I thought I would write about something a little different today, you’ll know how big a motorsports fan I am! I am always chatting about it on my social media platforms and I always seem to be at a race circuit. Which is a great thing as this is what I would love to do in the future! Recently I became a member of Dare to be Different, now if you’re not interested in motorsports, you might not have heard about this initiative.
Today I thought I would introduce you to Dare to be Different after attending one of their Community Connect Events over the weekend. In January 2016, Susie Wolff launched Dare to be Different a community for women who work in, or want to work in, any aspect of motorsports. The community was launched in partnership with the Motor Sport Association and their main aim, to drive female talent.
I thought I would introduce you to one of my passions, as some of you know I am a massive fan of motorsports, mainly Formula 1 but also British Touring Car Championship and World Endurance Championship. Before 2014, I had never attended a motorsports championship at Silverstone, a circuit that I constantly drove past whenever I went to my uncle’s.
It wasn’t until I saw Silverstone advertising their Race Maker program that I thought, I should definitely apply for that! It would be a dream come true if I attended an event at Silverstone, I know I lived six hours away and couldn’t drive but I thought why not. You never know unless you apply. My mum threw all sorts of questions at me when I told her I wanted to apply, like how will you get there, where will you live?
I just replied saying, I might not even get it. When I received that email to say can I travel to Silverstone to have an interview, I was over the moon, straight away telling dad that he needs to take me to Silverstone. It also meant my first time visiting Silverstone would be with my dad, who also wanted to visit the circuit but never had free time with his job. Trying to drive from the main gate to the Wing took forever!
For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you will know that I was recently at Silverstone for Rounds 25, 26 & 27 of the British Touring Car Championship. It was a very interesting weekend as the Saturday I was a Silverstone Racemaker, a volunteer at the circuit and then Sunday I was with Team HARD on a VIP Experience.
I thought it would be interesting to give you an insight to my day with the team as this was my first time as a guest. Now these experiences can be pretty pricey, especially if you receive breakfast, lunch and dinner! I paid £99 for Sunday and I can say it was well worth it.
I have never met David Boor, the guy who I have been chatting to over the last couple of months to book the experience. So when I reached the main gate and saw a guy that looked familiar and was wearing team gear, I was very happy to see him. It was a nice welcoming before even reaching their hospitality.
Silverstone is a very large circuit, so it was nice to see a shuttle service from Team HARD to take us to the BTCC paddock. In my three years of going to Silverstone, I haven’t been on a buggy very often. My legs welcomed this as I know the distance it takes to get to the paddock.
From the minute I arrived everyone was happy and friendly, it was even better once we got to their hospitality as I know someone there. They couldn’t of had a better person to welcome you once you arrived, Andrea Hurcombe, who my dad knows from school, was on the door checking everyone in and giving us lanyards.
As soon as I received the lanyard, it felt real, that I was actually with Team HARD for the day. Shortly after breakfast was served, I’m not really a breakfast fan but oh my, this smelt amazing so I was hungry. They had a full English on offer which I loved, minus the black pudding and tomatoes of course!
We had a welcome talk from Simon Hill who explained how they day would pan out, I was amazed at exactly what was included. Other things that I never imagined, how cool going on the grid before the race and being able to watch it from their garage! Before all this we were invited to a garage tour, having a look around their three different cars.
The drivers and mechanics were on hand if we had any questions. It was amazing looking at the cars and seeing the detail up close. I must have looked silly in the way I was taking my photos, trying to get snazzy angle on everything. It was cool looking at the cars, there’s actually not much to them!
After the garage tour, came the fun part, GRID WALK! I was super happy to find out about this. We were allowed to come on the grid before the first race, watching all the cars coming out of their garage to do an out lap so they can line up on the grid. As there were so many guests, they split everyone between the three drivers.
I had to look out for Tony Gilham‘s car, it was pretty easy as they all have grid girls with boards, so it was just trying to find her. Once all the cars were lined up, we were allowed to take photos of the cars and girls on the grid. This is a special moment as it’s literally moments before the start of the race.
Few moments before the start, we had to go back to the garage as we are not allowed on the grid at the start of the race nor in the pit lane. It was super tense in the garage especially when we found out Gilham was coming into the pits! All the mechanics sprang into life and was getting ready for his arrival.
Turns out he had an accident so had to come in for some emergency repairs so he can continue the race. It was amazing watching them rush around the garage picking up spare parts and tools to fix the car. After he returned to the pits it was quiet racing, very enjoyable, even better than watching it from the grandstands.
Once the race was over, it was nice seeing the drivers and their family/friends congratulating them. With the rush over it was time to unwind and continue watching other racing. I did some exploring of the track, checking out the different trade stands. Before I had even realised, it was time for lunch.
The hospitality smelt amazing when we walked it, strong smell of food. Of course with it being a Sunday they had a roast on offer, I jumped at the chances as I just love my roast dinners. It was amazing and exactly what a roast should be, it felt like I was at my Grandparents.
With dinner over we decided to watch the racing from Luffield as this is normally an interesting place, especially with them speeding down from Wellington Straight. It was action packed from the moment they started, with tyres exploding and scary overtakes. Before we even realised it was time for the Driver Q&A.
Now this was comically with drivers explaining their performance, especially if they had an incident with a fellow driver. It was nice listening to them speaking and the enjoyment they receive from racing. After the Q&A, the drivers were signing and taking photos, which I loved as signatures are always nice to have. Pictures more so.
I was planning what to do next when David came over and asked if I wanted to go back on the grid for the last race. Of course I said yes! I wouldn’t let an opportunity like that go to waste. It’s cool being on the grid once, let alone twice. So for the last race we were back on the grid and watching the race from the garage.
Of course there was even more excitement with our drivers and watching them climb up the grid. After the race it was celebration time, with the podium presentation being on the start finish line. It was a special moment for Team HARD here as Mike Epps was presented the Jack Sears Trophy.
With a podium position comes the champagne the fun part, it was nice sharing the enjoyment with the team. Once this was all over it was time to go home and just relax. It was such a lovely weekend with the team and I would like to just say a massive thank-you to everyone there.
Woow, I didn’t realise the post would be that long! Thanks for sticking with me and hope you enjoyed it. Let me know in the comments if you have attended any motorsports events and your thoughts on them. I know there will be plenty more in the future for me, you can keep up to date on my Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.
One day, I hope to be an motorsports journalist, I understand though that the industry is very tough and now a days you need a lot of experience under your belt. For my dissertation for University, I decided to do Long-Form Journalist. Which is basically where you cover photography, writing and broadcast media.
Most of you will probably know that I have a massive love for motorsports so I thought why not attend an Grand Prix weekend. This would be a perfect opportunity to gain experience and use that work for my dissertation. I got in contact with Chris Valentine who is the Media Representative for Britcar Dunlop Endurance.
Last weekend, my dream became a reliability when I became a photographer at Silverstone for Britcar Endurance! This was the perfect opportunity and I looked very professional in my purple media bib. I was super excited but very nervous at the same time. I was quite lucky as I met up with Eric Barnes from Barneshaw Images.
I’m glad I did met up with Eric as there was someone to show me the ropes. Seeing as I haven’t done motorsport photography professionally before. I am massively glad he was there as I made just a few rookie photographer moves that I have now learnt from. First of all, when a camera tells you it’s charged don’t believe it!
After not even an hour of taking photographs my camera decided to give up and start flashing red. Which was a big disappointment as I didn’t even have the charger unit to charge it. Next time, I know what I shall be bringing, a spare battery and the charger! It shows you need to be prepared as I was able to borrow a camera from Eric.
The whole day was a massive learning curve for me as every moment I seemed to be learning something. Throughout the day, my confidence seemed to be growing, I was trying to be more adventurous in the photos I was taking. Even watching the teams perform their amazing pitstops.
It was amazing to have the freedom of pretty much anywhere on the track, I was able to get to places I have been dreaming on for months. Walking around a live pit, the paddock, just walking through different teams garages. The places where some people dream of being. Even trackside behind tyre barriers!
I am very happy with the images that I managed to take, they might not be the best from the weekend but I am proud of them. As I can say they are mine, that I took them trackside as media. If you would like to see them head over HERE to view them in my gallery. I hope you like them as much as I do.
I would like to just say a massive thank-you to Eric as without him I wouldn’t of been able to take any of these photographs. I was able to learn a lot from him and the experience that I will take with me into further motorsports weekends. If you fancy taking a look at his photographs, ahead over to his site HERE.
I hope you have liked this post! Let me know in the comments any advice you would give regarding photography, everyone can learn from one another! Hopefully you’ll be seeing more posts like this as I really enjoyed this experience at Silverstone.