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F3, ELMS, WEC Silverstone 2018

This year has become a year of firsts for me. Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Le Mans Classic & now the UK’s round of the World Endurance Championships. I was going to be shooting with Mike Fox from New Channel Media at the WEC Silverstone 2018.

Race weekend is actually made up of 3 Championships. The European Formula 3, The ELMS & the WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone 2018. ELMS base themselves in the National Pits while the WEC are housed in the The Wing, The International Pits. The F3s are garaged in the National Pits but use the The Wing Pit Lane during the races. These logistics make it hard for a single photographer to cover properly. Hence the New Channel Media tag team!!!

We split our time between sharing ‘Live Pit Lane’ duties & trackside throughout the weekend. Quick change routine of fireproofs on/off & which of 3 different media bibs for the next shooting location made for a few laughs.  The resulting collection of photos I hope capture the taste & feeling of really exciting race weekend.

European Formula 3…

F3 has for many years been the springboard into F1. World Champions like Ayrton Senna, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher & many more great drivers had success in F3.This year’s young drivers were no different, battling for every inch on the track in similar specced cars. The best drivers show their huge potential talents in championships like this. Flying the flag was Dan Ticktum & he was flying on track too!

Following in his father’s race boot steps is young Mick Schumacher

 

As I say, Formula 3 is a massive stepping stone towards F1. There are no women competing in F1 at the moment but maybe it’s not too many years away. The very rapid Sophia Florsch could be the first…you never know!

ELMS – European Le Mans Series…

In the F3 races, all the action happens out on track. The cars only ever come into the pits if they have a problem. With Endurance Racing, the Pit Lane is as much part of the race as the action on track.

Over the 4 hour race these sleek carbon fibre bodied cars would make serval visits into the pits.

Pit Crews waited for their car to appear before exposing into action refuelling, changing tyres or driver swaps. Before they blast out again back on to the track…

Alongside the Le Mans Prototype bodied cars there is also the GT class competing. Ferraris & Porsche 911s a more convention looking race car to the familiar shape to cars seen on our roads.

WEC – World Endurance Championship…

As with ELMS, the WEC is an endurance 6 hour race. Pit crews are a vital part of your race strategy. No stone is left unturned & practice, like everything else, makes perfect. Here we see the Aston Martin Team practicing their tyre changes ready for race day.

I thought the ELMS cars were quick….these LMP1 cars in the WEC are in another league. Wide & low these cars appear to be on rails as they fly through the corners around the Silverstone circuit.

The WEC attracts some of the world’s best drivers. Former F1 World Champions Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button relish the challenge of a different discipline.

Out on track the action was still in full swing. The LMP1 cars just ahead of the LMP2, LMP3 & the GT cars. The cornering speed of all classes was incredible to watch.

Pieces of rubber ‘marbles’ fly from the tyres under cornering forces.

Over 6 hours of racing it’s amazing to see the tyre debris building up off the racing line. Just imagine what Le Mans looks like after 24 Hours!!!

For a larger selection of my images from the F3, ELMS, WEC Silverstone 2018


Le Mans Classic 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018

2018 season has been a year of firsts for me. Some of the photo shoots have been outstanding & non more so than the Le Mans Classic 2018. Having been there last year for the modern 24Hour Le Mans race, I was really looking forward to seeing the difference.

The format is slightly different in that there are a series of races, rather than 1 race lasting 24 hours. The races were for 6 different ‘Grids’ of cars. These ‘grids’ have cars from different years competing against others from their period. Each car would compete in daytime & nightime races over the 24 hours of racing.

As the grids progress through the year periods, the cars become more modern. The sleek areodynamic lines look more like the cars we see in the 24 Hrs of Le Mans.

Group C Porsche in the Le Mans Classic 2018 Motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Group C Porsche in the Le Mans Classic 2018 on Friday 06 July 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

There is an incredible atmosphere in the circuit paddocks, drivers getting into the Old-timers spirit. The night time races brings its own atmosphere, the Pit Lane is still alive in the dead of night…

the Le Mans Classic 2018 on Friday 06 July 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

The Le Mans Classic shares a special event with the Goodwood Revival Setterington Cup. Little Big Mans is a race for youngsters in some glorious miniature classic race cars. It’s a great sight as they do they traditional ‘Le Mans Start’ before heading off up the track.

The noise & smell of these fantastic machines just takes you back to a golden age of motor racing. It is going to feel a long wait before the 2 years is up for this fantastic event to come around a again!!!

 

To see a larger collection of my photos from the Le Mans Classic 2018 please

 

Spa Summer Classic 2018

Spa Summer Classic 2018

The Spa Summer Classic 2018 is a great Classic Motor Racing Festival held at one of the popular race tracks in Europe. It attracts many visitors over the relaxed 3 day race weekend event.

This was my first time to the famous Spa-Francorchamp circuit in Belgium. I was looking forward to seeing the iconic hairpin right of La Source.

The flat-out bravery through probably the most famous corner, the Eau Rouge / Radillion combination. Where the exit is blind over a crest…. that takes some serious ‘cojones’ to keep the right foot to the floor through there!! To be fair the whole circuit is noteworthy & for that reason many Formula 1 drivers have ranked it among their very favorites.

Measuring nearly 4.5 miles in length, Spa is also one of the longest F1 race circuits in the current calender. It may be long but Spa is a fast track as well, with only two slow corners. The rest consisting of straights or long, sweeping bends makes it a real drivers circuit.

I was there to cover the Caterham Series for a photographer who had to drop out last minute. Part of my brief was to cover several locations on the circuit during each Caterham race. I can tell you now, watching on TV, you don’t realise the gradient between Raidillon & La Source. The fastest I ever did it was 7.5 minutes, with a brief few seconds shooting as the cars came back round & down the Old Pit Straight. The length of the track certainly helped give me time to change locations. Though by the time I had run up that hill, I’m not sure I was in a fit condition to squeeze the trigger!!!

Sadly I knew I would be unable to share those images. So, once my commitments were safely in the bag, I had a little to shoot one or two frames of the other races. Seemed a good time to have a little fun with Slow Shutterspeeds

for a small collection from The Spa Summer Classic 2018, I hope you like them!!!

Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

I have a little thing in my head, that I call a ‘Balcony Moment’. This is when you are sitting somewhere, on a hotel balcony with a cheeky glass of something cold. Looking at an amazing view, thinking “how on earth did I get here?!” Then you remember a moment back in time, a right place right time moment. In my case it was taking ‘a’ particular photo, that opened a doorway to an amazing journey. Those are my ‘balcony moments’…. & I was having one right now! My cheek pressed hard against the metal crash barrier Armco. Trying to get focus lock on, shooting through the gap as the Ex Niki Lauda Ferrari blasted into view. If you were standing next to me, even with ear plugs in, you would definitely have heard a slight giggle creep out…. “I’m only in the Tunnel, shooting the 2018 Monaco Historic Grand Prix!!?”

Ex Niki Lauda Ferrari during practice for the 2018 Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

I flew in to Nice Airport on Thursday morning. A waiting taxi whisked from there straight to the hotel (I’ll see about a helicopter next time!!) Dropped the camera gear & was off to the train station for the 10 minute ride into Monaco. After finding the Media Centre, signing on & picking up my Press Passes, it was time to walk this iconic circuit of all circuits.

The Start line seemed logical place to set off & I was soon at Saint Devote, swinging right I headed up the hill. Walking up the right side pavement, every so often stopping to look back down through the kinks of Beau Rivage. Camera location cut-outs in the crash fencing would provide some great views. Up to the crest & the fast left of Massenet leads straight in to the famous Casino Square. I imagined the cars braking before flashing right past the barrier & down towards Mirabeau

“I imagined the cars braking before flashing right past the barrier & down towards Mirabeau…” Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

A down hill straight leads to the right hander of Upper Mirabeau. From the pavement on the outside I could see it would provide a great view. The cars would swing through Mirabeau, brake hard into the tightest hairpin in Formula One. Renamed several times over the years, The Grand Hotel Hairpin or Fairmont Hairpin after the hotel. I remember it as being Loews Hairpin when I was younger. A short squirt of power would bring the car to the lower Mirabeau. A great view from above of the cars around these corners

Michael Lyons leaving 11s exiting the Fairmont Hairpin – Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

Another blip on the throttle & the cars would be at the tight right harder, Poitier. From here it was into that world famous Tunnel, swinging right as the daylight changed to artificial lighting. There was no way I was going to miss shooting in here!! Further round the right hander you could see the bright sunlight burning through the tunnel exit. What it must be like at 170mph in an F1 car as your eyes adjust from dark to light…amazing drivers!

It was then down the hill towards the braking point for the  ‘New chicane’. The cars would turn square Left – Right – Right – Left around the chicane before heading down the straight to Tabac. Inside the first left, down low on the tarmac gives a unique view of F1 cars & the boats in the harbour. One of the few place on a Grand Prix track where there are no barriers in front of photographers.

View towards Tabac during practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 on Friday 11 May 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

Left at Tabac & the cars would immediately be at the most modern part of the circuit, The Swimming Pool complex chicane.  Exiting the left would then bring the cars along a long slight left to another iconic corner. Named after the bar on the inside of the hairpin right, La Rascasse. A wiggle from the rear end as the cars put the power down to pass the Pit Lane entrance on the right & to Anthony Noghes. Then it was going to be flat out along the Start/Finish straight again, a lap of just over 2 miles.

La Rascasse during practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

There was nothing else for it after 2 miles around Monaco Grand Prix Circuit in 25 degrees… A ‘Balcony Moment’ with a large cold beer at La Rascasse & pinch myself!!

Friday, Practice Day…. Saturday, Qualifying…

Thursday was a normal day (if there is such a thing) in Monaco, the roads were open to traffic. Friday morning had arrived & the roads were now closed. There was a crackle of excitement in the air. Engines revved, mechanics were going through final checks, trolley loads of tyres were making their way down the Pit lane.

Tyres arriving during practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 on Friday 11 May 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

The Monaco Historic Grand Prix runs every 2 years & is a massive event in the Historic Racing calendar. I was so pleased to have been asked to go & cover the event for New Channel Media. Growing up watching motorsport on TV, the Monaco F1 Grand Prix was always ‘the’ race not to miss for me. This narrow street circuit has always produced incredible racing as the cars threaded their way around the 2 mile ribbon of tarmac. Here I now was having my ribcage rattled by the awesome noise of F1 cars from the 1950s to the 80s.

During practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

At so many race circuits I go to, even with my Media Pass I can still be a distance back from the track. Not in Monaco!! Such is the narrowness of the street circuit, as photographers we are right on top of the action.

Swimming Pool Chicane during practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

Max Smith-Hilliard in his Lotus 16 during practice for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

Monaco wouldn’t be Monaco without the sprinkling of famous racing drivers in attendance. Eddie Irvine, Mika Hakkinen, Jacky Ickx & Derek Bell were just a few to be seen driving a range of historic race cars throughout the weekend.

Mika showing Eddie how to Hashtag during the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018

Jacky Ickx at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 on Friday 11 May 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

Derek Bell at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 on Friday 11 May 2018. Photo: Ian Skelton Photography

Sunday… Race Day.

After 2 glorious days of Mediterranean sunshine, Sunday Race Day dawned grey & overcast. Rain was forecast & the clouds were already creeping down the mountains… it was a case of ‘When’, not ‘If’ the rain came!

This unfortunately wasn’t the only problem to effect the day’s activities. I decided to recce the route to the podium ready for the prize giving after each race. To check the route & also decide if I wanted to be shooting down from the track or from the Press Box position. Making my way behind the Pit Lane garages, I caught a toe on the metal grid walkway & tripped. I had my Nikon D810 with 24-70mm  set up on my left shoulder & the Nikon D4 with 70-200mm lens on my right shoulder. Try as I might to save the cameras, I went down like taken out by a sniper & smashed the D4 hard into the staging!!

2 mechanics saw me fall & helped me back up. Apart from the massive lump on my right knee the Nikon D4 had taken a huge impact & hadn’t survived. My ability to cover Race Day was now very compromised. I use 2 cameras all the time with a wide angle & long lens mounted. This way I can quickly react to the action as it happens. Now with only 1 camera working, I would have to decide what the shot was going to be at each location & fit the appropriate lens. My leg was getting stiffer by the minute & this made getting down to low angles very difficult… getting up again even harder!!

Then the rain came….& boy did it arrive!! This would make changing a lens tricky out on the side of the track. I really was down to choose the shot & stick to it, but the job was back on.

Rooster tails off the tyres as the Yardley McLaren leaves the Pit Lane

WET TYRE SAVING MODE – ACTIVATED!! The Token RJ02 jumps across the chicane kerb

At the end of long & tiring 5 days in Monaco all I can say is what an awesome experience. To shoot beautiful Historic F1 Grand Prix cars in such an iconic location has been a dream come true. Here’s to crossing everything I get an email land in my InBox inviting me to shoot it again in 2020.

To see a larger collection of my photos from the Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 please

Trackside Motorsport Photography Video

Motorsport seen through my lens….

I have been asked a few times it must be exciting doing Motorsport Photography at some of these fantastic events. I thought it might be fun to show a little of what I do when I’m at a race track or on a rally stage. So, over this year I’m going to be doing a series of short Trackside Motorsport Photography Videos.

Hopefully they will show you where I look for my images, both on & off track. How I shoot them & some of the finished images from that video clip. Over the season I hope to show you around the paddock & pit lane at some of the race meetings. Or you could find yourself watching from a muddy ditch as World Rally Car come flying past! All to bring you a little taste of what it’s like being Motorsport Photographer.

 Click Here or click on the photo below to watch this & other videos on my YouTube Channel…. & don’t forget to turn your SOUND UP to really enjoy the full experience!!
Trackside Motorsport Photography video clip motosport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The first in the series is this short video taken last weekend at The Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally. The rally is a round of the Motorsport News Circuits Rally Championship for 2018. This is a very popular tarmac rally championship held on motor racing circuits around the country. It was great to see some fantastic machinery had made the trip to Lincolnshire for the event.

 You can see a larger collection of images from the Cadwell Park Stages Rally in Galleries simply

 

Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018

The Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally forms part of the Motorsport News Circuits Rally Championship for 2018. This is a very popular rally championship & some fantastic machinery had made the trip to Lincolnshire for the event.

This would be my first visit to Cadwell Park & I was looking forward to seeing what the circuit had in store. I had watched a lot of video clips on YouTube & it certain looked like it could produce some great photos.

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

The photography this time would be only part of my day rather than the actual reason I was attending. My brother Nick Skelton was making a return to rallying after a 15 year break in my Dad’s Escort. So today I would very much have my Big Brother ‘spectator head’ on & support my Little Brother!! The day dawned grey but dry & promised a good start for the first stage for Nick to find his feet again.

Many years ago in a ‘former life’ Nick had navigated for me on a few rallies. He then got his own car & we ran as a 2 car team for a season in Skoda Trophy. I retired from driving competitively & helped in the Service Crew. Nick went on to drive several different rally cars over the next few years. Winning the Diahatsu Charade Rally Championship along the way. He is definitely the quick one of the family…..(but don’t tell him I said that!!)

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Stage 1 certainly was a dramatic start to the day. Unfortunately a car, 2 cars ahead of Nick had a massive crash on the bend I was spectating at, closing the stage.

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

A Renault Clio went off into a fence causing a length of it to go through the windscreen!! Thankfully both the driver & co-driver were unhurt in what must have been very frightening for them. I have been in a rally car when a metal Bailey Bridge came through the windscreen, I can tell you it’s extremely scary!!

The marshals & recovery crews did a fantastic job. Without them there would be not motorsport for any of us, competitors or spectators. So big thank you to the Orange army! We were soon back in action & Stage 2 was under way.

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

The grey day turned progressively damper & damper making the surface slippery for the crews. Trying hard on a greasy track often results in knocking a few edges off here & there!

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

By the halfway lunch halt the weather had worsened & the rain was falling & set in for the day. It caught out many drivers as the track became water logged. For some it would be the end of their rally, while others luckily got away with it….. I’m not sure it will polish out though!!!

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Eventually Mark Kelly & Andy Baker in their Escort Mk2 came home the Rally Winners after a hard fought battle

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Nick drove brilliantly & brought Dad’s Escort Mk1 home in 29th Overall, 8th in Class. Well done R Kid, on to Abingdon CARnival in August.

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Rally car on the Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally at Cadwell Park Circuit

Hopefully I captured some of the action from Cadwell Park Stages Rally 2018. You can see a larger collection from the rally in Photo Galleries

London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018

I was really looking forward to attending The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel. It was an event & venue I hadn’t visited before so chance to experience it all with fresh eyes…. It didn’t disappoint either!!

The London Classic Car Show had some absolutely stunning classic cars on display & available to buy, if your pockets were deep enough!! Some had sleek beautiful stylish lines…this Mercedes 300SL Gullwing was such a pretty car.

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Simply stunning Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

Others had beauty in its muscles!!

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Mustang Muscles at The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

On the Preview Thursday, Squadron Leader Adam Collins (Red 10) of the RAF Acrobatic Display Team, The Red Arrows was at the show. He was there with the awesome looking limited edition Red Arrows Aston Martin Vanquish S. 10 cars had been specially built by Aston Martin, each unique to each of the Red Arrows, one the Red 10 car had been put into a raffle. The attention to detail was stunning, I was particularly impressed by the car’s headlining which was a painted view of what Red 10 sees from the cockpit!!

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Squadron Leader Adam Collins (Red10) of the RAF Red Arrows at The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

The hall was shared with the Historic Motorsport International (HMI) bringing together some lovely racing & rally cars from past. For the motorsport fan its a great place to get up close to the cars & have a good look around. As with some of the Classic Cars, some of these Historic Racing Cars were available to buy. This beast of a Porsche 911 GT3 is now eligible to compete in the new FIA Masters Endurance Legends Championship ….I think I’m going to need a bigger £2 saving jar!!!

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

A beast of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, now eligible for the FIA Masters Historic Endurance Legends Championship

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

1988 Group C Porsche 962

Special to this show was the ‘Grand Avenue’ down the middle of the hall. Where throughout the weekend a selection of cars put on a demonstration drives. The gleaming paintwork & chrome of the classic cars glistened under the lights.

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

1953 Chysler ‘Thomas Special’ Coupe by Ghia of Turin

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

1966 Jaguar E-Type Eagle Speedster gleaming under the lights on The Grand Avenue

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

I feel the need….the need for SPEED!! 1958 Aston Martin DBR4 F1

A gentle prelude before eardrums were rattled by the sound of 1980s F1 cars coming down the runway!!

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Laying down rubber… 1989 Lotus Judd Type 101 F1 car

The very popular & rapidly growing world of Historic Rallying was well represented too. Some lovely examples of early rally cars & the awesome power of Group B were on display down the Grand Avenue.

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

1986 Group B Rally Car the MG Metro 6R4

On Sunday the 1992 Formula One World Champion, Nigel Mansell was in attendance. It was great to see him in an F1 car again on his demonstration drives down Grand Avenue.

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Remind me gain…its been a while!! Nigel Mansell gets a quick briefing on the Benetton 193B F1

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Nigel Mansell at The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

He gave a great insight into his career in Formula One during interviews with Henry Hope-Frost. Some funny anecdotes from behind the scenes kept the fans in the Supaguard Theatre entertained. Many race fans had brought items & photographs for him to sign at several autograph sessions with him through the day.

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Nigel Mansell in conversation with Henry Hope-Frost

The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Autograph session at The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International Show at ExCel

I for one really enjoyed The London Classic Car Show & Historic Motorsport International 2018 at London ExCel. It will definitely be added to my photography calender from now on, thank you for a great few days & see you in 2019.

For a larger collection of images from the Show shoot please visit Photo Galleries or Click Here

The Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018

The Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018

Apart from Dry January the first weeks after Christmas mean only one thing…. The Autosport International Racing Car Show at Birmingham NEC. Some of the world’s best racing & rally cars along with some of the best drivers in the world all together under one roof.

For the motorsport fan its a great place to get up close to your favourite drivers. The event is often used to launch new cars & race liveries for the season ahead. Non more so than Ginetta Cars chose The Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018 to launch it’s G60-LT-P1 LMP1. This was a memorable point in Le Mans 24 Hours & WEC Endurance Racing history. I was really pleased to be contacted by Mike at New channel Media  to cover the event for them.

Ginetta LMP1 launch at Autosport Show 2018 commercial motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Ginetta LMP1 launch day at Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

Once into the vast halls of the NEC, I had a quick walk round to find all the locations I needed for the day. I then made my way to the Ginetta stand where the G60 was sitting under it’s cover awaiting it’s big moment. On the dot of 11 o’clock Ginetta Cars CEO, Lawrence Tomlinson & Technical Director, Ewan Baldry slowly pulled back the cover to reveal their LMP1 car.

Ginetta LMP1 launch at Autosport Show 2018 commercial motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Ginetta Cars G60 LMP1 racing car launch at Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

Once the Ginetta shoot was safely in the bag, I had chance to head over to the WRC area. I arrived just in time to see Sebastian Ogier & M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson heading to their press call.

Malcolm Wilson M-Sport at Autosport Show 2018 commercial motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

M-Sport Boss Malcom Wilson at The Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

There is more to the job than just driving the WRC rally cars. Here Kris Meeke does a piece to camera while team mate Craig Breen waits his turn.

Kris Meeks at the Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018 - commercial Motorsport Photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Kris Meeke doing piece to camera at Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

My last mission (…see what I did there) was to a space on the rope for the next car launch. Mission Motorsport were launching the strikingly liveried Invictus Games Racing Jaguar F-Type. It’s going to be great to follow the teams progress through the British GT Championship this year!!

Mission Motorsport at he Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018 - Commercial Motorsport Photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Mission Motorsport Team Launch at Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

Invictus Games Racing Team at The Autosport International Racing Car Show 2018 - Commercial Motorsport Photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Mission Motorsport launch the Invictus Games Racing Team at Autosport International Racing Car Show at NEC

 

I can’t wait to see the Ginetta’s challenge in WEC 2018…. Who know I might even get to Le Mans twice, as it’s Historic Le Mans this year too!!

For a larger collection of images from the Autosport Show shoot please visit Photo Galleries or Click Here

24 Hours of Le Mans 2017

24 Hours of Le Mans 2017Original plans to cover the event had fallen through when Media/Photo accreditation was oversubscribed. I had settled my mind that I would try again in 2018, when a late night text on the Sunday before changed all that. I was offered a fantastic set of entry tickets by Mike at New channel Media  The next few hours were spent on ‘tinternet’ booking a slot on the train & trying to find accommodation…. I was going to take photos at the 24 hours of Le Mans 2017!!

Thursday – Qualifying 2 & 3…

Up at 4am, load the car & I’m on the road by 5am… I had an appointment with the 07:39 EuroTunnel train to Calais. Ahead of me is 6 hours of driving to put a tick in a ‘bucket list’ box! I have never been to Le Mans before & it really is a full on event. Starting way back here at EuroTunnel car park with cars everywhere decorated in 24HR stickers. I was driving down in convoy with some friends that I had found out were regular Le Mans visitors. We were soon flying down the motorway, only interrupted by the odd coffee stop & me having to run round the car at the ‘Payage’ machines!!

It felt in no time at all that I was peeling off the motorway to my B & B while they carried on to their campsite at the track. Being a last minute decision to go meant that the close by hotels were either full or extremely expensive. So I had been forced to book one some 40 mins drive away from the track. As the SatNav directed me down a gravel track I really wondered if I had made the right move or would I be sleeping in the car for 4 days? ……I needn’t have worried 🙂

My Chateaux Hotel for the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday 16 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

I checked-in, got me keys, lugged all the gear up to the top floor (that’s my room under the centre arch). Dropped everything there before grabbing all the camera kit & heading back down to the car. Another quick drive back to the circuit to get into CarPark Rouge in time to catch Qualfying 2 & 3 for the main event cars. It very quickly dawned on me the sheer size of the circuit & the walking involved.

I had researched the corners I wanted to shoot at, Tertre Rouge to The Porsche Curves & as much in-between. These 2 corners are close to 3 miles apart!!! Quali started at 20:00 & ran through to Midnight, it’s amazing what adrenalin can do when when you’ve been awake 20hrs!

Miroslav Konopka (BTS) / Konstantin Calkos (LAT) / Rik Breakers (NDL) driving the #49 ARC LMP2 Bratislava Oreca 07-Gibson during qualifying for the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Thursday 15 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Brake discs glowing on Patrice Lafargue (FRA) / Paul Lafargue (FRA) / David Zollinger (FRA) driving the #17 LMP2 IDEC Sport Racing Ligier JS P217-Gibson chase Richard Lietz (AUT) / Frederic Makowiecki (FRA) / Patrick Pilet (FRA) driving the #91 LMGTE Pro Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR during qualifying for the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Thursday 15 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

As soon as Qualifying was finished, it was another hike back to Car Park Rouge before I could head back to the Chateaux & download/back-up the memory cards. Then it was time for some much needed sleep.

Friday – Pit Walk…

3 hours later the alarm was going off! Order of the day was to get to the track for 09:00 when they opened the Pit Lane. Friday is traditional a day with no action on track as such. The Pit Lane is opened to spectators to buy tickets & come along to watch the mechanics preparing the cars for the next day’s big race. Everything is really relaxed & a great atmosphere even though the Pit lane is packed with spectators…many in fancy dress!!

Hundreds of race fans enjoying a Pit Lane walk of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday 16 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

The attention to detail of the mechanics is fantastic to watch. The LMP1 & LMP2 type cars look incredible up close, dripping in Carbon Fibre everywhere

Nelson Panciatici (FRA) / Pierre Ragues (FRA) / Andre Negrao (BRA) driving the #35 LMP2 Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson during Rest Day & Pit Lane walk of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday 16 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Later in the day there is the ceremonial Drivers Parade in Le Mans town centre. I decided to give it a miss as I wanted get back & get a start on some of the editing. Plus relax a little & get some sleep ahead of what would be a very long day tomorrow. From what I heard the atmosphere in town was great & so if I cover the event again I will be sure to add the Drivers parade to my shooting list. For now I had an appointment with some brie & a bottle of wine, which I even had to ask the man in the deli to open for me as he didn’t sell corkscrews…. that was fun trying to get him to understand as my French isn’t good :))

Evening dinner in my Chateaux Hotel for the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday 16 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Saturday into Sunday – Race Day…

Race Day dawned to another blazing hot 30+ degrees. All batteries & memory cards checked & double checked, I headed back to the Circuit de la Sarthe. There were to be 2 races ahead of the main race starting at 3pm. A large entry for the Porsche Carrera Cup included a lot of cars competing in the UK series. So I made my way down to Porsche Curves & their paddock assembly area.

Staying cool in the shade, Dino Zamparelli (GBR) driving the #908 JTR Porsche Carrera GT3 during the Porsche Carrera Cup race. Part of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race weekend at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Helmet design for Florian LaTorre (FRA) driving the #10 Martinet By Almeras Porsche Carrera GT3 during the Porsche Carrera Cup race. Part of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race weekend at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Heading out to track, Dino Zamparelli (GBR) driving the #908 JTR Porsche Carrera GT3 during the Porsche Carrera Cup race. Part of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race weekend at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

3pm was very soon going to be upon us. You could feel the electric atmosphere building in the 350, 000 fans around the circuit. Part of my ticket package was a pass to the Grid Walk with all the cars ahead of the race. There were some real racing heroes out amongst the fans, Mark Webber was with the Porsche teams as was Jacky Ickx

Mark Webber & Timo Bernhard in the Pit Lane during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Jacky Ickx on the grid during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

But non more so than the young racing driver Billy Monger ‘Billy Whizz’, injured recently at Donnington Park…. what an absolute hero & a delight to meet & shake the hand of that young man!!

Billy Monger – ‘Billy Whizz’ on the grid during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

The time had come & the Safety Car lead the cars around the 8.7 mile circuit before they crossed the line to a deafening roar from the engines drowned out the almost equally deafening roar of the crowd. The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017 was under way.

Safety Car leads the cars round to the start of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Jacques Nicolet (FRA) / Pierre Nicolet (FRA) / Erik Maris (FRA) driving the #33 LMP2 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P217-Gibson during the race of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Nelson Piquet Jnr (BRA) Mathias Beche (CHE) / David Heinemeier Hansson (DNK) driving the #13 LMP2 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson during the race of the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Throughout the race day I had been given a commission to capture the story & fun around the Fan Villages & many Campsites that make up so much of the Le Mans adventure for thousands of race fans. Here are a few photos from that collection & will feature in a Le Mans Review ebook available to download from iTunes.

Fantastic camping setups at Porsche Curves in the Fan Village during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Fantastic camping setups at Porsche Curves in the Fan Village during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday 17 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Back on track the action was heading into the night. The adrenaline had kicked in again & I was covering the miles back & forth to Tertre Rouge & Porsche Curves. Every so often I would dive into the paddock behind the Pit Lane, in the hope of spotting some great shot of the Pit Crews in action.

Light trails through the Esses into Tertre Rouge during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday 18 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Jacques Nicolet (FRA) / Pierre Nicolet (FRA) / Erik Maris (FRA) driving the #33 LMP2 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P217-Gibson Lollipop Man Pit Crew during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday 18 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

3am came & went, I had made it to halfway point but I was fading fast. I was determined to make it to see the dawn rise over the Pit Lane & it was worth the wait to see the colour change in the sky.

After this I took the tripod back to the car & had to sleep, I was broken….. but I wasn’t the only one!

Tired race fan at Tertre Rouge during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday 18 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

Jacques Nicolet (FRA) / Pierre Nicolet (FRA) / Erik Maris (FRA) driving the #33 LMP2 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P217-Gibson Pit Crew catching a nap during the 2017 24 Hours Le Mans race at Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday 18 June 2017. Photo: Ian Skelton

A few more hours ticked by & soon the checkered flag was out & ready for the winning cars to cross the line.

Champagne Spraying 24Hrs Le Mans 2017 motorsport photography by Ian Skelton Photography

I can’t wait to go back in 2018….maybe even twice, as its Historic Le Mans too next year!!

For a larger collection of images from my 4 day shoot please visit Photo Galleries or

.

BTCC Media Day – 2017

BTCC Media Day – Donington Park 2017

I beat my 5am wake up alarm by 5 minutes & turned it off before it woke the whole house… The body clock is a strange thing! Up & out for the 2 hour drive to BTCC Media Day – Donington Park 2017. The last time I was at Donington Park racing circuit was for a rally Dad was driving in. That time unfortunately I had not been able to acquire a Photo/Media pass from the organisers of the event. Today would be my first time with accreditation to the circuit, so I was really looking forward to it.

Two hours passed in no time thanks to a Ronnie’s Drive Thru breakfast & a spot of Chris Evans. Soon I was pulling into the Paddock car park & getting signed in.

Time to get the tabard on…

Order of the day was to be an introduction & interview with the Teams/Drivers in the Media Suite.

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

This would then be followed by arranged photo sessions out on the track with the chance to see the car’s new liveries for this season. Then we were lead through the Pit Lane to the Start Line area for a photo session to get traditional ‘The Class of 2017’ shot & driver profile images.

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

Once these were safely in the bag, it was back to the Media Centre for a very welcome buffet lunch & a coffee. The highlight of the day was to follow…

4hrs of Official Testing…

Bang on 1pm the garage doors opened & the noise of these incredible cars increased. Nosing out into overcast daylight they made their way out on to the track.

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

The next 4 hours were a frenzy  of activity as the teams tried out set ups & tyres compounds.

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

It didn’t go completely smoothly & the session was interrupted by several Red Flags to remove cars from the travel traps etc. The marshals & recovery crews did a fantastic job & the very minimum of time was lost before the cars were back out. A final Red Flag with just 20 minutes of the day remaining, made for an exciting final period. All cars were readied & queuing to squeeze the last flying seconds from their times.

BTCC Media Day - Donington Park 2017

Top honours went to Tom Ingram in his Toyota Avensis.

If BTCC season launch day is anything to go by, the 2017 Championship is going to be awesome to watch!!

Thank you BTCC Media Day – Donington Park 2017 for your hospitality, see you next year.

Please enjoy a large collection of photos from the event in Photo Galleries

 

 

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