So, back to the British GT again and this time off to Silverstone and a 3 hour endurance race run over the GP circuit.
Driving into the middle of the circuit, where all media have to park, it dawns on you how big and vast it all is. We all know it was an airfield but you still don't comprehend the vastness once you are there.
As Silverstone is so wide, the British GT Championship organised an old route master bus for the media to experience a chance to go round the circuit at the same time as the GT cars. Full video of the bus is here.
Key questioned I wanted to know was whether I could drive my car round the access roads that circle the circuit. The media suite is on the National pit straight and I wanted to get to the end of the Hangar Straight and to Club to get glowing brake discs and some art shots of the cars as they pass 'The Wing'. I was successful on both counts, but took both days to do it! I thought the first practice session might see the discs glow, but it didn't take long for the air temperature to start climbing northwards.. The ever so friendly marshals pointed out that the end of the race would be a better bet for the disc brakes.
Getting to the circuit early on race day before racing means you can get shots of the teams as they prepare for the race. Teams were carrying out pit stop practice up and down the pit-lane and its all choreographed to the smallest of margins. Sometimes though in the heat of race battle, it can go wrong and timings get slightly out of sync and the teams get handed drive throughs or time penalties added at the end of the race.
As it is a 3 hour race that means more than one pitstop will be needed to be carried out by the teams. After chatting to a couple of teams I had an idea of when to get to the pits to photograph what the teams had been practising. Unfortunately for one of them the diff broke after a few laps and by time I got to the garage the car was in bits so decided one more person in the garage was too much and left them to it after wishing them luck. The team did however manage to fix the diff and send it back it out again!
The other friendly team I was talking to were awaiting their drivers... Bad luck though would hit this team as one their cars suffered a mechanical issue as it tried to pull away after the stop and it was hastily moved into the garage so that repairs could happen. This meant that all the guests had to vacate that part of the garage. The mechanics couldn't do much work as the sister car was about to come into the pits for its pit stop and driver change.
As it was a long race it meant I could go to several different part of the circuit to catch these amazing cars in action. Admittedly using the car to get round as it was starting to warm up and I didn't fancy the walk plus I was heading to the opposite end of the circuit. On the way round I had seen how close you could get to the action to underline the speed of the cars as they go through Maggots and Becketts. So a quick stop there to shoot from was in order.
Towards the end of the race the brakes were certainly working overtime. At the end of the Hangar Straight the cars were hitting the brakes hard to slow the car down enough to make the corner but without losing time. It was more noticeable on the GT3 cars than the GT4's but, those cars still had hot brakes too.
The next race takes place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. One of the iconic race venues and yet I can't make the logistics work to attend. Next year as soon as the calendar gets announced that will be one of the first things to sort.
More images from Silverstone are here.