Photographer crosses another monumental motorsports event off of his bucket list
For about a month-and-a-half each year, I am without one of my loves. She disappears from the World Wide Web, hidden in the busy hallways of large garages worldwide. Her last appearance is typically in mid-November, and she doesnít show herself again until late-January.
Itís tough to be without her. She gives me purpose to be on the Internet, aimlessly scrolling through results, reading names and numbers, news stories and viewing photos.
Who am I talking about? Itís not a person, but a sport. Those who know me should know what I am talking about by now, but for those who donít, itís auto racing.
The last major auto race of 2012 took place in Brazil on Nov. 25 of last year. Ever since, there hasnít been the high-pitched whine of racing engines, or the calculated madness of engineers finding ways to make a car go 0.01 of a second faster.
Until next week.
This year has started off incredibly well with my confirmation coming through from the Daytona International Speedway that I have been accredited for the Grand American Rolex Series 24 Hours of Daytona being held Jan. 21 to 27, and the NASCAR Speedweeks, which includes the Great American Race: The Daytona 500, in February.
I got the call from Motorsport.com to come on down and shoot the 24 Hours for them, which, to a chronic racing addict like myself is like a hockey fan finding out they are going to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Itís a dream come true, and just another one of the biggest races in the world being kicked of my bucket list. Spending eight days in Florida is just a bonus.
I find myself having to defend motorsports to the masses every once in a while, most recently to a friend of mine over Facebook.
When you put anything on the Internet, you face the potential scrutiny of the millions connected to the World Wide Web. This friend of mine, Andrew Hennig, an Airdrie native, and Cambridge University student and I had a great conversation about motorsport, each discipline, and why I get so excited for such races as this one.
Luckily, the guy isnít your normal Ďrun-your-mouthí on the Internet type, so it was a spirited but respectful conversation. (Which is unusual for me when having to defend a sport I love so much)
The conversation surrounded the fact that Hennig was shocked at the ability for a 24-hour motor race to get enough spectator support to be broadcast on television.
For those who are unaware of this event I am attending, it is a multi-class sports car race.
This means there are three different classes of racecars, from your daily drivers like Mustangs, or even a couple Mazda 3s, to specialty-build race cars called Daytona Prototypes.
The event is rich with history, kicking off as North Americaís answer to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and held is at the American Centre of Speed in 1962. This will be the 51st time the cars have hit the high banks and difficult curves of the Daytona International Speedway road course.
While the conversation with Hennig went in depth into each type of racing, from rally racing to Formula One, I will give the short explanation why you should take a few minutes to turn on Speed Channel on Jan. 26 to 27 and check out part of the race.
Twenty-four hour races are a true test of man and machine. With only about a half dozen 24-hour races on the entire planet, racing teams and vehicle manufacturers put every dollar and drop of sweat into building the best possible machine, using cutting edge and brand new technologies to the test. Many of the parts used in road cars today have been tested in 24-hour races throughout the world.
With that in mind, adding in the superstar cast of both drivers and vehicles that take part in this race makes it something to see each and every year.
Drivers like 2012 IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Formula One race winner Giancarlo Fischichella will team up with other racers from all over the world to start a race at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26, take turns with their teammates in approximately two-hour stints and hope they have a car that is still on the track and in one piece, and a hope at a win at 3 p.m. Jan. 27.
So, if you find yourself flipping through the channels, or stuck inside because of the next blizzard, take a moment and check out this race. Maybe accompany your viewing with a little background on the race from Wikipedia, or even the Grand-Am website. Check it out at www.grand-am.com. I promise you wonít be disappointed.
Now, letís just hope I can stay awake and alert for 24 hours.