WeatherTech International Challenge 2016 @ Road America (Vintage Cars)

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THE WEATHERTECH® INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE WITH BRIAN REDMAN PRESENTED BY HAWK (VINTAGE CARS)

Words and Photos by: Andrew Smith

Last year I went to Road America for the VSCDA Vintage Festival. I remember seeing photos from some of the most amazing vintage cars belting around the track and rolling through the small town of Elkhart Lake. While the VSCDA event was still a blast and I got some awesome shots, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. After doing some research and talking with a few people, I found out that the vintage weekend you wanted to go to was the Brian Redman weekend. So this past winter, we checked the schedule and put the WeatherTech International Challenge on the calendar. As the weekend approached, I was excited to see what kind of cars ended up in town throughout the weekend.

 Initially we had planned on only heading up Saturday for the races and then the parade, however after texting my buddy Ramon, he informed me that the downtown “car show” and parade was actually Friday night, not Saturday night. A quick text to my co-pilot for the weekend and we decided a last minute trip up there Friday night was in store as well. I got out of work at 5:00 and we quickly headed up to Elkhart lake. Unfortunately we missed the parade into town, but we did get to walk around downtown and get a close up look at many of the vintage race cars.

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There were a few GT350’s running around during the weekend.Edited (2 of 179) Edited (3 of 179) Edited (4 of 179) Edited (5 of 179) Edited (6 of 179) Edited (7 of 179) Edited (8 of 179)

The F40. In my opinion, I think this is the worlds greatest car. The best part of the car is that it is driven, often. This is not a pristine show car, exactly the way it should be.Edited (9 of 179) Edited (10 of 179) Edited (11 of 179) Edited (12 of 179) Edited (13 of 179) Edited (14 of 179) Edited (15 of 179)

I am a huge fan of aftermarket gauges put into the the stock gauge locations in the Datsuns.Edited (16 of 179) Edited (17 of 179)

The greatest racecar ever.Edited (18 of 179) Edited (19 of 179) Edited (20 of 179) Edited (23 of 179) Edited (24 of 179) Edited (25 of 179) Edited (26 of 179) Edited (27 of 179) Edited (29 of 179) Edited (28 of 179)Edited (30 of 179)

One of the most beautiful street cars I saw throughout the weekend.
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As it was getting late and we still had a hour ride home, we started to walk back out of town to our car. The plan was to catch a spot at the end of the parade route and watch the race cars head back to the track.

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The site of vintage Can Am race cars slowly cruising down the street of a small town like Elkhart Lake was breathtaking. Sitting alongside the road, your chest was compressed by the side exit exhausts and massive cylinders.
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This poor guy wasn’t able to make it out under his own power.Edited (55 of 179) Edited (56 of 179)

As the parade ended, we walked back to the car to start our trek home. Knowing that we would be heading right back up in about 9 hours, we chatted about our future car plans and relaxed on the drive home.

The next day we awoke early and headed back up to Road America. We parked by carousel corner, and I set up at the exit to Turn 8 excited to try out my new 300mm F2.8 prime! While I have shot at Road America with longer lenses longer than my 300mm, I havent shot with anything that could isolate the subject quite as well as the 2.8. I struggled with learning how to shoot a large prime on a monopod, but I started to get the hang of it.
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After shooting at Turn 8 for a little while, we head back to the car to grab some water and then head to the outside of turn 9 (Carousel).Edited (62 of 179)Edited (67 of 179)Edited (68 of 179)Edited (69 of 179)Edited (70 of 179)Edited (71 of 179)Edited (72 of 179)Edited (73 of 179)Edited (74 of 179)

After testing out my new 70-200mm VR II lens, I switched back to the 300mm and we headed to the outside of Turn 7 to sit in the bleachers and relax while watching the qualifying races.

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I always enjoy grabbing a few photos of other photographers working.Edited (84 of 179) Edited (85 of 179) Edited (86 of 179) Edited (87 of 179) Edited (88 of 179) Edited (89 of 179) Edited (90 of 179) Edited (91 of 179) Edited (92 of 179) Edited (93 of 179) Edited (94 of 179) Edited (95 of 179) Edited (96 of 179) Edited (97 of 179) Edited (98 of 179) Edited (99 of 179)Edited (94-1 of 179)

It was at this point where my dreams came true. This same F1 car had been at the previous vintage weekend that I went to, but I didnt have a decent camera at that event. I was hoping all weekend to get a chance to shoot a few photos of the F1 cars.Edited (100 of 179) Edited (101 of 179) Edited (102 of 179) Edited (103 of 179)

To try and get some variety in my shots, I decided to see how slow I could get with my panning. This was shot at 1/200 handheld. And my 300mm F2.8 is not a VR model as well! Not bad for my first time I think! Although i was a little too close on this particular shot.Edited (104 of 179) Edited (105 of 179) Edited (106 of 179) Edited (107 of 179) Edited (108 of 179) Edited (109 of 179)

After seeing the F1 cars, we decided it was time for the most important part of the trip, a Gearbox melt. Basically it is a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger patty in the middle. Add some jalapenos, onions, and BBQ sauce and you have the greatest sandwich ever. After lunch, we headed to Canada corner, my personal favorite. I love shooting through the trees and using them to frame the cars on the track.

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This Corvette got loose throughout the corner and had to lock the wheels in both directions to keep it on track.Edited (122 of 179) Edited (123 of 179) Edited (125 of 179) Edited (126 of 179) Edited (127 of 179) Edited (128 of 179) Edited (129 of 179) Edited (130 of 179)

We finished up at Canada Corner and decided to head down to the pits. Spotted this for sale in the middle of the isle.Edited (132 of 179) Edited (133 of 179) Edited (134 of 179) Edited (135 of 179) Edited (136 of 179) Edited (137 of 179) Edited (138 of 179)

This was one of the coolest cars the entire weekend. This is a true JGTC (Japanese Grand Touring) car from Japan. It was purchased from Nissan directly. Initally it had a 3.0 liter VQ engine that is not currently in it. Plans are to get the car built back up to as close to race spec as possible and race it here next year.Edited (1 of 4) Edited (2 of 4) Edited (3 of 4)

This widebody Porcshe was incredible.Edited (4 of 4)Edited (140 of 179) Edited (144 of 179) Edited (145 of 179)

Yes, that is a 627 horsepower LS engine in a boat motor.Edited (146 of 179) Edited (147 of 179)

One of the best signs seen all weekend.Edited (148 of 179) Edited (149 of 179)

And yes, there was quite a bit of change in there along with a few bills.Edited (150 of 179) Edited (151 of 179) Edited (152 of 179)

This is a true Ferrari, but not an authentic 250 GTO. It is still estimated to be worth just short of 1 million dollars however.Edited (153 of 179) Edited (154 of 179) Edited (155 of 179)

We headed back down to check out the last two races in front of the grandstands at Turn 5.Edited (156 of 179) Edited (157 of 179)

The new video boards were nice to get an idea of what was going on when the cars were on the other side of the track.Edited (158 of 179) Edited (159 of 179) Edited (160 of 179)

The new building is incredible.
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After the last race, we headed for one more lap through the pits to see if there was anything else going on. Most people had already headed out, so it was pretty much dead. We got some pretty good access.Edited (162 of 179) Edited (163 of 179) Edited (165 of 179) Edited (166 of 179) Edited (167 of 179) Edited (168 of 179) Edited (169 of 179) Edited (170 of 179) Edited (171 of 179) Edited (172 of 179)

Unfortunately we did not see this on track Saturday. I wonder if it got out there on Sunday at any point.Edited (173 of 179) Edited (174 of 179) Edited (175 of 179) Edited (176 of 179) Edited (177 of 179)

Look who we ran into as we were heading out!
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Beautifully clean example of an un-molested 240Z. California car, almost completely rust free with low mileage. was for sale and taking offers, currently at $10k +.Edited (179 of 179)

And then we headed home. Overall the day was everything I thought it would be and more. I had ample opportunity to try my new 300mm F2.8 lens, hang out with a few friends, and see some of the coolest race cars throughout history.

-Andrew

This entry was posted in Event Coverage, Motorsports.

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