I can’t image how it feels to drive a race car on the edge at rain. Maybe it is fun, maybe not. Maybe it is important to know in which kind of car you driving through the rain. Of course driving a single seater with open wheels is much more difficult in the rain, I think. But sitting in a Sports-Prototype like a Lola T70 is maybe not really the better option, because of the bad visibility in the cockpit.
The driver of any race car has to manage less grip, less sight and bad breaking performance, but handle a race car at this conditions and driving it as fast as possible is maybe more satisfying than anything else. Someone said that this weather conditions separates the boys from men.
The nature of the tracks is very different. At Nürburgring the tarmac of the Grand Prix track creates more spray than at the Spa Francorchamps circuit for example. The Nordschleife of the Nürburgring has so many different surfaces that the condition and the grip could be different after the next corner and makes it just a bit harder and tougher to drive fast there in the rain.
You see I don’t have really an idea of what it means to drive a race car in the rain because my place at a race track is on the other side of the guardrails.
So at my place behind the barrier I do know what it means to take pictures of race cars in the rain. This is very satisfying, that is for sure. Getting cool pictures is both easy and difficult at the same time. Catching the atmosphere, making the rain visible, showing the speed.
Racing in the rain creates very special motifs
Spinning and sliding cars, the spray behind, sometimes the dust, sometimes the lights shining through – every aspect of racing in the rain creates very special motifs. It is my job to capture all this. The timing is very important, anticipating the movements of the cars – all this will be noticed – pressing the button just in time – that makes a good picture.
Of course one difficulty is to stay as dry as possible by yourself, but much more important is it to keep your equipment dry and functional. This could be very hard to realize, especially the lenses needing attention. They are more delicate to handle in rain than the camera itself.
If you could manage all this, you are able to take great pictures. With a very long shutter, for example, you could make the raindrops visible. With a short shutter you keep the spray frozen.
With the modern digital cameras it is no risk to shoot with a very long shutter, I use sometimes only 1/10 of a second, this is very extreme, but the results are tremendous.
Sometimes at those pictures it seems that the cars flying over the water, sometimes you can see how much water the tires are capable to displace. This is marvelous, capturing scenes like this is the essence of motor racing photography, both easy and difficult, but very much satisfying.
Here are a few examples of pictures showing race cars and their drivers racing in the rain without any fears or having any concerns. I do admire these brave guys giving me the opportunity to shoot them in the rain. And when I take a look at these pictures on my computer, I often think, this looks very crazy but also very cool.
Enjoy the pictures, maybe it gives you a new point of view of watching motor races in the rain.