The bad thing about starting a twelve hour race at 10:30 in the morning is the food coma induced lull that blankets the whole circuit after 1pm. The top tier racing teams are fed well. How about some slow roasted barbeque catered in the pit lane, with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and many other southern delicacies? Southern sweet tea? How about finishing your amazing lunch by perusing through baskets filled with candies and cakes of various degrees of amazing deliciousness?
The result of this is a bunch of slow moving, sleepy, glazed, but happy engineers. The smarter teams supply their engineers with much lighter options like cold cut sandwiches or light pasta salads. But when you're given the option of tangy-sweet-and-savory-with-a-hint-of-spice barbeque sauce slathered meat products or a dry turkey sandwich, there really isn't much of a choice, right?
Even I, high on racing gas, and barbeque charcoal, became a victim to the curse of food coma. That Texas sized bratwurst topped with every delectable condiment carved a giant smile for my stomach. But the moment of ingestion was also the moment of regret. Fighting the pangs of heavy food and drowsiness while lugging around camera gear under the midday sun was a battle itself! Long story short; the battle over food coma was won and the capturing the race as much as I could resumed.
Your ears can only handle so much when you're standing this close to all the race cars going full throttle down the straights.
*Note to self in for the Long Beach Grand Prix: ear plugs.
The close action of the GT2 class during the opening stage of the race was quite something to watch. Combine the amazing on-track action to the fantastic and excited yelling of Radio LeMans commentator, John Hindhaugh, and you will be more than just content with your Sebring experience.
Here's the Level 5 Motorsports LMPC prototype car looking good.
BMW was in good form all weekend despite the tech inspection qualifying drama.
Peugeot was also looking very good throughout the whole weekend.
The BMW's 2010 livery has been a rather love/hate relationship with people, I personally love it.
Walking around the
pits during the mid-day heat, there were engineers lounging about, chatting with their teammates or even other team's engineers. Others were trying to pass the time the best they could by finding things to do. Take for example, this Aston Martin team member organizing the team's radio inventory.
For others, there really isn't much to do between pit stops but to just sit around
and enjoy the race as much as they can.
Imagine these guys going back home with their respective significant others asking them what they did at work and the answer being: "Oh, nothing really, me and the guys just sat around all day long on the pit lane with our helmets on. Those darn race cars were too loud again! We couldn't even have a decent conversation all day."
I saw what this top tier French team had for lunch and lounging around is exactly what I'd do if I had their lunch….
I once heard an airline pilot mention that flying a commercial passenger jet is one part very long and relaxing, and two parts very short but extremely terrifying sections: the take off and landings. The same can be said about the engineers of endurance race teams: a lot of long, dull nothing-to-do-but-sit sections and a lot of very short but extremely stressful times when the car comes in to pit.
The crowds that prowled the paddock and adjacent vendor areas were just a small portion of the actual crowds. The majority of the spectators partied it up in a section of the track called "The Zoo." When you add the ingredients of RVs, campers, tents, all day barbequing, all day drinking, and letting your imagination run wild, you might have just a small idea of what actually goes on in that place. The Zoo is really just that –a zoo.
Veteran sports car photographer and fellow Speedhunter, John Brooks, puts on his game face for his over-the-wall excursion to capture BMW's pit stop.
Corvette Racing didn't have the best qualifying results. It was rumored that they sand bagged their cars… their race results proved otherwise. The #3 car finished eighth, and the #4 car finished ninth.
The Falken Tire Porsche overall look really good. Dare I say that it is one of the best looking cars in the GT2 class? But I am under the school of thought that the car NEEDS white wheels instead of the current black wheels. The black just makes the wheels get lost whereas the white would make the car pop out from the field that much more. What do you guys think?
I could not get over just how good the Lola Aston Martin looks and
sounds. Let's hope we see it again at Petit Le Mans with Peugeot and Audi all battling it out!
Just as the sun started to come down, there was an accident which brought out the safety car. This is the moment when the safety car turned and and the flags waved green.
The Lola Aston Martin, 'nuff said.
I trekked out to urn 7 spend with the impeding sunset. Little did I know just how awesome that hairpin corner turned out to be…. There will be a gallery explaining why I think turn 7 is just so awesome very soon.
Last one for this post, I swear.
Darkness turned to day and day started to fade into the night….