Photos Of The Year 2010>> Jonathan Moore

Photos Of The Year is a difficult topic to tackle. There are two sides to it: photos which I think go some way to living up to the quality expected on Speedhunters, and then photos which sum up *my* year. The former is difficult: subjective to the eyes looking at them and also tough from an editing point of view – something I never enjoy. Which ones to leave in? Which ones to drop? It's difficult enough in the context of writing a story at an event, but at least there's the excuse of the story to let me meander my way through relating the pictorial tale of a day Speedhunting. The latter? Well, easier, but they're not shots for here: I'll save those for next month's theme, describing just what goes in to the job of being a Speedhunters' photographer. So, on with the subjective!

JULY

FIA GT1 round 5 – Spa, Belgium. The #13 Phoenix/Carsport Corvette C6.R throws up a rooster-tail of spray as it drives up the wall of Tarmac that is Eau Rouge.

I found editing shots for this post even more difficult than previous efforts, despite really only covering two things this year: the FIA GT1 World and FIA GT3 European Championships. Only two series, yes, but that still meant 60-odd cars, 32 hours of racing, almost 100 hours of track time and 10 countries – and about 60 days on the road away from home. 

JULY

FIA GT3 round – Paul Ricard, France. An arrowhead of GT3 cars blasts across the line at the start of the first race at Paul Ricard.

Fortunately there were opportunities for the pretty and personal to collide: such as at day-break on a Sunday in Spain. The moon had still been up as I got to the track: the GT1 Warm-Up session had to be delayed until the sun deigned to rise. But, oh! When it did! Living in England, good light at race tracks is the exception – I've always been envious of West Coast snappers and their seemingly unending supply of glorious light – but this year I've had less reason to complain.

OCTOBER

FIA GT1 round 8 – Navarra, Spain. SRT's #4 Nissan GT-R pounds round the track during the early morning Warm-Up session in Spain.

Of course, the majority of the GT rounds were still in Europe – and northern Europe at that. So I've had copious amounts of rain to make the most of. Strangely, I have no problem with proper rain: if the water is lashing down it makes for a magical opportunity for the more hardy. Spa and the Nurburgring were two examples of those conditions; the latter gave particularly amazing possibilities as the weather transitioned from sun to storm. And of course Spa wouldn't be Spa without a drop or two…

JULY

Spa 24 hours – Spa, Belgium. Rain falls on tyres in the pit-lane during a warm-up session.

The first event for me in 2010 was the Dubai 24 Hours, what was a relatively low-level race aimed at the enthusiast but is quickly becoming an event the professional teams utilise as a useful build-up to the main season of racing ahead. With only two weeks to go before I pack my bags for the 2011 running of the event, I can't believe this was a year ago…

JANUARY

Dubai 24 Hours. A GT3 Porsche 911 fires into the first corner at the Dubai Autodrome during practice for the 24 Hours Race.

The race was epic, from both the Speedhunters view and the cars. This was the first race I'd been to where we had a team of Speedhunters on hand: Rod I've worked with for years (and put up with his pretence for the predominantly cheese-flavoured end of the musical spectrum), but I got to witness Will Roegge's video prowess (and great iPod choices – For Whom The Bell Tolls? Epic!), Miki Taka's clapping skills and Rachel Kelly's amazing ability to avoid cameras pointed in her direction.The first of several memorable team encounters.

JANUARY

Dubai 24 Hours. The Team Need For Speed Porsche 911 exits the pits during practice in a blur of light and noise.

JANUARY

Dubai 24 Hours. Silly o'clock in the morning. We're all still up, stumbling around the track, drunk on the noise of the cars and the lack of sleep. Just half way through, maybe? I caught 15 minutes of sleep during a 40-hour stint. 24-hour races are insane things to be a part of. Just excellent fun.

JANUARY

JRM's Evo Warehouse, Rye, England. Although the two GT series took up most of my time, before they kicked off in the Spring I had some time to cover some other stories, such as JRM's mind-blowing collection of Evos sitting in a warehouse down in Rye, collecting dust whilst they wait to be prepared for race and rally customers. 

FEBRUARY

McLaren MP4-12C launch, McLaren Technology Centre, Working, England. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. A collection of priceless historic cars. A Bond-villain-esque headquarters and a supercar that may well change the market. The need for speed is carbon. 

APRIL

FIA GT1 round 1 – Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi. And so the GT1 season kicked off, and what a place to start. The Yas Marina track is like a Scalextric track around a Mathmos lamp factory. The scale model of the circuit in the track offices looked more real than the real thing. 

APRIL

FIA GT1 round 1 – Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi. The Yas Hotel is the focus of the track, its shimmering lights the iconic modern backdrop to the howling GT cars threading their way round, through and under. Two days of racing would be followed by a week stuck in a hotel as I was left stranded by the Icelandic ash cloud. There are far, far worse places to be stranded… 

MAY

FIA GT1 round 2 – Silverstone, England. It's amazing how cheery a circular polariser can make a dull day in Northampton. Whilst I enjoyed myself twiddling my filter, the GT1 mechanics held back the cars as the minutes ticked away to the start of the Pre-Qualifying session. 

MAY

FIA GT1 round 3 – Brno, Czech Republic. Lush green backdrops made possible by the infuriatingly constant drizzle.

MAY

FIA GT1 round 3 – Brno, Czech Republic. Rain or do not rain – there is no try. The Pre-Qualifying session, when it properly chucked it down, was much more fun than the rest of the weekend, which was the most 'meh' of weather possible. I'll admit that being woken up at 4am by the hotel fire alarm did little for my mood, especially as I'd forgone a night out with the GT1 teams to get an early night. It just shows, never pass up the opportunity to have a drink.

JUNE

FIA GT3 round 3 – Jarama, Spain. Jarama was a tight, twisty track just outside Madrid, Spain's capital. Not necessarily the thing you want to be driving a big, long BMW Alpina round, but it was fun to watch them try…

JUNE

Unexpected guests at the Thatched Cottage – Shepton Mallet, England. Another gig I have is at the world-famous Glastonbury music festival, working on the daily newspapers produced on site. I was rather pleased to find this Ford sitting in the car park of the pub I was staying in, though the Land Rover I was driving that weekend was just that little bit more practical.

JULY

FIA GT1 round 4 – Paul Ricard, France. The swathes of blue high-grip run-off continued the theme of the azure skies and seas in the South of France. Another team event, where me, Paddy, Will and Rod descended on Marseilles and maybe had a little bit too much sun. I'm still not sure what I was thinking when I wrote my posts from down there…

JULY

FIA GT1 round 5 – Spa, Belgium. Mad Croc's Corvettes thundered round this most classic of tracks.The rain fell (of course). Eau Rouge looked as impressive as ever. It just goes to show that the old tracks are often the best. 

AUGUST

FIA GT1 round 6 – Nurburgring, Germany. Fire-breathing monsters in the mist… The GT1 Lamborghini Murcielagos were untouchable when it came to flame-throwing, thrown out from the exhausts of the svelte, wedge-shaped missile that is the 670 R-SV.  

AUGUST

FIA GT1 round 6 – Nurburgring, Germany. The Aston Martin DBR9s were 'grand-fathered' in this year, but their howling V12 is still a sound I love hearing. The different sounds of the six GT1 marques is another of the things that have made watching the races so enjoyable.  

AUGUST

FIA GT1 round 6 – Nurburgring, Germany. Although the races weren't taking place on the old 14-mile Green Hell, the location was still impressive enough. The other end of the Ardennes from Spa, the forest background is what gives those tracks their feel.  

AUGUST

FIA GT1 round 6 – Nurburgring, Germany. The sixth round was also where the rule-makers realised things were getting a bit silly on track. What made for crowd-pleasing, wheel-banging action on track made for horrific repair bills after the races. Things had to be calmed down. Looking at the Parc Fermé holding pen afterwards, the surviving cars looked like they'd been in a demolition derby.  

SEPTEMBER

FIA GT3 round 5 – Portimao, Portugal. What was I saying about old tracks? Well, the Portimao track blew that conception out of the water. A two-year-old rollercoaster of a track, close by the sea and with enough crests, climbs and dives to keep drivers and photographers alike happy.

SEPTEMBER

FIA GT3 round 5 – Portimao, Portugal. Being out on track gives you the freedom to roam and discover, but being in the pits gets you to the heart of the action. It's the place where the 20-odd people who aren't the driver win or lose races, and the tension at pit-stops is palpable. 

SEPTEMBER

FIA GT1 round 7 – Portimao, Portugal. Right from the first rounds earlier in the year I was associating colours with tracks: blue with Abu Dhabi, brown with Silverstone (the mud), green with Brno… Portimao was another blue track, the low Autumnal sun bleaching out colours out on track and cooling the shadows. 

SEPTEMBER

FIA GT3 round 5 – Portimao, Portugal. Team Need For Speed's Patrick Soderlund and Edward Sandstrom had swapped their Dubai Porker for a Bavarian Beemer to take on the GT3 season: the car had been strong but results hadn't come: an engine upgrade mid-season and Patrick's new level of confidence was bringing the team up to the front through.

SEPTEMBER

FIA GT3 round 5 – Portimao, Portugal. There were still first-season struggles though, that meant the drivers had to push like crazy – which they did. Edward put in a stunning drive in the first race in Portugal to recover after suffering a puncture that robbed them of a podium. One of many awesome performances.

OCTOBER

FIA GT3 round 6 – Zolder, Belgium. GT3 ended its season back in Belgium, at the old Zolder circuit that threads its way through the sandy forests. There had been a horde of Audi R8s taking part this year, with mixed success despite their aggressive, efficient look. 

OCTOBER

FIA GT3 round 6 – Zolder, Belgium. The GT3 Aston Martins looked barely less aggressive than their GT1 big brothers but like the BMW took till the end of the season to really get into their stride. The Corvettes and Porsches were normally slogging it out for the wins: the former aesthetically not a patch on the GT1 version; the iconic 911 looking great as the drivers threw their back-end heavy cars about – and into each other on occasion. 

OCTOBER

FIA GT3 round 6 – Zolder, Belgium. What better way to finish off a season than with a win? Team NFS put a wrecked Z4 back together after  crash in qualifying – the following morning Edward crossed the line in first to take their first win. I was so happy for the team and drivers: you could see how much it meant to them. 

OCTOBER

FIA GT1 round 8 – Navarra, Spain. The final races of the European leg of the GT1 season took places in Spain after the proposed South African round was cancelled. SRT's Nissan GT-Rs endured a difficult season, scoring hardly any points and just not matching the Sumo Power team next door.  

OCTOBER

FIA GT1 round 8 – Navarra, Spain. Matech's rorty Ford GTs started the season strongly, and I always liked their deep blue livery. However, one typical photographer's gripe: the thin silver stripes either side of the main light blue bands always made it look like the shots were out of focus! I think my eyes are going…

NOVEMBER

FIA GT1 round 9 – Interlagos, Brazil. Was I really in Sao Paulo? The traffic chaos and urban sprawl proved it, and my anticipation of visiting the hallowed Interlagos track was high. I wouldn't be let down. 

NOVEMBER

FIA GT1 round 9 – Interlagos, Brazil. I was following the British Sumo Power team around all this year, and I'd always be willing them on from around the track. The big GT-R looked so tall next to the other more typically European sportscars, but one or other of Sumo's pair of Nissans would normally be in the mix. Interlagos had a unique feel, with the town piled right up to the perimeter wall of the track.

NOVEMBER

FIA GT1 round 9 – Interlagos, Brazil. Parc Fermé. Seeing the cars from above gives you a completely different perspective on the lines of the various marques, particularly how squat the Nissans are compared the ocean-liner lengths of the Maserati MC12s.

NOVEMBER

FIA GT1 round 9 – Interlagos, Brazil. Risking running out into the middle of a live pit-lane for a head-on shot was always nerve-wracking – you have to be keeping your eyes out for other cars coming in, and for nervous mechanics preparing their areas.

DECEMBER

FIA GT1 round 10 – San Luis, Argentina. How many times can you say that you're watching a GT race around a volcanic lake on a mountain? It's an epic track in an epic location – another one to persuade me that maybe new tracks aren't that bad…

DECEMBER

FIA GT1 round 10 – San Luis, Argentina. The season hasn't lacked for variety of locations, and Argentina provide the perfect opposite to the built-up bedlam of Brazil. And I could always find time for some more Lamborghini love.

DECEMBER

FIA GT1 round 10 – San Luis, Argentina. Some liveries worked better than others: silver liveries are always a favourite because of the great reflections you can get, so the Hexis Astons were always a target. 

DECEMBER

FIA GT1 round 10 – San Luis, Argentina. Was this really it? Was the season over? As the cars took off for their final laps of the slippery San Luis circuit, already I was starting to look forward to the next year – I'll be watching all the races even if I don't get to them all! There might not have been the variety of Speedhunting for me this year, but there was an upside: a sense of really getting to *know* a series, to see it up close and fall for the noise and speed on show. There was a t-shirt on sale at Zolder that simply said 'I Love Racing'. I think that pretty much sums it up for me. 

Jonathan Moore

FIA GT1

FIA GT web TV


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