It’s been several months since I’ve photographed a motorsport event, hence, you could imagine how excited I was to attend the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park. Hope you like the photos.
During the evenings leading up to this event, checked my camera gear, charged the batteries and made sure I had everything packed; including wet weather gear, since rain was predicted. Most importantly, made sure I had plenty of Mentos candy, Muesli bars and water; which keeps me going when walking around the track. On Thursday afternoon, left Boston for the two to three hour drive to the hotel I would be staying at in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This is a great location to stay at since it has plenty of options for food and supplies, and is only about a 40 minute drive to Lime Rock Park in Northern Connecticut. For dinner had take-out from a Chinese restaurant; beef, vegetables and white rice. After dinner organized the camera gear I’d be taking to the track; which included two camera bodies, a 500mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 35mm lens, extenders, filters, batteries, memory cards, a monopod etc.
The next day got up around 6.30 am, and after getting myself ready, picked up breakfast from a local fast food chain; bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel, large coffee with milk and sugar, and a couple of donuts (which I justified to myself by saying, “I’ll need the extra energy for carrying all the camera gear and walking I’ll be doing around the race track”). Entered the track at the main entrance, then parked the car in the infield area.
What’s great about the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic are the variety of cars you get to see on track including vintage cars from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), International GT sportscars, Mygale FIA F4 race cars from the Skip Barber Racing School, and of course the Trans Am cars. On track racing is on Friday, Saturday and Monday, with a car show and other off track activities on Sunday. Hence, there are plenty off things to see and do. Also, there are many vantage points to see and photograph the cars from, from the tops of hills to track level, with beautiful mountains in the background.
Left all my camera gear in the car, expect for a camera body with a 35mm lens attached for a walk around the paddock. On my way from the car park to the Midway, saw a beautiful Toyota Supra, whose yellow paintwork stood out under the overcast skies.
Also saw the iconic Panoz Motosports P900 with Lime Rock Park livery.
Another car that drew my attention was this 1983 Porsche 911 SC, complete with a roof rack and storage.
Had a great chat with the owner of a company that rents classic convertibles.
Continued down the hill to the main paddock area where the competitors set-up their garages.
Technical inspection for the SVRA cars.
The #20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang in front of the timing and scoring tower.
Had some time until the on track action started, so walked around the paddock for some photos of the cars as they were being prepared by their teams.
Circled back and around the technical inspection area for shots of more cars in the paddock.
Headed back to the car to pick up all my camera gear, then walked over to the inside of the Backstraight and Uphill parts of the track. On the way saw a lot of cars and campers in the infield spectator area, which was great.
Between 10.05 and 11.05 am, the SVRA and Miata cars hit the track for their first test session. For these sessions, started along the Back Straight, then walked to my left along the track, to the top of the Uphill.
Continued my walk along, then down the side of the Uphill, until I reached the bottom of this part of the track.
Saw a Mygale FIA F4 from the Skip Barber Racing School. Really like the look of this open-wheeler.
Made it to the bottom of the Uphill.
At 11.05 am the first practice session for the International GT started and took some photos of the cars as they sped down No Name Straight.
It still amazes me how panning at a low shutter speed can change the look of an image, as illustrated by the two photos above, the top is at 1/1000 and the bottom photo at 1/10th of a second.
Continued walking along the inside of No Name Straight until I reached the Infield Spectator area in front of the Right Hander, so I could photograph the first TA2 test session at 11.25 am. From this location you get a great view of the cars speeding through the Esses with the paddock or mountains in the background. The #78 DQ/GPX Live Camera/The Tool Shed Chevrolet Camaro and #98 BringBackTheTrades/TimberlandPro Ford Mustang.
As you continue to follow the cars through the Right-hander part of the Esses you can get a colorful shot of the cars as the speed past the billboard in the background. The #5 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro (top) and #98 BringBackTheTrades/TimberlandPro Ford Mustang.
Walked further along the Infield Spectator area for shots of the cars entering the Left-hander. The #9 HP Tuners Ford Mustang leading the #26 Bridgehaul/HPTuners/CopeRaceCars Ford Mustang into this corner.
There are also opportunities for panning shots as the cars enter exit Big Bend and enter the Left Hander. The #48 Big Machine Spiked Vodka Coolers Chevrolet Camaro (top), #38 Hartman Davidson Ford Mustang (middle) and the #77 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro.
At 12.05 pm the SVRA groups and Miata’s started under darkening overcast skies.
At 12.45 pm, the Skip Barber Driving School F4 cars returned for there second practice session. For this session used the 2x extender on the 500mm lens, so I could fill the frame with these cars as much as possible. Once again, took different types of panning shots as the cars entered, went through and left the Esses.
By now was getting really hungry, so walked to the paddock, and saw some cool SVRA cars on my way to the concession stand near the paddock entrance. For lunch had chicken, chips and a bottle of water. When I was eating lunch, it was great to chat with another motorsport photographer that I hadn’t seen for a while.
For the second TA2 practice session at 2.15 pm, headed back to the Esses for shots of the cars, starting at the the Left Hander, then following the cars as they exited the Right Hander. The #16 Waypointe Ford Mustang (top),
The #37 Ketenci Racing Ford Mustang.
Some side panning shots of the #20 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro (top), #05 The Autosport Group Chevrolet Camaro (middle) and #78 DQ/GPX Live Camera/The Tool Shed Chevrolet Camaro.
Exiting the Right Hander with the #30 GHOST Energy/BC Race Cars Ford Mustang.
Into No Name Straight with the #05 The Autosport Group Chevrolet Camaro.
Continued walking to the straight between where the cars exit Big Bend and enter the Left Hander for panning shots of the cars. Noticed some of the cars emitted yellow flames from there exhausts as they decelerated into the next corner. The #0 MMR/FPEC Racing Group Ford Mustang.
The #70 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang.
The #3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang.
The #6 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro taking the outside line.
At 2.45 pm the SVRA Group cars returned to the track for their third test session. Since the skies were getting darker, tried some very slow shutter speed panning shots of the cars crossing paths as they entered and exited the Left Hander, to add “color” to the cars.
Also, managed to get this shot, which I’m not sure how it was done, since I was panning the cars, and the spectators in the hill were not blurred, but the grass beneath them is blurred. Guess “strange things” can happen at very slow shutter speeds.
Continued walking along the inside of the track until I reached Big Bend for the International GT qualifying session at 3.05 pm. First tried a wide panning shot as the cars entered Big Bend with the pond in the foreground to set the scene.
This is a great location to pan the cars, since in one location you can get a variety of shots with different backgrounds.
Decided not to shoot the 3.45 pm SVRA practice session since was getting hunger and needed to sit down somewhere. So, headed back to the paddock, past the upper concession stand area and back to the car.
After recharging by having something to eat and a short nap in the car, grabbed my camera gear and headed back to the track to the Outside Spectator area. From this location you get a great view of the Timing and Scoring Tower and Sam Posey Straight with the mountains in the background.
For the 4.45 pm Skip Barber Racing practice session, decided to focus on getting panning shots of the cars as they sped behind the foliage after the pedestrian bridge at the end of Sam Posey straight. For these shots you have to track the car as it speeds along the straight and follow it under the bridge, then through the foliage. It’s a low percentage shot, and I missed a lot, but when you get the shot, it really gives you a sense of achievement.
The last session of the day was the 5.15 pm TA2 qualifying. Since I was in the same location, tried some panning shots of the Trans Am cars through the tree’s. The #78 DQ/GPX Live Camera/The Tool Shed Chevrolet Camaro and the #5 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
Next turned to my right, for shots of the cars speeding down Sam Posey Straight.
Was looking around for some different shots, so panned the cars as they went around Big Bend (top) and through the Esses (bottom). The #87 3Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang (top) and the #98 BringBackTheTrades/TimberlandPro Ford Mustang (bottom).
As the cars were finishing the session, they would come down the pit lane, then turn right into the paddock, so tried some really slow shutter speeds for panning the cars to see what would happen. Most of the shots didn’t work out, but a couple gave some interesting “waves of color”. The #28 NicTailor/IFS-SLR1/M1Racecars Chevrolet Camaro.
Thanks for spending your time reading this blog. The next blog will be about day 2 at the 2022 Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.