I've been a little off the radar these past 3 weeks or so - moving house is a disruptive process! No internet, no desk and no energy. But I've not just been exhausted because I've been moving house and shooting a lot of weddings recently, I also was at this years World Famous 24 Heures Du Mans (or as us English speakers know it; The Le Man 24 Hours). An endurance race of absolutely epic proportions featuring some amazing cars that are pushing engineering to the limits!
Le Mans 24 - A Test Of Endurance For the Spectators Too!
With early starts and late nights on the agenda we were well and truly burning the candle at both ends to consume as much racing as possible in the time that we were there. With what hours we had allocated to sleep being disrupted by the nearby screaming engines of the V8 Engine's of the Corvette's and the V10 Engine's of the Dodge Vipers in particular, we arrived back at Portsmouth in the UK, totally, utterly and completely exhausted on Monday 24th June!
At 3.15 in the morning on the Sunday whilst standing next to the section of the track where the cars exit the pits, Neil Graham suggested: "This isn't just a test of endurance for the cars, the drivers and the pit crews - it's a test of endurance for us spectators too!"
Depsite the exhaustion - we're already planning for the Le Mans 24 for 2014
It's a 24 hour race, why were you there for 4 days?
The festivities for race week actually begin on Monday with campers & spectators flocking to the the town of Le Mans from all over the world to pitch up their tents early and familiarize themselves with the track and the local area (and to generally get very drunk and party!). There are other races, practices and qualifying laps going on throughout the week too, with the climatic event, the actual 24 hour endurance race starting at 3pm (French time) on the Saturday, finishing exactly 24 hours later on the Sunday.
Neil, John, Brian and my brother Andrew and I boarded the overnight Ferry at Portsmouth on Wednesday night and were in Le Mans putting up our tent by lunch time on the Thursday. This gave us nearly two full days to get familiar with the surroundings and practice our panning techniques on the other races before the big event began.
Today I want to share a selection of photographs I made before the actual 24 Hour Race started. Including some shots from the Thursday afternoon Ferrari Challenge cup featuring the Ferrari 458 Italia and some photographs from PIT day. The Pits were open from 10.00am to 8.00pm on the Friday. We were able to walk along the pit lane and to get within touching distance to some of the cars as the pit crew were afforded time to improve their cars and make some last-minute modifications before the grueling race began the next day
Please click the photographs to enjoy them in a larger, light box view:
I hope you enjoyed these photographs. Keep an eye out for part 2 of this blog, where I will be sharing more photographs from race day itself, including the Aston Martin's. Porsche's, Vipers and Corvette's from the LMGTE series, and a whole host of fast cars from the LMP1 & LMP2 category as well. in particular the super-fast Audi R18 eTron!
RIP Allan Simonsen
I would also like to finish this post by paying tribute to Allan Simonsen - the Danish driver of Aston Martin number 95. Unfortunately Allan's Aston Martin left the track at high speed on the Tertre Rouge corner after around 10 minutes into the race, colliding with a barrier. Whilst Allan was attended to almost instantly, it's regrettable that Allan died shortly after due to his injuries.
The winning Audi number 2 team dedicated their victory to Allan. Our thoughts are with his family.