Thursday
Jun172010

Nothing In motorsports even comes close

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest car race in the world.  Period.  No other race attracts more manufacturers and more drivers from more countries.  Fans come from around the world to witness this race.  Corporate suites are sold out.  Advertising rights for track side walls, billboards, t shirts, and even the pavement in pit lane are sold for massive fees.  And companies do all of this for 3 reasons.  They want the exposure to a world wide audience, they want to entertain corporate guests at a world class event, and they want to win this race.

Le Mans is the World Cup of racing.  Le Mans is the Olympics of racing.  The difference is it occurs every 12 months, not ever four years.  Like the World Cup, Le Mans is all about country pride.  Like the Olympics, teams and drivers prepare a lifetime for the opportunity to compete and the skills to win.  Le Mans is about emotion, preparation, dedication, acceleration, and motivation.  The teams, crews, and drivers who manage all of the qualities the best will be in the best position to run well.  Luck has a role, but a lot of luck at Le Mans - both good luck and bad luck - is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Like the Olympics, there are stars - both drivers and cars, some fading;  some on the horizon burning brightly.   Like the Olympics, there are a few teams and drivers that represent but don’t really belong.  Sort of like the Jamaican bobsled team.  This year’s race had one sled that never really got out of the blocks.  As far out of their element as a beachcomber on a giant slalom course. 

The stars shine so brightly at Le Mans the shadows they cast erase the weak from memory.  This year’s race was a classic battle between the speed of Peugeot and the reliability of Audi.  The Germans sweep the podium.  The French were left with a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach, knowing they had the fastest cars and the weakest of links.  History will not remember the 3 engine failures, the one suspension failure by Peugeot, the engine failures on two factory backed Corvettes in GT2, or a Jaguar that only rain 3 laps.  History writes the winners name first, because this is what is read and remembered.  History leaves the following pages blank; waiting for those to dare and prepare to write their own story the next year. 

As a photographer I am fortunate enough to witness history and to capture split seconds of it.  I am fortunate to work in a community of fellow shooters whose vision tells a unique story of every event.  Rondeau, Ingham, Brooks, Lefebure, Lister, Asset, and others are the eyes that see for all of you.   I consider myself fortunate to work with this amazing group of talent every June in France. 

I hope you enjoy my vision of this great race.  If you love sports car racing, if you love big events, if you every want to witness history - book a trip to France.  Nothing is motorsports even comes close.

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