Up-Close Action Is What Makes the Long Beach Grand Prix So Brilliant
Only a barrier separates the fans from the racing.
I’ve written about this before, but I can’t stop blabbering about it. One of the things that makes the Long Beach Grand Prix (LBGP) so brilliant is the fact that the fans can get so close to the action.
Car: BMW M6 GT3, Porsche 911 GT3R, Cadillac DPi
Location: Long Beach, California
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D + EF 35-85mm AF Zoom
There’s nothing like walking down a municipal sidewalk while a motorsport event is happening right next to you. With a big concrete barrier and chain-link fence serving as the only protection, some of the fastest race cars ever conceived duke it out with one another just a few feet away.
The action is especially close-up, as the course is tight, technical, and tricky, so racers have very little room to make moves on one another. They have to rely on braking strategies and exit speed, all while fending off one-to-three cars right on their back bumpers. Positions are lost quite quickly off-line, which is only exasperated by “being in the marbles,” meaning in the area of the track where small chunks of disintegrated tire accumulate, which can turn anywhere that isn’t the racing line into an ice rink.
I was stoked to snap this photo at this year’s installment of the LBGP. Pictured is a Whelen Cadillac DPi car that presumably got past everyone quite easily on the previous straightaway. Following behind are Bill Auberlen in his GT3 BMW M6 and Katharine Legge in her Grid Rival/Richard Mille/Champion Porsche 911 GT3R.
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