Here is the recipe for this story: Take one UK based sports and touring car photographer, add the ingredient of his killer 500mm camera lens setup, mix with the mayhem of top-calibre Formula Drift action and brew with the ambience of Irwindale Speedway.
What you get from this is drifting as you have never seen it before.
I’ve been a fan of the photographic style of Sportscarpros.com for a few years now and immediately thought of these guys as soon as we started to brainstorm ideas for the Speedhunters project. I wanted to see what would happen if you combine the style of traditional high-end motorsports photography with drifting action. John Brooks mentioned that one of his partners in crime, David Lister, would be in the US around the time of the Irwindale finals early this year and as things would turn out we were able to arrange for him to shoot the event last Saturday.
The results, I’m sure you’ll agree, are quite spectacular.
Ahh the car that had a lot of people talking this year about rules and regulations.
Check the look in Gushi’s eyes as he flashes past the clipping point on the main straight.
This picture really shows the extremes of car control that the drifters exhibit from run to run. On the right is the judging and operations stand where you can see the judges checking out Rhys Millen’s line.
A fantastic composition.
Don’t mess with this man! Henry is the main scrutineer at Formula Drift events and is one of the nicest blokes on the tour. He doesn’t look like it here though!
Personally I love geeking out with Henry about IMSA sports car racing from the 1980s…. this guy really knows his racing history.
There was one small area next to the team spotting stand where you get a view of the cars coming directly at the camera point of view. It’s a fantastic place to shoot and I see that David found this spot too. At the time of this snap Ryuji Miki is preparing to swing the back of the car around to run against the wall under the judging stand…
Line of cars on the pre-grid area waiting for their qualifying runs. You gotta love this style of long lens photography.
Everyone’s favourite crazy Swede: Samuel Hubinette.
Irwindale this year seemed to have twice as much media at the event compared to last. I couldn’t believe just how packed the media meeting was at the start of the day. As a result, the trackside photo areas are getting ever-increasingly crowded. Dave was able to incorporate the plethora of photographers into his shot though.
JR really had an aura of positivity about him all weekend and was able to finally turn this feeling into his first Formula Drift win. Let’s see if he can carry this momentum into the Red Bull event.
Japanese drifters have the best hair of any professional drivers in the world don’t they? Ryuji Miki checks his competion out. In the BG is the famous mad scientist Ron Bergenholtz.
Tyler McQuarrie has a bit of a pensive look to him as during the qualifying session. Unfortunately for him he didn’t qualify.
Hey, tough guy. Forsberg has gone with the bearded look… it’s oh so 2008, isn’t it.
I think David Lister has done a great job here capturing the feeling of a car drifting on the Irwindale banking with this shot.
I was pretty excited to see Orido’s big Lexus in the flesh for the first time. Fantastic machine.
Tanner Foust is really showing he is one of the top drifters around. IMO there are few people in the series who are as consistent as he is. Here we see him get up close and personal with the wall.
The essense of drift action.
Getting back to the hair theme: here is the most stylish man on the Formula D circuis: Daijiro Yoshihara. I swear that his hair looks like this even under his helmet. Dai what is your secret?
Spot the 2nd Speedhunters logo in this picture?
For every fan of drifting you MUST come to watch an event at Irwindale at least once in your life. There simply is no place more spectacular to see professional drift action.
Congrats to Robbie Nishida for winning the Formula Drift “Hard Charger” award at the banquet on Sunday. Go Robbie!
In part 2 of this photo series we’ll look at David Lister’s night photos of the tandem battles.