Posts Tagged ‘ Grand Prix ’

You’re watching the streets

Posted on: April 16, 2011 | Comments(15) | Flickr, Race Tracks | By: Daniel

Sunrise in Long Beach

Sunrise at Long Beach

My favorite type of track happens to be street circuits. You may disagree and I hope you let me know why. I like urban environments. I like that our drivers are racing around concrete, surrounded by walls, speeding by hotels, restaurants and parking garages. I love that street circuits are unforgiving. And I love that street circuits are usually in pretty cool locations (St. Pete, Long Beach, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Baltimore on this year’s schedule) – not to mention circuits from other Series’ like Monaco, Singapore, Macau, Surfer’s Paradise, Trois Rivieres and more. That atmosphere at these events always feels intense – it must have something to do with the heat, the concrete, the number of fans, the coming together of an event that is defined as temporary. Temporary street circuit.

Circuit Singapore Grand Prix, F1 night race, Formula 1 (www.yoursingapore.com)

F1 in Singapore (from Flickr user YourSingapore)

I also happen to love photography from these events. Where else can you capture palm trees with high speed cars? Drivers using the curbs to bounce into a corner. The colors of the chassis’ illuminated by the reflection of the light. And the sun causing unique shadows. In theory street circuits are unconventional. Photography serves to reveal that. It’s what we’re doing this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Simona de Silvestro

Wasn't kidding about the shadows

Part of my job this weekend is to sift through hundreds of images. We look for pictures to post to indycar.com, our Flickr page, INDYCAR Nation and our media site. It’s one of my favorite parts the job.

Morning practice

Cars stream through an actual street

Some of the images make me think about the photographic process. What settings did they use? Why did they chose that location? How did they get even get to that location? Photographers definitely think outside the box.

Takuma Sato with speed

Takuma Sato and the streets

The shots from above on a street circuit are cool. Everyday buildings or hotels provide perfect platforms for photographers to capture a unique vantage point. And honestly, who doesn’t love a good palm tree.

Danica Patrick with the shadows

Danica Patrick passing through palm tree shadows

So when you watch the race on Sunday (4:30pm ET on Versus) consider the different views you experience. This entire track came together this week. On Monday after the race, barriers, fences, curbs and signage will start coming down. Honda powered IndyCar’s will be replaced with Honda Accord’s and other street cars. That’s what I love about street circuits. They’re unconventional and temporary.

But we at least have the photos to show that it all came together, temporarily for the weekend.

A beautiful morning in Long Beach, California

Temporary street circuit

You may find this hard to believe, but there are actually people who don’t care for racing – I’ll pause here while you gasp in horror. When I come across these rare creatures, I generally recommend they go to a race to see what the hoopla is all about and if they don’t care about the cars to at least go for the party. What better place to combining racing and partying than at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg? (Okay, turn three of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is some stiff competition but work with me here.)

Scenic

2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

Kicking off the 2011 IndyCar Season, the Honda Grand Prix or the ‘World’s Fastest Spring Break Party’ as it’s been dubbed, is one of the most well-attended events on the IndyCar Series schedule. From the Friday night festival to the post-race events on Sunday night, this is a weekend full of non-stop action both on and off of the track.

Dario and Fans

Dario Franchitti greets fans at the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

New to the event this year is the Trackside Club in Turn 10 where individual race goers and private groups can pay a fee to sit in the luxury of air conditioned club or adjacent grandstands; a more economical version of the Pit Lane Suite’s VIP Club. It’s the perfect place to introduce a racing newbie to the sport, entertain clients, or keep your high-maintenance girlfriend happy.

However, any real race fan knows the best way to watch a race is to be right near the track – or in this case the lovely streets of St. Petersburg. If your race guest remains unconvinced after that, you should really reconsider your company. Where ever you decide to stand or sit for this spectacular weekend of racing have fun and party safe. That means remember to hydrate, wear your sun block, and please – just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Local Flair

Driver banners at the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

If you’re thinking there could be more patriotic ways to spend Independence Day weekend than watching twenty-two foreign born drivers battle against each other and three Americans at Watkins Glen – think again. From the rich history the track holds to the exciting events being held there this weekend, there’s no better place for a race fan to spend the 4th of July.

Long front straight

The Glen

Watkins Glen International, or “The Glen”, has been home to a variety of open-wheel road racing events for more than six decades. Known for it’s plethora of twists and turns, The Glen is truly the one of the best road racing facilities in the country. In fact, its one of my personal favorites (that could also have something to do with the local wineries  but more about that later). For more than twenty years, The Glen served as home to the United States Grand Prix, seducing drivers from all over the world with its seductive curves, including Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Stirling Moss (how can you not love that name?). If you’re eager to learn more, the Watkins Glen International website features an informative video timeline. My expertise lies in there here and now.

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Who is better blindfolded?  Tags or Simona?

Watch the latest blindfolded challenge with Tags as he traces the Long Beach Circuit.

Last weekend Simona’s Barber tracing got a lot of attention.  Look for more clips through the season.  Let’s hear some chatter about these two clips…Comment Below and vote for who you think did a better job.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is second only to the Indianapolis 500 in longevity on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. Of course, the series will make only its second visit to the scenic SoCal circuit this weekend. The previous 34 events (2008 was Indy Racing League sanctioned but Champ Car staged its farewell event before unification) were a mix. The temporary street course originally ran as a Formula 5000 race in 1975, moved to Formula One from 1976-83, then became a CART/Champ Car event from 1984-2008.

Pit lane in LB

Setup day in Long Beach

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