Silverstone GT1 Championship 5 June 2011

I am going to digress from my Cuba story briefly, to cover another of this year’s highlights.  Just a few days before the event, my brother-in-law asked whether I would like to go with him to the FIA GT1 Championship at Silverstone.  I’ve been very interested in motor sport since I was a youngster, and that’s a long time!  The background was that he had acquired via his neighbour, invitations from the Nissan teams of SumoPower and JRM for two people to attend on 5th June .  These invitations included a Grid Walk and the temptation was too much to resist.

Back in the mid ’60s I was passionate about all things to do with motor sport.  In fact, I then had aspirations to build a lightweight sprint/hillclimb car of my own.  In those days it was feasible to do this privately.  However, marriage happened and although some progress had been made on the design and build, that project was shelved in the interests of buying our first house.

In those days though, my interest in photography had already begun.  I was shooting with a Petri 7S rangefinder camera and doing my own developing and printing.  This camera always accompanied me to motor sport events, most of which were hillclimbs.  At hillclimbs it was always easy to get close to the action and I achieved some reasonable photos for a beginner.

The challenge was very different at Silverstone, particularly because neither of us had been there before and we did not know our way about.  Good spots for photography seem to be few and far between, with considerable distances needing to be covered.  This made it difficult to catch all the races from a good position and do the pre race Grid Walk.  Couple the logistics, the geography of Silverstone and the selection of optimum shutter speeds to get nice background speed blur and I suppose it was inevitable that I would be making excuses for poor image quality.  Here are a few pictures anyway.

No 4
Mercedes-Benz SLS No 4 in GT3 race at Silverstone
Exiting Pits
BMW Z4 Number 36 leaving the pits in GT3 race at Silverstone

No 14

Ford GT No 14 in GT3 race at Silverstone
The first three images were taken from possibly the best spot we managed to find, at the end of the pits. There were no barriers in the way, but you couldn’t see the cars coming. You really needed to prepare for panning, based on the noise of the approaching cars.

There was always plenty going on in the paddock.

Lamborghini Race Preparation
Lamborghini Race Preparation

We watched the next race for Lamborghinis from the grandstand at the end of the pit straight.  This was also quite a good vantage point.  Here are a couple of images from that race.

No 22

Lamborghini Super Trofeo leaving the pits
Lamborghini Race

Lamborghini Super Trofeo

Time for the preparation for the big race.  During the lunch period there was a GT1 driver autograph session.

GT1 Driver Autographs
GT1 Driver Autographs

After lunch we joined the queue for the GT1 Grid Walk before the big race.  Happily we were promoted to the front of the queue because the two groups in front of us did not have the right grid passes.  There were some benefits from this.

Generally the weather on the day was dry but cool although it did start to rain a little as the GT1 cars were joining the grid.  This did not come to anything though.  During one of the waiting periods before we were released onto the grid I did comment to the young lady leading the Grid Walk that I was feeling a bit cold.  She said she had absolutely no sympathy for me!

Legs
Legs

FIA Chatup
Grid Girl  Chat Up

No 41
Ford GT

Number 21
The SumoPower Nissan GT-R

No 47
Corvette No. 47

After the Grid Walk it took us a while to get to a new vantage point to watch the GT1 race.  It wasn’t much good for photography, demonstrating how careful you need to be planning your day if photography is important.  We still enjoyed the race.

This last image of the graphics on the side of one of the support vehicles appealed to me.  It was taken earlier in the day behind the pits.

Wild Thing Wheels
Wild Thing Wheels

Well that’s it.  It would be great to go again and what we learned from this visit would help avoid making the same mistakes again.  Not bad for a free day out anyway.

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