Nurburgring N24 Race – Aston Martin
Just weeks after winning the Design Award for Concept Cars at Villa d´Este Aston Martin´s new V12 Zagato went on the track for recent 24h race at the Nurburgring, one of the toughest endurance races in the world.
This is my fifth consecutive year to officially document the 24h Race exclusively for Aston Martin at the Nurburgring.
Although this years race is a month later in the year (after Le Mans!), the temperature is cold and we experience plenty of rain. As already described in earlier articles, the number of this years (serious) factory team entries is amazing. The big companies like Audi, BMW and Mercedes take Le Mans-like efforts. Probably at least twenty-five cars are going for the overall victory. Here is my small selection of over 6000 images from the event.
How to shoot a 24h Race.
The race starts much earlier with the preparation in the studio, gathering everything you want, more have to bring to the Nurburgring. Compared to other “jobs” it is less predictable and the action is more dynamic. You have to change plans quite often due to circumstances, weather conditions and possible incidents. Plus the 24 Hour Race actually starts on Thursday (Nightpractice) and ends on Sunday evening (Team dinner). So you need more gear for different situations and locations. And you will have weather changes. It is the Eiffel.
To illustrate here are just some of Martin´s FAQ:
Will I sleep during 24hours, and if where?
What gear will I bring to the Pits and Grand Prix Track (and Press Rooms) for daytime and what for night time?
What do I take when going around the track, GP and Nordschleife?
How much carry around and how much store away?
(You can get a locker in the Press room, but a trolly does not fit in there …)
What leave in the car, what take into the pits?
What gear for the night (Quantums, tripod)?
What type of camera bag will I use for the gear (wet/dry conditions)?
What Vehicle will I take?
(Take the Moped around the track with very limited gear capacity or take the car
and get stuck in traffic jam)
How do I get around the track when the rain soaked all the forest roads?
What can I do different from last year, apart from assignment?
What options will any new gear generate?
Make sure to have a check list! Be careful if you change from your usual camera bag! Rain gear is a must, boots too. Bring a torch, or two!
Don´t get hit in the pits! And stay away from the jump at Pflanzgarten (from the road-side).
Finally: Don´t be to optimistic about your gear: For cars they say, that 1 km on the Nordschleife is like 10 km on normal roads. You can apply that rule on the aging of your camera gear to (If you not sit on one spot the whole race, that is).
Working for one team exclusively, the first hours of the actual race have to be business and routine. You try different things in the training and later in the race, but on Saturday it is the Team preparations, the line up for the start with group shots of the drivers and team. Then it’s the start and taking pictures of the first laps at the GP track, because the cars will be very close together (only the first rounds). You have to make as many sure (routine) shots at the beginning in case a car has to retire and to provide the Aston Martin Press Team with pictures for their first Press release. So after first Release and Pit Stop you head off for the Nordschleife, and again get the sure shots first. Then comes the night with some long exposures and action in the pits, maybe some sleep and a long, long Sunday until 4 PM when the race finishes. In between some picture-handing-overs (?) for the releases, some new tries and hopefully no more rain.
In the end, you are tired, you got wet and muddy, maybe damaged some gear (jumped away and ducked down in the mud with cameras when a car hit the armco in front of me at Hocheichen), but you are happy.
And you are already looking forward to the next 24h race to do the pictures you did not get to do and at locations you didn´t get to. This time.