2012 Winter Testing at Sebring

#06 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09: Anthony Downs, Lucas Downs, Matt Downs (Darren Pierson)

#06 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09: Anthony Downs, Lucas Downs, Matt Downs (Darren Pierson)

In 2011, we didn’t arrive at Winter Testing until tuesday, so we missed out on the IMSA Lites testing. That wasn’t really an option this year, so we made sure to arrive early on Sunday. We landed outside the track, grilled some hot wings and watched the Super Bowl. For fun, our DirecTV receiver decided to die during Madonna’s halftime show. Thankfully, it took little time to fire up my MAC and pull in the show via our slingbox we have set up at her parent’s house. We only missed a song or two. Also there was more football afterward, but since the Steelers were not playing, we didn’t pay much attention other than to be happy the Patriots lost.

Winter Testing is a rather odd thing to attend. The track is in a testing setup, so many of the fences and barriers are absent. There are no wall to wall RVs to shoot against. Quite a few of the teams and drivers are not there. The track is nearly empty of fans. Most obvious is the lack of livery on the cars.  Many are brand new, squeaky white and devoid of color. They are not really the cars that you want to see. You must look to the drivers themselves, the crews, the garages. Create.

The sun was being a PITA, by that I mean it hid behind a wall of clouds all week. Bitchy aren’t I? 🙂

Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to Cooper Prototype Lites and IMSA GT3 Challenge. I spent the morning of Monday shooting the cars on track and most of the rest of the two days working the pits and their garages. I think some strong shots came from spending time away from the track and the safety of shooting the cars.

Tristan Nunez (Darren Pierson)

Tristan Nunez (Darren Pierson)

Shooting the crews at work in the garages is an unusual experience in itself, they tend to be amused by the attention and often say things like “Why do you want a picture of me? I’m just a mechanic” I’ve never had any problems with access though, a simple request to come in and shoot was all it ever took. I suppose if I kicked a few things over they might send me on my way, but so far I have been able to avoid breaking things.

Looking back at my shots from last year, it seems like there were more GT3 teams in attendance in 2011, but since I didn’t count them, I cannot be sure. It was simply a feeling that the car count was lower across all of the classes. Hopefully that is not an indication of the state of the series for 2012, as indications at the end of the season were positive. I guess we will see at the 12 Hours.

#36 TPC Racing Porsche GTC: Michael Levitas (Darren Pierson)

#36 TPC Racing Porsche GTC: Michael Levitas (Darren Pierson)

The last two days of testing were dedicated to the ALMS cars.  There were some interesting driver/car happenings such as the Downs brothers from Cooper Lites in in the CORE #06 LMPC but again, the car count seemed low.  With the obvious absence of the RSR Jags, most of the GT2 regulars were there. The only P1 car on the entry list was the Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a and unless I was asleep during part of the last day, its only appearance was sporadically though the last session of the week. Although disappointing, it did run some fairly good times with its fastest lap being 1:48.192 which is not far from the qualifying time of the Audi R15+ of McNish at the 2011 running of the Sebring 12 Hours. Winner of the the least interesting fact category: the 055 HPD ARX-03 of Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz bested the 95 HPD ARX-03 of Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz by nearly 2 10ths.  I am happy to hear that AJR will be running a Lotus on GT2 this year, that should be fun to watch.

We are off to Palm Springs International Raceway to cover the Cooper Tires Winterfest.  See you there!

#6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a: Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf, Simon Pagenaud (Darren Pierson)

#6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a: Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf, Simon Pagenaud (Darren Pierson)

All of my Galleries can be viewed at dPerceptions MotorSports Photography

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IMSA GT3 Challenge

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