Updated: Jun 19, 2019
Petit Le Mans. It was only the third race I covered in my career way back in 2011. And to this very moment, it remains one of my favorite race weekends. I’ve gone far and wide across the globe, and keep coming back to Road Atlanta feeling unsatisfied, but loving every second standing next to this amazing circuit.
The race has changed a lot though. It’s not really “Little Le Mans” anymore, is it? I guess that’s not a bad thing. The European teams that used to flood the paddock gates in early October no longer even consider this race in their schedule, nor are they allowed to with the new IMSA series regulations restricting what types of cars can run. For the moment, America has very much separated itself from the rest of the sportscar racing world, which in my humble photographic opinion, is not the smartest move. I’ll always remember the energy surrounding the Peugeot vs Audi battles at Petit Le Mans. Titanic teams, with unbelievably complex (and QUICK) race cars coming to this little dinky town in Georgia, to duke it out for the last honors of the year…. it was very special to witness.
What’s left is an American race. Not so much a Petit Le Mans, but rather a Little Rolex. A mini version of the famed race around the banked oval of Daytona, held each January. With this new American IMSA series, came new winners. A new class of car on the top step of the podium, and a new set of drivers to cheer for as they douse each other with champagne at the end of a very long day.
So here’s my look at this special race. And the dawn of a new era at Road Atlanta.