A week after shooting Formula Drift at Long Beach, the following weekend's ALMS race is like stepping into a completely different world.
The setting might be the same, but the two atmospheres couldn't be any more different. Gone are the on and off track antics of Formula Drift and in its place the established and focused world of pro sports car racing.
That's not to say that one is better than the other, but even after shooting ALMS at Long Beach for three years now, I still feel a bit like an outsider to this world.
The fact the ALMS race is mixed in with the rest of the LBGP events makes things that much more grander. I still get lost getting to and from the media center and finding all the photo entrances to the track.
But once you are trackside and cars come screaming towards you, you feel forget about all that stuff. It's just you, a camera lens, and some of the world's coolest race cars. ALMS racing on the streets of Long Beach is pure spectacle.
As we've mentioned a few times, the sound of ALMS at Long Beach is unreal. Nowhere do things get louder than at the exit of turn eight where the track heads beneath the convention center entrance. Car alarms in the neighboring parking garages were going off for the entire race…
With all of the nooks and crannies on the Long Beach track, I'm still finding new places to shoot from, three years on.
For me, the GT class is without a doubt the highlight of the series. This year brought several new GT entries running the Long Beach street course for the first time. The flat black West Racing Gallardo is one of these, looking positively mean as it comes around the fountain.
It was also cool to lay eyes on the new Ferrari 458 GT cars for the first time. Whether its one of the two Patron cars…
…or the more traditional looking Risi Competizione 458. As with a lot of the GT cars, it's showing some battle scars about about half way through the two-hour race.
These new entries join the more established teams like the pair of Corvettes. Sound-wise, these thumping V8s are still hard to top.
Based on purely on appearances, the M3 GT might be king. It's cars like this that make ALMS so fun to photograph.
Oh yeah, there are a few Porches out there too. Something about the red and silver livery of the Flying Lizard cars makes them from very photogenic and easily picked up by the lens.
The #17 Falken Porsche pulls out of the dangerous turn one on its way to a fourth place finish in the GT class. The teal and blue would be the top finishing Porsche of the race on Saturday. Very impressive!
Even if they haven't been able to gain a competitive edge yet, the Jaguar team adds even more character to the GT field.
With all the passing and bumping going on in the GT Class, and can't but help but feel that I overlook the action in the LMP classes.
The prototypes are still amazing to watch, especially in tight confines of the Long Beach course.
This GTC Porsche is taking the stance movement to a new level…
When looking at the GTC cars, how can you not love the Magnus Racing Porsche with its Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles livery?
On Friday afternoon prior to ALMS qualifying, I had a chance to check out the practice session for the World Challenge series.
With everything from Jettas and Volvos to Porsches and Vipers running at the same time, the racing gets pretty wild here.
Of all the World Challenge cars, I was most excited to see the new CTS-V Coupes with my own eyes. I can say that they are every bit as glorious as they are in photos…
Now, with another race weekend now in the books, the the iconic circuit goes back to being the relaxed streets of downtown Long Beach for the next 11 and a half months.
We have more from Long Beach on the way, including a look at Team Falken's weekend, Tommy Milner's experiences behind the wheel of his 'Vette and even Chris Rado's celebrity race adventures.