Renault Clio Cup

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 Oulton Park and Support Races

2.26 miles of undulating hills, banked corners and 120 mph straights all make Oulton Park one of the most exciting circuits on the BTCC calendar. Add a downpour to this combination and you have what promises to be an action packed day of racing.

This is my first time visiting the Cheshire based circuit and it certainly won't be my last. Circuit barriers are opened between races allowing footfall between the infield and outfield, resulting in nearly every part of the circuit being accessible.  Various parts of the circuit are banked which offer great vantage points to watch the days events unfold.

There's a little story behind this weekends events that I want to share. My best friend is soon to be wed, and as part of his pre-wed celebrations (and him being an absolute touring car nut) it was only right to try and organise something a little special. Using the power of social media I managed to get in touch with the Honda Racing BTCC team who were absolutely amazing in helping me organise a meet and greet with the legends themselves...Flash and Neal! Chris (the groom) and I were over the moon to meet our heroes and we would love to say a huge thank you to Honda Racing for making the whole day unforgettable. Here's a picture of Chris with the two drivers that now lead the BTCC Championship (Congratulations guys, keep it up!)

We both feel privileged as it was great to be in the garage during the hustle and bustle of a winning team as they set about prepping the race cars:

Qualifying and practice on the day before had been dry, but unpredictable as ever the British heavens decided to open. That meant all of the teams were busy discussing and changing suspension setups ready for race 1. We all already know that the British Touring Car Championship is a fantastic series, and today really enforced that for me. With the weather ever changing, different drivers were electing for different tyre setups making it a game of chances. Those who ran wets all around showed pace in the beginning, but quickly overheated their tyres as a dry line appeared resulting in a lack of grip.

Lea Wood made his debut return to the BTCC in the Honda Integra DC5 and certainly showed that he is a forced to be reckoned with after finishing 7th in the car's first outing. This photograph is shot at Lodge Corner looking down towards Deer Leap which offers a unique perspective thanks to it being elevated.

With the usual support races consisting of the Porsche Carrera Cup, Ginetta Supercup, Ginetta Juniors, Formula Renault and Renault Clio Cup there was never a shortage of action on track. Chris and I walked the entire circuit on the day, taking advantage of all the different locations I could shoot from. This means I've got a great variations in the types of shots captured, and makes Oulton Park one of my favourite circuits to shoot at (now I just need to get my hands on a media pass!). Here's a marmite shot (meaning you'll either love it or hate it) of Championship leader Tom Ingram passing the very wet crowds at Druids:

If you're interested in seeing a full gallery of 153 images from Oulton Park, please feel free to click this link.

Events - BTCC Brands Hatch Season Opener

This weekend Brands Hatch marked the start of the 2011 British Touring Car Championship, and with spring finally here is there a better way to start the season off?! This years record breaking line up took on the indy circuit in it's first three rounds, and gave a thrilling day's racing.

The British Touring Car Championship event is always a great day out, as not only do you get all the hype which comes with the BTCC, but the support races provide nail-bitingly close action all day long. Today we had the pleasure of watching the ever manic and crazy Renault Clio Cup, the stunning Ginetta G50's, the fast-paced Formula Renault and not to mention the Porsche 911 Carrera Cup which look and sound phenomenal!

Taking interesting photographs of the fast-paced action from a spectators position is never easy, and is why this year my partner and I wanted to do a slightly different take on the day's racing. Trying to find interesting viewpoints (albeit hard with thousands of visitors, chain link fences and various scaffolding for the TV cameras obscuring your view) all in order to frame the photographs differently, yet still capture the motion proved a challenge.

For a full gallery, please click here, and if you are interested in any of the photographs featured in the gallery (or have requests for specific cars) please do not hesitate to contact me. I am very interested in working with race teams for editorial or commerical work, so if anyone is interested, get in touch! Edit: Hannah's blog is now live and updated with photographs from Brands Hatch so be sure to check it out.

For part of 2011, I want to blog more about behind the scenes and how I work. The photograph below is taken of me at Brands Hatch by my wonderful other half, Hannah Couzens. Being a spectator on the day, it meant alot of walking around the circuit trying to find different vantage points/angles to capture something different from the norm. The Domke Little Bit Bigger bag is my on-location bag of choice for this type of work, allowing me to literally throw lenses in and out of the bag, quickly changing to ensure nothing is missed. It's rugged exterior means I can drop it at an instant, and not worry about my gear.

One thing which is often overlooked is the Domke range of accessories, and although I first turned my nose up at the thought of it, their Shoulder Pad which can be attached to any manufacture shoulder bag (contoured shape to sit comfortably on the shoulder) means it is incredibly comfortable even to lug the heavy bag around all day. Highly recommended!