Britcar 24 is a legend in the motorsport world. It’s not nearly as prestigious as the Le Mans or Nurburgring 24 hour races, but it has it’s own cult following of amateur and professional racers wanting to tame Britain’s famous Grand Prix track for 24 hours in all sorts of weather conditions.
Though I was not able to photograph the entire race, I was able to shoot the first 9 hours before I left for Rockingham to cover British Touring Cars. Silverstone is a vast expanse of flat tarmac making it a challenge to shoot, but it’s history as a Formula One track with some of the best corners known to racing made it a fairly exciting place to be for an American motor racing fanatic….like me. The wide diversity of cars entered in the race made for an exciting mix of speed and variation. However, there was one shocking thing lacking from the Britcar24. Noise.
RANT ALERT: British racing has a real problem on it’s hands. Due to local complaints from residents living around the circuit, SEVERE noise restrictions have been placed on racing cars all over the UK. The cars have basically been castrated into something not much louder than your average road car. I mean for Christ’s sake, the Honda Fit race car running in the race was black flagged for noise violation!!!! Personally, I think anyone complaining about buying a house near a race track needs to have their head examined. Most of these tracks predate the neighborhoods around them. It’s much like buying a house near a railroad track or an airport. What did you expect? A quiet life? Whoever it is that is complaining should either A) never have bought the home B) stop whinging about the tourism and extra cash flow that comes pouring into the area because of racing C) move to the middle of no where Scotland where they can live in peace with their sheep. There are those who may (and probably will) argue with me, but noise is one aspect of what brings people to the races. You go to enjoy the spectacle of car racing for all that it is. When you neutralize what is exciting in racing, crowd numbers will fall, sponsorships will plummet, cars will not race and series will disappear. This isn’t difficult math. Look around the grandstands or infield at Britcar and my point is well proven. It had to have been some of the lowest attendance for a race in many years. RANT OVER.
So after shooting the start, and shooting a variety of corners of the cars that I thought would end up being major players in the race, I made my way toward what I thought would be the best sunset photos. It didn’t disappoint. As the sun sank low in the sky, I was simply enjoying the sights and (what little) sounds I could soak in from Silverstone. It was a beautiful evening. After fish and chips for dinner, a quick edit of photos, I grabbed my buddy Jon and the two of us decided to go make some long exposure photos of the cars winding their way around the circuit. At close to 10pm, 7.5 hours into the race, it was well and truly dark, and after discovering that the vast majority of the Silverstone grandstands had been locked up for the night, we improvised. I’ll simply leave it at that. After many tries and many different angles and corners attempted, it was a success with both of us making images we were happy with. We decided to call it a night around 1:00am and headed for bed, which for me was the back of my rented Audi A5 that Hertz had kindly upgraded me to. While it has been a pleasure and a half to drive, it’s not made for sleeping. It was a restless night at best.
And with that, I concluded my adventure at Silverstone. I awoke bright and early to beat the crowds heading for Rockingham Speedway and British Touring Cars (BTCC).