Ed Fahey

Adventures – Saloon,Sportscar/GT racing

Photos of the year 2010 Part 2 – Continental Cruising

Posted by Ed Fahey on January 6, 2011

Part 2 of 2 of my personal photos of the year 2010 and the stories that accompany them along with the basic shooting data. Some are photos I like, some are ones others like and some were just lucky shots that worked, and there are plenty of others that I just couldnt fit in! This time its the 2 trips I made to continental Europe for the Le Mans 24 hour race and the Spa 24 hour race. Both were several day excursions to catch each day of action and were most enjoyable.

Le Mans pitlane, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/1600, F3.2,  ISO250

Practice, practice,practice – the Corvette Racing team about to practice driver changes at Le Mans. Its the Thursday before the big race and already the tension is slowly rising, although the guy on the right smiling with the stopwatch lightens it somewhat and the guy to his left with the videocamera raises the tension again, although at that exact moment he was probably the most concerned!

Le Mans qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F4,  ISO1600

Night Moves – GT2 class Porsche 997 negotiating the Esses at Le Mans

The main excitement of long distance endurance racing to me is racing at night, for both the excitement and the sheer speed, it seems even faster at night than in the day

Le Mans qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/80, F10,  ISO2000

The Thrill of the Chase – GT2 class Corvette ZR1 leads unidentified Lola LMP coupe

Night time requires different techniques – The auto focus works harder, will often hunt for a focus point (and miss) and then combined with manually controlling the cameras shutter speed and aperture results in a far more frustrating experiance with a lot more wastage – but when shots come out they are good!

Le Mans Group C qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F9,  ISO320

Racing Lines – Group C qualifying in the rain.

Its rare you can combine two loves – shooting in the rain under cover and Group C! For the qualifying session I was present in 1 of the massive tribunes (grandstands) so a different viewpoint was presented, then in the few moments after the rain had stopped, but the track had yet to fully dry some nice rooster tails and reflections were present. You cant control the weather, so you may aswell use it to your fullest advantage

Le Mans Group C qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F7.1,  ISO320

Les Couleurs – One of the most colourful 962 liveries is enhanced by the damp track conditions.

Im not one to reply on post processing to greatly enhance my images but a little ‘tweak’ here and there often makes a difference. I see and use it as a tool rather than a safety net and often some slight adjustment makes a big difference, as long as the basic colours stay the same and the green grass is green afterwards and not yellow!

Le Mans qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/200, F9,  ISO320

Track Impact – the three most talked about cars of Le Mans 2010 together ontrack at the Ford chicane

Who would win Le Mans 2010? Audi with their R15 TDi plus, Peugeot with their title defending 908 HDi FAP or would anyone care and instead be gawping at the BMW M3 GT2 ‘Art Car’ ? In the end it was Audi who won, after Peugeot failed after breaking one of the cardinal rules of motorsport – ‘If it aint broke, dont fix it’ . The BMW was another retirement.

Le Mans qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/3, F4,  ISO320

Fencing – Racing Box Lola-Judd LMP2 accelerates hard out of Indianapolis on the way to Arnage

Le Mans 2010 was the only event of 2010 where I did not have a media pass. Not one to let this affect me too much, but sometimes you must improvise to get rid of fences. Sometimes though the public areas are raised so you can get a better angle on shots, aslong as you lower the shutter right down to blur out the fence and adjust the aperture to suit. One of my personal favourite shots of 2010

Le Mans qualifying, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/50, F5,  ISO2500

Night chasing – OAK racing LMP2 Pescarolo-Judd leads Racing Box Lola-Judd LMP2 away from Arnage into the night

Another one of my favourites and one that needed patience. With no daylight left and the floodlights at Arnage aimed at the corner itself rather than away, I realisied that the powerful headlights of the cars would be useful to provide lighting for a good photo – but the car behind needed to be reasonably close, took a while but I was happy with the result.

Le Mans warmup, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/160, F4,  ISO250

Arty Farty – The BMW M3 GT2 Art Car – designed by Jeff Koons at Tetre Rouge

Tetre Rouge, just before the Mulsanne straight and 1 of the more common spectator areas at Le Mans. judging by the photographic equipment some people were carrying, more than a few photographers didnt get passes for 2010 either or were not bothered!

Le Mans race, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/200, F4,  ISO400

Into the night – Lola-Aston Martin LMP1 car heads into the falling light during the 24 hour race

Another example of being creative, this and the next shot were taken from the bar that overlooks the pit exit on the start/finish straight

Le Mans race, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/100, F4,  ISO400

Spirit of Speed – racing into the night, but none of these cars would finish the race sadly, but as the sun lows the atmosphere certainly increases

Le Mans race, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/2, F2.8,  ISO400

Hotel Paradiso – 24 hour Nirvana!

Le Mans race, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans,France. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/30, F5.6,  ISO800

The Wee Hours – and the race goes on

Taken at 03.36 at Mulsanne corner, the Corvette at the time was running second in the GT2 class, one of the last photos I took during the darkness, before getting a bit of rest!

FIA GT1World free practice, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F11,  ISO400

The finest corner in the world – Eau Rouge – with my favourite lighting, the sun shining after a light shower, almost a rainbow present!

FIA GT1World free practice, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/100, F4,  ISO250

The sun has dried up the rain now, but its still a little dark after the rain, the lighting though and the cars headlights make for some decent lensflare

FIA GT1World free practice, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F13,  ISO400

Eau Rouge from the opposite side, with a rooster tail – It doesnt get better than this

I could easily fill this post with pages and pages of Eau Rouge phtoos – have a look at my Flickr for plenty of Eau Rouge rain shots

FIA GT2 Europe 24 hours of Spa, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/30, F2.8,  ISO200

An ambience shot I like, I dont take enough of these, its a 2011 resolution!

FIA GT1World qualifying race,formation lap, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/800, F3.2, ISO200

GTR’s forming for battle – formation lap of the qualifying race and some fervent brake and tire warming is in progress.

FIA GT1World qualifying race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/250, F4.5, ISO200

Flaming balls of fire – Its not when a Murcielago flames its when!

My favourite shot of the year. A simple case of waiting for just the right moment and then click! Didnt need to get a second one!

Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo Race 3, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/125, F4.5, ISO200

Crash – running out of braking – or talent?

I know that the combination of 560bhp 4×4 Lamborghini Gallardo SuperTrofeos and some wealthy but mostly amatuer drivers would hit disaster sooner or later, but I was not expecting it to happen right infront of me! One of several lucky shots taken during the Spa weekend

FIA GT1World warmup, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/250, F4, ISO320

Modern cameras dont like the very bright headlights of racecars, so its a case of setup and ensuring you are not looking directly into the headlights

FIA GT1World Championship Race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/800, F4, ISO200

Charge! Well over 14,000bhp is released as the pack races down towards La Source

Not one of my best shots of 2010, but one that gives good memories of a great weekend

FIA GT1World Championship Race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/640, F3.5, ISO200

Getting close at La Source

Another great corner – you can literally reach out and touch the cars as they pass, like Eau Rouge, I could fill the page with La Source pics

FIA GT1World Championship Race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/500, F2.8, ISO200

Nissan pitstop – a fine study of the results of often military like training and precision

The pits are always dangerous – moreso when there is a race on. A pitstop can win or lose the teams race so its best to stand well clear, I stood in the garage for this one and caught the 2 main elements, the tyre changers and the drivers swopping. Only later did I notice Sumo Power GT team boss James Rumsey watching the stop, in the top left of the photo

FIA GT1World Championship Race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/2000, F2.8, ISO200

Celebration! – Frank Kechele celebrates his first GT1 win with one of his team members

Right place and time for this one, despite being in the middle of the ‘scrum’ I stood my ground and was rewarded with this emotional shot

FIA GT1World Championship Race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/1000, F2.8, ISO200

Catch! – Another right time and place shot, was heading back to the media centre and I turned to see this mechanic walking under the podium ready to catch the bottle to continue the celebration, a quick ‘seize the moment and click-click-click’ shot

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70/200 F2.8, 1/400, F6.3, ISO400

Depart de 24 hours – Race start!

Off we go for 24 hours and Im in the small crowd of photographers at Eau Rouge to capture the pack racing up Eau Rouge for the first time, there might be loads of people with the same shot, but sometimes thats good too

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/30, F8, ISO250

Need for Speed – Ford GT entering the Les Combes complex

Had to fit one of my zoom bursts in somewhere, they dont always work out but when they do, they are most satisfying!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/250, F4, ISO250

Lucky Break  – in more ways than one!

The sole Mosler MT900R of the race takes a trip across the gravel at Les Combes, but continues – This is also my luckiest shot of the year, as I was about to change memory cards (with only 2 photos left) and heard the Mosler approach so decided just to click off a shot as it passed – and then into the gravel it goes, and the photo came out better than I expected. It always happens when you least expect it, same as the Trofeo crash seen earlier, you just gotta be ready to act quickly!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/250, F2.8, ISO250

A Dab of Oppo – sideways Lamborghini Gallardo at Bruxelles

Readers of the brilliant Sniff Petrol website will be familiar with A Dab of Oppo – the Gallardo is a bitch and I spanked it! Another lucky shot,heard tyre screeching, turn around and shoot!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/250, F2.8, ISO400

Darkness Descends at Pouhon

The beauty of the summer is that sunset is a slow gradual process, rather than the sudden darkness that arrives in winter. As such you can experiment with lighting. Also a brief shower had enhanced the lighting slightly, just the way I like it!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 70-200 F2.8, 1/100, F2.8, ISO3200

2200 and the darkness has set in so time for some proper after dark stuff before those media shuttles stop running!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/160, F2.8, ISO800

Pitstop at night, not as frantic as a GT1 stop but still plenty to see and not get too close to!

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/1, F2.8, ISO400

Eau Rouge by Night

A self explanatory photo, 0100 and the race is not even at the half way point…

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/30, F2.8, ISO400

Leading pitstop – the leader pits at 0245

German Precision – watching BMW Motorsport performing a pitstop is akin to a finely cherographed dance routine, no mistakes and swiftness

FIA GT Spa 24 hour race, Circuit de Spa-Francochamps, Spa,Belgium. Nikon D300, Sigma 18-50 F2.8, 1/30, F2.8, ISO400

Happy Faces – A job well done for Trackspeed, satisfaction all round!

And so ends the review of 2010, not every shot could be included here but they are all on my Flickr under Le Mans and Spa!

Happy New Year and heres to 2011!

Ed Fahey – January 2011

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