FIA WEC Austin 20th September 2014 – Blog
We arrived early to get ready for the busy day. It was going to be a very long day. The parking in the media section was getting busier and busier. So to reserve a place we would park the buggy in our place. First on the list was to capture the drivers in the autograph session. The autograph session is open for the fans to see the drivers pick up autographs take photos. This session last for 45 minutes. The grid girls are out in force.
The next stage i have to photograph the pit wall been moved after the Tudor Championship. They have 1 hour for the teams and the wall to be moved away. Track side is 40 degrees and wearing a race suit is very hot work.
Then i prepare for the FIA WEC 6 hour race at the Circuit of the Americas. We have a position on the tower looking right down at the start. I ensure I’m there nice and early, helps we have reserved a spot. But the camera and lens’s take about 15 minutes to defog due to the high humidity.
Before the race they have grid walk
The race starts the track is dry, very high humidity and dark clouds on the horizon. I think it will be a wet race.
The race settles down and then the clouds open and torrential rain pours onto the track. You come prepared but their is a limit to how much you can keep everything dry.
I was waiting for a large group of cars to come round the circuit to catch them coming up the straight in the wet. The opportunity of capturing something interesting was a possibility. You never want to see a car coming off but! Then over the speaker the commentator said that six cars had come off at the corner before the straight. The large group of cars that were coming round the last corner that I wanted to photograph in the wet headed for the pits red flag. Very frustrating I was hoping to get that shot. I headed off in the buggy to see if I could get any action shots of the cars in the gravel. The buggy is not very fast and by the time I got to the incident it had all been cleaned up and the cars towed away. Again very frustrating I seem to be chasing the action. I decided to come dry off, process the images from the start. There was now a delay and the evening was with us. We are now looking at photographing in the dark with light rain.
This brings its problems, higher ISO’s manual focusing as the car lights can be a problem when focusing. All the time trying to keep your gear dry.
The race last for 6 hours and I had to be ready to photograph for the park ferme and the winning cars and drivers of each classification.
The Audi Sport Team – Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1-H won its classification and won the overall race. With the cars parked and the winners from the other classifications all meeting up at the park ferme results in a media scrum. I was allowed to get in close but being aware not to annoy my fellow photographers. John was covering the race finish with the cars and the flag in the image. He managed this with a fisheye and taken on the line with the flag waver. He was then going to photograph the podium head on. I ran up stairs to meet the drivers celebrating.
Lots of hugs and celebrations
Then the trophies for each classification to be awarded to the first, second and third teams of each classification mixed in with champagne celebration. Champagne stings when it gets in your eye.
After all the trophy’s have been handed out and all the champagne had been sprayed we headed off the post-race Press Conference held in the media room. The time is 23:15.
We then have about 2 hours of processing followed by more at the hotel. Managed to get 1:30 hours sleep then we made breakfast for a meeting. Then we headed off to the airport to catch our flights at 16:00.
Richard Washbrooke Photography
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