At this point, there aren’t too many tracks in the USA that I haven’t been to. But prior to this weekend, one of the best ones I had yet to visit was Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway and it’s infamous corkscrew.
My lens and I are staring at a wall of sand and hot, black tarmac. The corkscrew is enormous. This corner is infamous in the world of racing, and it is everything that it’s legend expects it to be. It’s not long before I can hear that familiar bark of a Lamborghini V10 engine winding down through the gears. It’s merely a faint sound growing louder, until you see the car turn in tightly at the top of this mountain, then fall almost vertically downward while turning to the right. Meanwhile, the front splitter is making horrible griding and crunching sounds as the car’s suspension fight’s Earth’s gravity, but is ultimately helpless as the car bottoms out. The driver bravely gets back on the power after his free fall, and roars off down the rest of the hill.
Laguna Seca is ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous…Andrew Palmer. You may remember me mentioning this young driving talent in the past. Showed up for his first car race at Virginia International Raceway in August of 2013 with Lamborghini. Since then, he has gone on to win nearly everything he has raced. Now with a full time race seat in the Pirelli World Challenge GMG Audi R8 car, as well as a nearly full time seat in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, AND has just been named as a development driver for Lamborghini’s GT3 squad in Italy, it’s hard not to give credit where credit is due. This guy is quick. As a photographer, one of the things I enjoy most about being track side is just that, being track side. I think a lot of journalists could do themselves a favor and leave the press room and see what is happening on track with their own eyes and ears. Palmer for example. Takes a radically different line through the corkscrew and carries more speed in more places than nearly every other driver I watched in any of the Lamborghnii sessions. And it’s not just the car. They’re all spec remember. There’s little the teams can do to change them. So it’s very much a case of, this driver is good. Pole position on Friday and two race wins for the weekend is about a clean of a sweep as you can have.
Though most of my weekend was dedicated to Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo series, I did get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the United Sports Car series for a few minutes. It’s always a joy to see top level sports car racing. The cars, the drivers, the teams and the sound. It’s all overwhelming. Compared to the buttoned up nature of Formula 1, it’s nice to come home and enjoy a noisy race car that makes the ground shake beneath your feet and see drivers walking about the paddock signing autographs. Like I said, it’s a welcome change of pace.
Next up for me? Well….. you’ll have to wait and see!
As always, thanks to the friendly faces at Lamborghini but especially Tristan, Jason, Chiara, Emily, Martin, Chris, Paul, Ruthie, Gene and so many others.
Tudor United Sports Car Series – Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca
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