Just like the 24Hrs race on the Nürburgring the Spa 24Hrs is epic in every sense of the word. There is so much happening on the track and just as much off the track. Sometimes it is hard to follow the race, especially when you are trackside. My assignment for this event was to follow Edward Sandström in the pitlane and the paddock area. This left me with time to look for other things while he was driving or getting some rest for his next stint.
I was at the track real early on Thursday morning to witness the practice rounds. After I signed in at the media centre located 5 minutes from the track and got my press accreditation sorted, I made may way to the circuit. The Need For Speed by Schubert Motorsport BMW was already in the pitlane ready to go for a few practice laps.
The car looks awesome in person with its white and black livery and black BBS one lug wheels.
But there are more cars and one of them is the Mercedes SLS. This car has the loudest exhaust note on the track and in the pitlane when it is bouncing on the rev limiter.
One of my personal favorites was this Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 built by Reiter Engineering. I loved it not only because of its looks but also because it acted like a flamethrower as you could see in the opening shot.
Later in the afternoon the rest of the Speedhunters crew arrived. It seemed they brought some bad weather with them because it started to rain. It did however provide for a cool backdrop and some moody shots.
When the rain clouds started to disappear the sun came out. I'm pretty proud on how this hot turned out.
The rules regarding walking inside the pitlane were very strict. I wasn't allowed in without wearing a fireproof suit. Luckily Rod brought two suits with him made by Alpinestars. Although they were a bit small I managed to get one on and I was able to get these shots.
On Friday we made a small roadtrip with one of our friends. But I'll save those shots for another post. So after a good night rest we got into the rental car and drove towards the circuit. But we soon hit some heavy traffic that looked like it was going nowhere. So Jonathon got his Iphone out and looked on Google maps for a different route.
We turned around but not before it spotted this Ferrari FF
The route that Jonathan had planned brought us some small back roads but it eventually got us to the circuit.
When we all got settled in the press room I made my way towards the pitbox and saw that the car was up on stands. The crew was busy working out some of the kinks they encountered on Thursday. There wasn't much to see really so I decided to take a look around on the paddock.
The Ferrari FF that I had seen parked alongside the road had made its way onto the paddock. This was the first time I had seen one in real life and I never thought it was that big. Just compare it to the 360 next to it.
After its debut it got a lot of negative comments, but I really liked it. Especially from the rear.
This is the gate to get to access to the inside of the Eau Rouge corner.
On the left bottom corner you see the same access. I took on top of the stairs leading into the press room. In the distance you can see our own BMW Z4 GT3.
I shared the spot with this camera man who was shooting for the televised program.
While making my way back to the paddock area I saw some small die cast shops and took a closer look. I am a sucker for Jägermeister liveried cars so this Kremer Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 was right up my alley.
Below it was this Porsche RUF CTR, but with a price tag of 135 euro it was a bit to much.
More Porsches included this 917/20 "Pink Pig" and the 1970 917 Le mans contender.
Back to the real cars with this Ford GTX1. It is a pretty rare car because only 38 of these were built. It had several upgrades that included the suspension, brakes and an improved supercharger and exhaust system.
Time was quickly ticking away so I returned to the pitbox. The crew had the weather forecast on one of the computers. It showed a lot of rain above Germany, but we were in the clear for the start of the race.
Just before they rolled out the car onto the pre grid I managed to hold the steering wheel and took this shot. I liked the reference to the BMW racing colors on the middle of the steering wheel.
We had to start in the back because we refueled the car when it was not allowed. But Edward will tell you more about this.
One of the Audi R8's sitting pretty on the pre grid.
After shooting some more pictures the marshals blow their whistles signaling it is time to leave the track.
I quickly made my way to La Source. One of my favorite corners besides Eau Rouge. It gives you a good view of the long straight just before they brake for the corner.
Another cool thing about the corner is that some of the cars take the inside line, this means you can get real close to the cars and hear them scrape the splitters on the curbs.
Here is one of the McLarens taking a wider line. The car looked amazing on track but they didn't have much luck during the race.
The Aston Martins really took the inside line, I could almost touch them. Every time they passed and stepped on the gas pedal flames were coming out of the exhaust.
Into the night I mostly walked up and down the pitlane to see what was going on. This McLaren was in for some refueling and a driver change.
And yes the sign saying ‘motorsport is dangerous' when you enter the track isn't there for nothing. This individual got out of the way just in time. The Audi even had to brake to avoid hitting him.
When I got back to the press room to empty my SD cards Larry Chen apparently had fallen to the ground with his earplugs in. I tried to wake him but to no avail, well you can't blame him after a long flight and probably some jetlag.
I didn't have any sleep and when morning came I made my way back to La Source to shoot some glowing calipers.
The SLS was one of the cars that had them glowing the most.
Another shot of the #60 McLaren braking hard.
More flames coming out of the back of the Gallardo. I just loved shooting this car, too bad most of the Lambo's had to retire.
One final Gallardo shot just because I liked it so much.
In the end we finished 2nd place and I walked together with the crew towards the prize ceremony. All I can say is that I got my champagne shower and I loved every bit of it.