn 1 and 2 straight until just before the Argetsinger stand where there is a gate which crosses the access road from the outside to the inside of the track. Noticed there is the opportunity for a panning shot as the cars speed past the access road since there is a gap in the track fencing. Started off with shutter speeds of 1/100, then 1/50 of a second. But, soon realized that for this shot to work, you need to set your shutter speed to around 1/10 of second so that the busy background of cars and structures is sufficiently blurred out to prevent distraction from the car being panned. Missed a lot of shots, but managed to get a couple. The #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi.

Continued walking down the hill and found another opening in the catch fencing on the other side of the Argetsinger stand for shots of the cars as they go up the Turn 2 to 3 straight.

Also tried some panning shots of the cars as they sped up this hill to see what type of shot I could get. The #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R (top) and the #25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE (bottom).

By now it was getting pretty hot under the sun, so took a rest break in the shade under the grandstand. After resting, kept walking around the outside of the track and up the hill parallel to the Turn 3 to 4 straight. These race marshall’s had a great view of the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 entering Turn 2.

After getting to the top of the hill walked through the road tunnel that goes under the Back Straight, then went to where I had parked my car so I could drive over to the pedestrian tunnel for getting to the inside of The Boot. Upon exiting the tunnel, looked for some shade so I could work out my plan for shooting the cars. Noticed a cluster of trees to my right, so walked up the hill to stand in the shade from these trees. Ironically, it turned out that this was a good location to shoot the cars as they sped behind the trees next to the track up into Turn 9 at the Heel of The Boot. The #24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.

Continued walking to my right up the hill so I could get shots of the cars as they exited the Chute into Turn 6. The yellow livery of the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R looked brilliant against the red and yellow kerbing.

After photographing the cars inside The Boot, walked back through the pedestrian tunnel. Was planning to go back to the car, but noticed to the left side of the tunnel, how you could see the cars speed up the hill as they leave the Heel into Turn 9. So decided to try to get a shot of the cars. Due to the speed the cars were traveling at, 1/25 of a second was adequate to capture the cars speeding behind the trees. The #5 Mustang Sampling / JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi (top) and #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (bottom).

Once again, had a great time at Watkins Glen International catching up with friends and photographing the race cars. Thanks for spending your time reading the blog.

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