Events - BTCC and Support Races at Brands Hatch Grand Prix

This weekend Brands Hatch threw us a new challenge, the Grand Prix layout. With Honda Racing very kindly granting us VIP Hospitality for the weekend, we relished the challenge of a new circuit layout and utilising different vantage points. Extending the circuit by a further 1.5 miles, the Grand Prix layout provides plenty of opportunities for the photographer as the fencing around this part of the circuit is less intrusive when compared to that of the Indy. With the walk to further parts of the Grand Prix circuit being a little bit of a trek (especially in 25-30 degree heat) you'll find that less people watch from these areas. Ideal if your after some good positions to shoot from.

Although you can't get parallel with Stirlings Bend (unfortunate as it has a very wide run off kerb and would give a great dramatic shot going down towards Clearways) there are viewing points before and after the bend. A record-equalling 29 cars started on today's grid, including new face Ollie Jackson. Ollie is the reigning Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am1 champion and looked consistently strong for a debut drive in the great looking Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra:

Support races provided plenty of action and the below shots really shows off how great Brands looks during the current Indian Summer...

Jason Plato had a great weekend which put him back into contention for winning the title, taking victory in both Race 1 and 2:

Team Parker Racing's driver Stephen Jelley also made sure that his chances of winning this year's Porsche Carrera Cup GB title are still well within reach as he stormed to victory, huge congratulations to the team and fingers crossed for the last couple of rounds!

Only 5 championship points separates the top three drivers of the BTCC, which means it's down to the last three races at Silverstone. Again the BTCC provides nail-bitingly close action as Jason Plato, Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden all head to Silverstone with a chance at the title. If that's not entertainment, i'm not sure what is?!

Events – BTCC Snetterton and Support Races

Norfolk based circuit Snetterton has recently been redesigned to incorporate a new 1 mile infield section of further twists and turns. Adding extra technical difficulty to the circuit it also improves track safety and boasts better vantage points for spectators. Last year I drove the original Snetterton layout and had huge amounts of fun, so naturally I was slightly dubious as to what the new Snetterton 300 layout would have to offer. With the new improved spectator viewing areas, it provides plenty of new photographic opportunities to tryout. Lap times from the BTCC series are now nearer the 2 minute mark but still provide action packed close racing, as the below photograph shows the grid entering the new 'Palmer' left hander.

This is the first round after a lengthy summer break which saw changes to the grid, now boasting 27 starters! Welch Motorsport made an appearance in their NGTC Proton, as well as Martin Byford taking a drive in the AmD Miltek Golf. Over the summer break teams were able to make developments to the cars, most impressive of all was seeing Dynojet's Frank Wrathall place 4th in Round 16, the highest this car has ever placed. Sadly, due to an incident in Round 17 Wrathall's radiator was damaged and caused him to retire for the remainder of the day.

Weather during the week didn't look promising, with intermittent showers up until the weekend. Early race day and the sun was out in force as Jason Plato stormed to victory in Round 16 (picture above).

Never having photographed at Snetterton before, we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of vantage points you could obtain as a spectator. Snetterton is certainly one of the more friendlier circuits to shoot at as its lack of chain fences and access to plenty of corners means great opportunities. The above shot is a wide angle panning shot of a Porsche 911 Carrera Cup GB Car passing through newly named Brundle left hander (originally 'The Esses').

With an exciting Round 17 and Shedden leading from Lap 2 we headed to the pits to capture the podium presentation. Needless to say we'll be sending Shedden a bill for the camera clean! ;-)

Lastly, Round 18 saw a reverse grid and Mat Jackson lead from the front to another victory for the Airwaves Ford Focus. Here he is below pushing hard through Nelson and clipping the kerb sending that Focus soaring:

The photographs in this post are a brief selection of the day, if you'd like to view the full gallery including all of the support races (Renault Clio Cup, Formula Renault, Ginetta G50/G55, Porsche Carrera Cup GB) please feel free to click this link.

Events - BTCC Thruxton and Support Races

As a spectator, Thruxton is often a daunting thought for any keen photographer. The fastest circuit on the BTCC calendar and one which is always busy with thousands of spectators means finding a prime location to photograph the races is no easy task. Challenged by various heads whilst panning (trying my best not to hit them, honest...) and chainlink fences Thruxton isn't the best circuit to photograph at in my opinion. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Hannah (my better half), James (my brother) and family trecked to Hampshire for the British Touring Car Championship and support races. This photograph below is of Jason Plato storming to victory in the final race after having an unlucky incident in race one with a tyre malfunction and hitting a wall at speeds in excess of 100mph causing a 6G impact! Hats off to the Silverline team getting the car back out for race two!

I think the saying goes that "Rubbing's Racing" and Tom Onslow-Cole certainly showed that during race one where he powered the AmD Miltek Golf to it's highest ever finishing position of 7th, congratulations guys! Great to see this car mixing it up the field of well established names.

The British Touring Cars weren't the only formula to provide close racing all day, with everyone pushing the cars to their limits. This below photograph shows Pierce (Car 24) locking up on the approach to Campbell. I think it's safe to say Thruxton was home to one of the best Porsche Carrera GT3 Cup races in a long time this weekend.

Formula Renault driver Andrew Jarman (Car 28) featured heavily in my Brands Hatch photographs purely because the car looks stunning at speed. This time around it was a different approach to capture him tackling the 'Club' bend at Thruxton. This photograph was taken using my mark II 2x extender, which previously I had been worried about with degrading image quality and focus speeds. However attached to my trusty 70-200 F2.8 IS L it proved fantastic at Thruxton. AI Servo tracking speeds gave me no difficulty, and the images at 100% crop are insanely sharp!

Finally i'll leave you with Tom Ingram crossing the start/finish line at Thruxton whilst being congratulated by his team as he leads the championship in the Ginetta G50 Supercup.

Hannah has also uploaded some fantastic shots onto her blog site, and if you'd like to check them out please click here.

If you are interested in viewing the full set from Thruxton please feel free to click here and visit the gallery.