September 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
September 1st saw the return of the ALMS to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT. Saturday’s event included the traditional ALMS grid walk followed by an intense two-hour battle around Camden Yards and Baltimore’s Convention Center. Notable results included an overall win for Level 5 Motorsports, a class victory by Michael Marsal and Eric Lux driving the second Dyson Racing entry, an intense GT battle with four different manufacturers represented in the top five places, and a win by Kevin Buckler‘s TRG team in the GTC race.
Street races have lots of catch fencing and sometimes this fencing makes for some interesting foregrounds and backgrounds. Here’s the RLL BMW in Friday morning’s practice session.
The grid walk provides a chance for fans to see the cars close up. The twitterverse said that some lucky fan managed to discharge a car’s fire extinguisher in the moments leading up to the green flag. I didn’t see that incident but I did capture these three images.
Of course, track issues with temporary street courses usually aren’t evident until the cars start practice. Friday’s first set of practices show that the racers could easily catch air when passing over the railroad tracks on Pratt Street. This photo shows the Flying Lizard Porsche with two off the ground.
The hot, muggy conditions on Saturday afternoon coupled with the intense racing meant that drivers were exhausted when their stints were over. Here’s Joey Hand alone in his thoughts in the moments after he exited his RLL BMW.
And, Venezuelan Alex Popow who turned over this CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 to Ryan Dalziel in the class lead. The pair won their class and finished third overall – a remarkable achievement for an entry in the Prototype Challenge class against the much faster P1 and P2 machines.
Of course, street races offer many opportunities for contact as seen in this broken tire-wheel combination following the first lap, first turn incident. The teams in conjunction with ALMS will auction off these types of ‘damaged’ pieces to the fans with the proceeds going to charity.
Watching from the pits offers a different perspective to the race – a more intense, human element as the pit crews follow the progress of their cars and drivers and the team managers plot strategies to ensure that their cars finish in the lead. While the Falken Tire team has struggled this year, Baltimore was a great opportunity for them to repeat as GT winners following victory in the 2011, inaugural race. ALMS GT racing is arguably the best GT racing in the world with multiple manufacturers vying for victory so a GT class win is a huge achievement. Here we see the Falken Tire crew watching the progress of their car near the end of the race. There’s a fair bit of tension as first place is separated from fifth by only a few seconds.
The crowds were big and the rain held off until the checkered flag fell. Baltimore is proving to be a hugely popular event that’s introduced many new fans to the sport and the Falken Tire team achieved a great win against the toughest competition in sports car racing today. Way to go Bryan Sellars and Wolf Henzler, drivers of the #17 Falken Tire Porsche.
July 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The ALMS brought its premier series to Lime Rock Park for the Northeast Grand Prix. Thirty cars spread in five classes battled for almost three hours on a sunny Connecticut summer’s afternoon. The winning HPD ARX-03a of Pickett Racing made up a four lap deficit to claim overall victory. (All Photos and Text © Stephen Minnig 2012)
March 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Enjoy these photos taken at the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. The combined WEC/ALMS field of over 60 entries pounded around Sebring’s concrete runways over the course of a beautiful day and warm evening with an exciting finish in the GT classes with the winner decided during the final lap. Congratulations to Audi for its dominating overall win!
A 10:30 race start means that on-track activity starts shortly after dawn.
60th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida “Be a Sebring HERO” Giveaway – check it out!
March 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Sebring International Raceway is running a really cool promotion as part of its 60th Annivesary celebrations. Check out Sebring’s Facebook page for details. I know that I’m looking forward to being there.
“Six lucky Sebring fans will receive their very own GoPro HD HERO2 Motorsports Edition camera system, along with an LCD BacPac to record their experiences at the 60th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 14-17. After the race, winners will return footage of their Sebring experience to the Raceway so we can share what the 12 Hour is all about with those unable to attend the race in person. To enter, simply ‘Like’ Sebring International Raceway on Facebook then tell us why you deserve your own GoPro Camera. Or, follow @sebringraceway on Twitter, and send us a tweet telling us why you should be selected. Winners MUST pick-up the camera at the track between March 14-17.”
February 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
The event was really exciting with the leading cars in both Grand Am‘s Daytona Prototype and GT classes battling throughout each of the twenty-four hours. The DP class included a bunch of new-for-2012 prototypes and the GT class was opened up to entries from Ferrari and Audi to compete with the ususal Porsches, Bimmers, Camaros, Corvettes, and RX-8s (for an added bonus, GT had a Mustang and a Viper, too) . A big shout-out to Michael Shank Racing for earning first and third places in the DP class and Magnus Racing for their record setting GT class win.
Daytona International Speedway is an outstanding facility. Not only can the whole track be seen from the massive NASCAR grandstands, but the staff gets fans into and around the facility quickly and efficiently. And, for those who tire of the usual track fare, lots of restaurants can be found within easy walking distance of the entrance. With great weather to push away the mid-winter blues, the Rolex 24 is a must-see event for any motorhead.
January 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
January 1, 2012 § Leave a Comment
2011 exceeded all my motorsports photography expectations in any number of ways. Not only did I find my photography improving (I liked what I saw), but the feedback I received suggested that my target audience thought so, too.
First, the statistics. I use three vehicles for reaching my audience: this blog, my Picasa site and my e-commerce SmugMug site. My hope at the beginning of the year was to get 40,000 page views across all three venues and early on I seemed to be on-track for that target. Towards the end of summer, however, traffic took off and I ended the year just shy of 75,000 page views. What surprises me is that this blog gets a couple of dozen views a week even though my updates are infrequent (I think I posted twelve last year).
From a sales perspective, my SmugMug site allowed folks to easily purchase downloads and prints and, as a result, my revenue for 2011 was 300% higher than 2010. The SmugMug site also freed me from running back and forth to the camera store and the post office whenever someone wanted a print. Overall, I think the print quality using Bay Photo via SmugMug was better and more consistent than what I could achieve through my local store and my growing number of repeat customers seems to bear that out.
I also had a number of photos published in a variety of places. Victory Lane magazine used a bunch of photos from different VRG events; VARAC used a couple of my photos in its newsletters. Probably the biggest compliment came from Toyota (of the Netherlands) who picked up a photo I took at Le Mans for their blog. From an event perspective, I hit the usual Vintage Racer Group meets at Summit Point and VIR. I also spent a fun, rainy day at Watkins Glen shooting the VRG event there. I branched out to include the WERA and NESBA motorcycle events at Summit Point. Some of these motorcycle weekends gave me the greatest satisfaction from a photography perspective. In July I returned to Lime Rock for their Photo Workshop, learned some new techniques and tried out some different ideas which seemed to prove successful over the latter part of the season.
Finally, I attended two premier sports car events: the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Both of these were very exciting races with some of the world’s best teams and drivers battling hour after hour under very difficult conditions. I was happy with the photography results from both events, as well as the chance to be there for both in person. So, in hindsight, 2011 was a very good year for me and I look forward to 2012 where I can hopefully attend more events and take this passion to the next level. For all my customers and supporters, thank you very much – I look forward to seeing you in the New Year wherever our paths cross.
I hope to publish a selection of photo favorites from 2011 in the next week or so, so stand by for that.