Andy Blackmore Design has released the official IMSA Sebring 12 hour spotter guide.
Download it as a companion for watching the race. I always rely on these guides when marshaling.
Rolex 24 at Daytona is my first major event of the 2017 season. The race itself was the second trip to Florida this year because I decided to participate earlier in the month of January for the “Roar before the 24” pre-race which was super exciting. The difference for the race for me was my role: I worked as pit & grid marshal.
Pit & Grid is an exciting position which I had first experienced while in New Zealand working a V8 Supercars race on the streets of Hamilton before they moved it to the Pukekohe permanent circuit. It was fun because it was so different, and because of the general proximity I had to the cars. There we were warned to watch our toes because the V8’s drivers would totally run over us on their way to their grid position. For the Daytona 24 hour event our services were not needed on the grid, or in the pits for that matter. I worked on the cold side of things in the paddock, making sure cars could leave the garages and enter or exit pit lane without running over someone else’s toes. So our job was really to be a spectator marshal. And after serving in this role at Pocono Raceway last year for an IndyCar event with Team Pocono, a race that doens’t normally use marshals, it was a preview into a role I totally would love to work more often.
I have made a ton of other posts already showing off the photos I took during some ad hoc grid walks (runs) and the up-close-and-personal look at the Mazda DPi cars which I really wanted to do. Or the acute gout attack that I got post-race that I am still recovering from more than two weeks later. So I’m not going to babble on about that. But I want to reinforce just how much this race was enjoyable this year, partly because of my assignment I think. The amount of cars was great. The amount of brand new cars was fascinating. And the crowds of spectators that came out to celebrate this event was very much impressive. I loved every moment of it!
I think this experience will effect my desire to work IMSA events again this season… perhaps as soon as March with a return trip to Florida to work St. Pete Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hour.
So stay tuned….
I’m also eager to come up with another international trip for this season, my goal is to marshal in a country where I haven’t marshaled before. This would be the big #16 and as always Asia is at the top of my list, I’d love to do Macau Grand Prix for the first time. But also Azerbaijan with Baku Grand Prix isn’t out of the question. But perhaps Latin America will finally make a list. I’d love to go to Brasil to to a Grand Prix there… or even better one of their Supercars events. Stay tuned for sure.
The 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona was a blast for me! I got to see all the cars up close and personal and spend a good chunk of the race in the paddock shooing people out of the way of speeding cars and crew that kept those cars going for the duration of the race.
Unlike previous times I volunteered to work pit & grid which for this event turned out to be more of a “crowd control” role in the paddock across the gate from pit lane… anytime cars left the track to go to the garages or returned to the track after a repair during the race I had work to do, making sure the spectators don’t get run over… or a car doesn’t lose time unnecessarily because of pedestrian traffic. That was fun!
Also unlike previous times where I would just barely get a chance to sneak into the paddock to take some pictures, I hardly took any even though I was in the paddock the entire time. I almost missed the grid walk because it was so busy before the race. But my boss was really cool and when the announcer called to clear the grid, I ran out there to snap some shots. My goal was to get the Mazda MRT24-P DPi’s which were a hell of a way down the Le Mans style pit lane past the GTD, GTLM and PC fields. I did manage to snag some shots of them, but because they started playing the national anthem I didn’t bother going all the way down to P1 spot to catch a photo of the Cadillacs. Touche…
Here’s the pix:
The variety of cars was absolutely outstanding… much like the previously mentioned fields in the Pirelli World Challenge… but of course this series also sports the uber quick prototypes. I have to admit besides the Mazda’s, the GT field was my favorite!
The PC field remained unchanged and to be honest those cars are getting old, I’d be OK not seeing them return the following season. The prototypes were dominated by Cadillac DPi’s which was pretty disappointing. Mazda’s DNF’s were super disappointing too. Though I was quite happy to see the Spirit of Daytona / Visit Florida P2 finish third. That was a fluke especially since that car started from the back of the prototype grid. I’m super happy though to have had this opportunity to see the cars so up close and personal. Best time at Rolex 24 ever for me.
Oh yeah… and I got to watch both the start and the finish from pit lane along with all the teams and official IMSA photographers.
This was my first Roar before the 24 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
For a motorsport event this was an interesting one because officially there wasn’t actually any racing taking place, it was all practice sessions over a three day period. The reason for my participation is my desire to check out several of the brand new race cars making their debut this IMSA racing season. Among them of course is the Mazda DPi car. As well as the Cadillac DPi’s, and the Nissan Ligiers, and the Oreca’s and Riley’s. As well as Acura NSX GT3’s, the Lexus
IS-F RC-F GT3’s (I previously referred to the Lexus as IS-F it’s actually RC-F), the new mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR GTE’s, Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3’s finally debuting in America. McLaren 570S GT4’s debuting in the support series alongside Porsche Cayman GT4’s.
This post will be all the good, the bad and the ugly opinions.
Lots of cars in attendance. I’m very pleased with the Acura’s, the Lexus, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche’s, Mazda and Cadillac DPi’s and the LMP2’s from Oreca, Ligier and Riley. All those cars… it was great to see them on track shaking things down.
I’m really glad I got a few opportunities to take some pictures. It was important to me to have some good memories I can share with friends, and I call it mission accomplished. It was very good to work with my friend John all weekend, who took some awesome pix for me also. He let me crash at his house and even let me catch a ride to the track with him every day. Definitely appreciate that! CFR SCCA was excellent. We received $25 Gas Cards for every day of participation and $50 hotel credit (IOU’s) for future CFR events. (Which I think I may actually cash in during Sebring or St. Pete)
Also really happy to run into other flag marshals that drive Miatas
Weather was cold. Like stupid cold. I was prepared to a degree… since I drove my Miata down I loaded it up with multiple pairs of clothes. I had 4 white t-shirts, 3 white hoodies, 2 pairs of white pants, 1 white jacket, 1 non-white jacket, and a whole bunch of undershirts…. not to mention a few bandanas which came very useful to block the arctic wind from hitting my face. But it was still stupid cold! I was thinking I could handle 59F in the evening and 65F during the day. We dropped down to 35F on Sunday, and had most of the day raining on Saturday with the temperatures dropping. The wind was especially killer!
This was how bundled up I was, and still cold:
That said, Friday… the first day of the event was T-shirt weather. I think it was in the high 70’s and I got a nice sunburn on my face!
There was a lot of opportunities to take some awesome shots of race cars while Media vans were shooting their official photos on track (while we were off-duty) unfortunately our station was way too far from the track to get a decent shot.
I like most BMW Art Cars… except this year’s. I think this year’s model with the polka-dots on the front, and roof is stupid! The word “FAST” on driver’s side and an actual picture of that race car stickered on the passenger door is just dumb…. I don’t understand the attraction other than the stupidity of it and for that reason I find it very ugly!
The other ugly news during the event was another shooting in FLL – Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida… one of my favorite airports to fly into when going to Miami and South Florida. That was not good news… in fact that was ugly news, and it ran right under the news about the Roar before the 24 in the paper:
For an event that I thought I would never do again, I would totally do this again. Both the Roar before the 24 and the Daytona 24h race.
It was a blast!
Good people though made this experience possible for me.
What an amazing opportunity!
Weather was freezing cold… literally! 37F for the final day of practice on Sunday. It was sunny but windy. But the day went by fairly quickly, we finished pretty early for a day at the track and before returning our equipment to Central Florida SCCA compound we made a dash for the paddock to take some more pix.
I’m so glad we did because the pix came out great, and there weren’t too many spectators in the way of the cars to take good shots. Enjoy:
I’m really happy with this whole trip so far, everything I wanted to do I managed to accomplish and it’s a great feeling. Can’t wait to come back for the 24 hour race at the end of the month!
Did not think I’d go back to Daytona, until I saw all the entries for the 2017 IMSA season… wow! The new DPi programs are in full effect. There are several GTE and GT3 machines with new manufacturers. I had to be here. Not once but twice… Not just for the 24 hour race at the end of January… but the Roar before the 24 in the beginning of the month.
Here are some pix from Turn 4, working with my good friend John Gamble:
Pretty impressive line up in the GT field:
The prototype field is also expanded with new Cadillac DPi replacing the familiar Corvette Daytona Prototypes. Mazda has a new skin, but a very similar engine sound to the old Lola. Lots of Orecas, a few Ligier Nissans, etc.
In the Continental Tire support group the McLaren GT4 is really balancing out the Porsche Cayman GT4 dominance.
More pix from the pit walk:
And some shots from Station 4:
And a delicious pizza dinner with the Gambles Friday night:
Looking forward to the rest of the weekend even if Saturday is supposed to be very wet…. more to come!
Registration to volunteer the 2014 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is now open. Road Atlanta has also released a rather spiffy brochure:
Promoting the event, while also including some interesting info.
To download your copy of the brochure click here: http://www.roadatlanta.com/images/Fall-2014.pdf
Read more about Petit Le Mans and Road Atlanta here: http://www.roadatlanta.com/
Register as a marshal for Petit Le Mans here: https://www.motorsportreg.com/
What an incredible event! The ALMS Grand Prix of Mosport at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was my second year in a row participating with MMS – Motorsport Marshalling Services crew from Ontario, Canada there. And although the racing itself was probably less exciting than it was last year, I had a far better time participating this year. And this is why: friends!
I had signed up to volunteer Toronto Indy to optimize my time spent in Canada. As usual going into Ontario was a breeze which is always refreshing. I got super lucky to be hosted for the Toronto Indy by CouchSurfing friends that I first met in Korea during the F1 event there last year. The Indy race was OK, I was assigned a wonderful corner, but I didn’t really work it except for one day when I kind of got to play at the crash zone. Long story short, the true reason I went up to Canada was ALMS. This was my fourth time participating in the series this year, and they’re only up to five races so far, not bad! The only one I missed was Sebring because it was the same weekend as Australian GP.
So heading to Bowmanville for ALMS at Mosport, I was again hosted by a wonderful CouchSurfer who let me use her house for a few days between the races where I had absolutely nothing to do but eat poutine for lunch and surf the web. That worked out really well. What was also nice is the fact she got a new pet, a nice beagle named Kip that sounds exactly like my Maxi Max. For the actual ALMS race I crashed in the marshal camping area using Frank and Judy’s pop up, which was very nice of them to let me use. I had worked with these awesome Canadians for the past two Montreal F1 races, as well as the ALMS last year and Toronto Indy a week prior. Great people!
Once the race weekend rolled around, some more new friends showed up from the States, specifically a trio of Detroit marshals whom I have invited to blog on this web site. I feel silly confessing I was wrong by making semi-sarcastic comments on my facebook about Canada being predictable. Of course I didn’t get selected to work the paid test day for ALMS weekend, but I was encouraged to volunteer which is what I came to do in the first place. And of course I wouldn’t get to blue flag because that’s a speciality typically reserved for the locals, but I was wrong on both accounts. I got some gas money for working the test day and was the designated blue flagger for the entire ALMS weekend. Which was beyond fantastic, special thanks to Richard and Barbara Dobbs of MMS whom I had the pleasure of working Detroit GP together with, whom I’m sure made this all happen for me. Thank you!
The weather over the weekend went from extreme heat to extreme rain, to moderate cold. Racing was good, but not very spectacular. And I was very much busy the entire time blue flagging. Happy beyond belief! Wish more race weekends were like this one. My CouchSurfer friends were also recruited to try their hand working the Start/Finish stand with Judy, which is awesome… they came out to the race to spectate and we spend a lot of quality time together hanging out, including a quick trip for more poutine, my last meal before heading home to New Jersey.
CouchSurfers Will & Holly, my recent recruits to marshal at Mosport doing Start/Finish