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Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 American Le Mans Series: Race Day

A Jaguar flames as it brakes into turn 8. Photos by staff photographer Nic Coury.

I love shooting anything at Laguna Seca. So it was a bit of a thrill to spend three days shooting car racing this past weekend.

The main race was intense as 35 drivers in four classes took on the technical track for six hours, as they drove past sunset, ending at 8:30 on Saturday night.

One can only shoot still frames of cars for so long before getting bored, so I shot some spectators photos and some video as well on my new-fangled camera...



A few of photo windows are fantastically close to the track, allowing us photogs to gets up close to the roaring action. One of my favorites in the inside of turn 1, which is a nice perspective of the cars heading up the hill from the start on a semi-straightaway. The photo window is only about 8-10 feet from where they're screaming by as they reach speeds of around 150 mph. It's a great feeling.

A driver flies by the turn 1 photo window on Saturday evening.

One of my other favorite spots in the inside of turn 9—Rainey Curve. It is another spot where I can stand literally six feet from the track as the cars go by. As it is on the backside of the course, the wide-angle view provides a nice perspective for shots to incorporate lot of sky and landscape. (0.10 seconds in the video above.)

Second-place finisher in the P class, team MuscleMilk Team Cytosport races into turn 1 with an hour to go in the 6-hour race.

Team MuscleMilk Team Cytosport zips through the first half of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

A Porsche dips down into the infamous "corkscrew", as fans look on in the late-afternoon sunlight.

Racers head down turn 8 and 8a, the corkscrew.

The corkscrew drops 5 and 1/2 stories in a mere 450 ft of track.

Fans watch for their favorite drivers and teams from just below turn 8.

Into Rainey Curve, turn 9 (left), while fans (right) look onto turn 10.

A drivers heads into turn 4 around the 4-hour mark of the 6-hour race.

From the outside of turn 4, the the sun sets into a dark blue sky with only 45-minutes to go.

Drivers brake as they coast around turn 2, the Andretti Hairpin.

Fans watch from the start line bleachers.

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