RedBull GRC : Flying Through the Air




We started our day early again, just Minus and I. (Joaquin had a family affair to attend to.) We walked the pits to see if there was any activity to document. Pit crews were working, getting the cars ready for the day’s’ event. Cars were taking to the track for test runs. I was looking for better locations than yesterday.




At one point, I noticed the fairly empty “preferred seating” area had an opening right in front of the ramp. I asked security if I could get in, and next thing I know, I’m standing in the bleaches with the 400 shooting flying cars!





Minus radioed me about a spot that was directly in front of the jump, buried behind a guard booth, so I headed over. I thought, “This might just be the perfect spot for the 400.” I had to climb on top of the k-rail and drag all of my gear through a very narrow opening between the guard booth and the fence, but I made it through. I was standing directly under a JLG Lift with a network camera operator above me, but I had a perfect shot at the jump. The 400 allowed me to shoot past the fence and put me up close to the action.



While I was down in this great spot, I got a text from Adam. He wanted to meet with us. Since I was pretty much stuck in place until the heat was over, I radioed Minus to meet him until I could get out and run around the track again. I got a few more shots of the destruction of Tanner Foust’s Beetle as the heat was finishing. I packed my gear and took off as soon as I saw the maintenance crew going on the track.




As I was rounding the corner to the River Racing tent, I saw Collete getting ready for her heat. I started taking pics at 400mm away. Damn I love this lens! I met up with Minus and Adam, and we went over what needed to be captured. Adam wanted shots of Collete in the air, so I went back to the “preferred seating” area and started focusing on shots of Collete.



Most of the fun came from now having a direction for our adventure. Usually, we just shoot what we want or think would help tell the story we want to share. This time around, we were brought in to help someone else tell their story. So, naturally, we adopted that premise and felt right at home.



After that heat, it was back to the trailer for a few moments of rest before the next one. I caught Collete during the break checking out her car and meeting fans. The great thing about these open paddock experiences, is that the fans can really just go up to their favorite driver and interact with them. It really helps fans feel a connection with this person they see doing some amazing things.



Collete prepared for the next heat. I prepared for my next shooting location.




On top of the Kobalt Tools trailer! Since Kobalt was housing the River Racing, Castrol & Kobalt crews, Adam had an in. We ascended to the roof of the trailer where there was a great unobstructed view of the ramp. The 400 put me right where I wanted to be. Of course, now I had to deal with the sand storm surrounding me on all sides, but at least I got some shots without having to deal with a fence in my way!



I only saw Collete fly over the ramp three times. In the fourth lap, she was missing. I wasn’t sure what had happened. I tried Minus on the radio, but there was no response. I climbed down from the trailer and checked in with the race team. It turns out that one of the other drivers pushed Collete off the ramp causing her car to fall in between the ramp and the fence. Minus was right there when it happened. She had to climb out the window and onto the ramp to get out. Thankfully, she was okay.



Collete and her car were back at the trailer. The team was working fast to get her back on the track. It looked like the car had a few dents and scratches. You wouldn’t think that moments earlier this thing was wedged between a massive wooden ramp and some steel wire fence.





The team taped up Collete’s door and helped her with a human three-point turn, sending her off to the starting grid for the last run of the day.





I went back to the hairpin. There was no one there but me and a cop, so I had the whole turn at my disposal. I waited for Collete to come around. To my surprise, her passenger door was flapping in the wind. I’m guessing once over the ramp rattled the door loose from the tape that was holding it in place. Either way, Collete persevered and kept going, door ajar and all.


After the Lites finished, the podium ceremony began. Thankfully, Minus was in the area. I had to run from the opposite end of the track to get there just as they announced Ken Block as the 1st place Supercar winner and Austin Cindric as the 1st place Lites winner.

It was quite an event. I don’t think I would have been able to get as much fantastic footage if it weren’t for the 400. It will be mine one day. Oh, yes. It will be mine…

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