Chasing Race Cars In The LBC
Welcome To Long Beach

What can be said about Long Beach that hasn’t already been mentioned before? Whether it’s because it’s one of the busiest port cities in the world, or because it’s almost always 70 degrees (21C) year round, or even because of Snoop Dogg and Tupac’s origins – people from all around the world know about this famous city. We, as automotive and racing enthusiasts, know Long Beach for its famous Grand Prix.

And seriously, what is more exciting than palm trees, perfect weather, and more than five different racing series zooming around a track that only exists for a week or so out of the entire year?


I haven’t been shooting the LBGP for too long. In fact, this is only my second year. I’d never even attended the race as a kid growing up either. Instead, I was taking piano and karate lessons like all the other young Asian Americans growing up in Los Angeles.


It’s sad knowing that I’ve lived my entire life a mere 26.3 miles away from one the greatest street racing courses in the world.


Luckily, as I got older, my true calling came to me in the form of the sliding motorsport known as drifting. As you guys know, Formula Drift’s season opener is held a week before the GP, using turns 9 through 11. Because I attend FDLB, shooting the GP was bound to happen.


Better late than never, right?


After shooting last year as a LBGP virgin and learning from my mistakes, I took that knowledge and applied it to this year’s race.


So in no particular order, here is a collection of my (and Larry’s) favorite shots from the race weekend.

GT Racing

Going into the weekend, I was most interested in seeing the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge cars battle it out. GT racing is, and will always be, one of my favorite forms of motorsport to watch. The cars are just so cool! I’d like to envision the future me driving a 911 and pretending that I’m capable of doing what these drivers are able to achieve on track. I guess they’re just easier to relate to than open-wheel race cars.


The latest addition to the GTLM class that literally everyone was excited about was the brand new Ferrari Ford GT. I really want to see how the Ford team will progress on their way to Le Mans. As with all new teams and cars, there were issues that had to be sorted out, and the EcoBoost machines were not exempt of them during the weekend.


That said, the #67 car finished 4th in the GTLM class, so I don’t think it’ll be too long before we start seeing these guys on the podium.


I could spend an entire post writing about the Ford GT so let’s move on. That post will be for another day.


Jumping from the SportsCar Championship to the World Challenge is a real change in pace. The Pirelli World Challenge is dominated by Audi, Cadillac, Acura, Nissan, and a few others, whereas the SportsCar Championship is dominated by Chevrolet, Porsche, BMW, and now Ford.


Aside from a few regulations here and there, the two series aren’t too different from each other. In fact, there are some teams like Flying Lizard that will run races in both championships.


Last year’s PWC race might have been one of the worst I’ve witnessed in person. It lasted just under an hour, and in that time the track was green for a mere three laps. This year’s race proved to be way more exciting and clean.


The big drama during the weekend was how the SportsCar Championship race ended for the GTLM class. To get you guys caught up, Tommy Milner, driving the #4 Corvette, was leading in class with two 911s directly behind him. Milner was in line to take the win with only a handful of laps remaining when the #912 911 took an abnormally shallow line into the extremely tight turn 11 and punted Milner, causing him to spin.


This allowed the #911 911 to pass and take the lead and eventually win the class. Larry was able to get this cool little burnout shot as Milner booked it while trying to catch up with only a lap left. He finished 2nd in class behind the 911.


IndyCar seems to always excite the fans. Although these race cars will shatter eardrums, it’s cool seeing them zoom by at over 150mph.


Although it might look like Larry shot this at 1/30th of a second, the photo was actually captured at 1/160th. It definitely goes to show just how fast these machines are – especially on the back straight between turns 8 and 9. The driver of the above car, Simon Pagenaud, actually ended up with the win.


On race day, I got goosebumps hearing the twin-turbocharged V6 weapons take to the streets.


Long Beach is known to be one of the more dangerous circuits on the schedule for all the series that use the track, and for good reason. Walls to the left and walls to the right. Fun.


The uneven and cracked track surface doesn’t help one bit either. These are regularly used public roads after all.


Because of that though, it makes the driving way more exciting to watch, especially when the drivers get their cars mere millimeters away from the walls at ultra high speeds.


How they’re are able to do this lap after lap is beyond me.


What’s great about the track is that, because it’s a street course, it wraps itself around buildings left and right, which provides some amazing vantage points to shoot from. Just take a look at this Chen-pan.

Fun & More Fun

So what happens when you have trucks that are made to resemble RC trucks that are made to resemble real trucks? You get Stadium Super Trucks. SST might be the coolest form of racing I’ve ever seen. These machines are pushing 600hp, are rear-wheel drive, and they jump. I mean, what more do you want?


The crowd went insane for these guys going at it on the street course. They’re pretty much in the air as much as they’re on the ground, sliding through turns on three wheels. I chose not to shoot the SST race last year and now deeply regret that decision. Cool factor: 11/10.


In recent years, drifting has been a part of the Grand Prix in the form of Motegi Racing Super Drift. It’s brought in crowds who would never have come to a Formula Drift event before, and in doing so has definitely helped drifting grow. I also feel like the crowd at Super Drift was a bit more rowdy than the crowd at FD Round 1 the weekend before too. Beach balls, beer, the night sky, and non-stop tire smoke is all it takes.


As much as I love FD Long Beach during the day, a little part of me wants to see what would happen if the round was run at night.


Shooting in the evening definitely changes things and makes otherwise normal shots look cooler than jumping stadium trucks.


I also imagine that the track itself is a little harder to navigate through in the darkness for the drivers.


The panned-out phones in the foreground of this image really add to the whole warp-speed thing Larry was going for.


Well, that’s it from Long Beach. We have a bunch of bonus images that you guys should check out in the chapter below. Excuse the number of panning shots – both Larry and I are going through a panning phase at the moment. Till next time!

Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Cutting Room Floor


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Closed course films

Love the from roof top panning shot Larry. It's bring the picture to life


Amazing photos!! My favorite is the Chen-pan lol. A couple points:
- Ford is putting all their eggs in one basket, gunning for a class win (or even multiple cars on the podium) at Le Mans. In both the Wearhertek, and WEC, the Fords have been off the pace of the competition, as they test the cars, and play the Balance of Performance game. Basically, they're sand bagging right now. I wish them well at Le Mans, but they're going up against some extremely experienced teams, and if things don't pan out, they're off to rough starts in terms of championship points.
- the finish of the IMSA race, with the Corvette being punted off by the Porsche, was vintage Porsche garbage ass dirty racing. Their press releases after the race confirm their arrogance lol. Some say it was payback for the incedent at Sebring...and the fued may continue next round at Leguna Seca.
- PWC GT3 regs are quite a bit different than FIA GTLM/GTE regs. The GTLM cars have no ABS, they have more power, and the rules regarding aero are very different (everyone talks about the Ford....but look at the rear defuser on the Aston Martin in WEC lol). Also, PWC is sprint racing, with no pit stops and no driver changes. IMSA is endurance racing, with full pit stops and driver changes.
- I might be wrong, but I don't think there were any Flying Lizard Porsches in either of the races. The PWC Porsche GT3 cars driven by Pat Long and Michael Lewis are run by Effort Racing, and the two Porsches in the Weathertek GTLM field are run by the Porsche Factory team, and are part of their Le Mans effort. Flying Lizard went through some drama a few years back, and hasn't really been involved in much racing lately.


Louis Yio sir you rapidly stepping up your game. Great shots from both you and Larry!!


Twitch_6 Flying Lizard teamed up with K-PAX in PWC.  K-PAX provides the cars and transportation while Flying Lizard manages the racing.


Turns 9 through 11. Picturing A Porsche with the number 911 on the rear. I smell conspiracy :P hahahhaha


Love the jab at Ferrari! I'm very excited to see the Ford GT in Le Mans again, hope they can bring back the success they had in the 60s.


I wish you guys could attach a photographer to SST for a whole year. Those things are insane and tough as nails. Tyler McQuarrie ended up rolling over and over finally ending up on his wheels So what does he do? KEEP RACING! Simply amazing.


Snoop, yes. Tupac, no. Tupac was from Harlem in New York City. Wrong coast. Depending on one views that sort of thing.


Great shots! I wish I was there for the IMSA race!


Closed course films Thank you!


KS2 Problema Forgive Louis as he is Asian.


PowerTryp I love SST, I just wish there were more teams competing!


Guys I get that you're pushing your boundaries in terms of shutter speed while panning, and experimenting.  But IMO a lot of the panning shots are throw-aways, there's hardly a thing in focus.  One or two here and there are ok, showing the immense speed, but as a whole they are overwhelming in this post.

- armchair photographer QB comment from a dude who hasn't shot 1/10th the amount of motorsports you guys have.


Steve Hayward I hate panning too.


Steve Hayward Agree with this....I like shooting panning shots, but I like more of the car in focus rather than just bits of the car. For normal autoX I shoot I get a ton of pics like that that I just don't process because I just don't think enough of the subject is clear enough.


Twitch_6 The Porsche team has been HELLA pissing me off as of late. These last few years seem to have given Porsche the idea that the only way they can win is by playing dirty, and Corvette Racing is suffering for it. :(


Going to be at Laguna Seca this weekend watching the IMSA guys. Will be really cool seeing the Ford GT in person (you get to walk the paddock all day at Seca too). 
I really like the way that you guys tried to capture as much motion as possible with the panning shots, and it'll be interesting to see if shooting at Laguna will help with the speed issue at all since it's a little more open of a track.


seriousgraphics デルタウイング!?生きとったんかいワレェ!


seriousgraphics これ、結局廃案になったんじゃなかったんですね


tiTn5paVRd83DZ0 レースリザルトを見るとダントツ最下位しかもリタイアという散々な成績です^^;


seriousgraphics キワモノとして、性能を知らしめるために走り続けることに意味がありそうですね☆ ちょっと応援したくなってきた♪


tiTn5paVRd83DZ0 同じクラスの、911・コルベット・新フォードGTを相手に何処までできるか見ものですね~♪


MTDatsun They are definitely the best looking out on the track, but the Porsche flat six sound wins overall.


seriousgraphics 設計上はそれらよりかなり上をいくはず(!)なんですけどね。机上論というやつですね。がんばれ~♪


D1RGE Thank you!


Awesome photos both of you guys! Btw this deserves to be brought up again, the time Larry shot Long Beach using B/W film. Probably one of my favorite Speed Hunter moments.


Did I saw a Corvette C7 Daytona Prototype? That one looks really cool!




Le Mans 2016 GT class racing
V de V endurance series


JeanJarrard I like you.


Larry Chen MTDatsun no V8 love for the C7.R ? The 911 flat 6 has its sound for sure, but the Corvettes sound amazing. Might be a little biased, I worked at PME for a bit, and seeing the cars regularly was a definite perk.


olason Those cars sound good, but they seriously hurt my ears. I can also really feel it in my gut when they pass by, so much bass.


with a driver that is very reliable car that can drive very well


the car was very good 
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