2018 Bathurst 12 hours

Seems odd that this blog has been on hiatus since the 2017 Bathurst 12 hours, but the 2018 edition seems like as good an excuse as any to put a few shots up on the interwebs.  If you’re interested in more frequent updates, please follow @rennphoto on Twitter and Instagram.

20180204-IMG_945620180203-076A8638The 2018 race was another memorable event.  Whether you call the venue the “Blue Hell” (coined by Maro Engel) or the “Monaco of the Outback” (coined by Tim Pappas) or just “the Mountain” as a shorthand for Mount Panorama, there is no question that the Bathurst 12 hour race is now a mandatory fixture on the global sportscar racing scene.


The quality of teams and drivers, the support of manufacturers, and the amount of global attention are tangible signs of the event’s prominence.  After all, an event three hours west of Sydney is not nearby or on the way to anything else, so there is a serious commitment of time, energy and resources to make it happen.

20180203-076A8329The story of the race has been told in media and print elsewhere, but a few points of note here…

20180203-076A8533First, two Pro-Am Porsches outran many full factory driver squads and came within a hair of a 1-2 overall win.  If not for an early race stoppage, the Audi and Mercedes that finished at the top would have needed another pit stop for fuel and would have surrendered the lead.  The shiny green Black Swan Racing Porsche made its first visit to the Mountain and impressively claimed third overall and first in the Pro-Am class.  The #12 Competition Motorsports Ice Break/Virgin Australia car shares Southern California was right behind, following their class win and second overall in 2017.  Both cars sport Southern California connections which is a great sign of international support.

20180202-076A778720180202-076A8010Second, safety cars played a major part in the first half of the race before the race was ended early due to a major crash.   The early safety cars allowed amateurs to get their drive times in early and turn the wheel over to their professional co-drivers.  The interruptions also allowed cars to stay on the lead lap or catch up when they fall behind.

20180204-IMG_9142Third, Bathurst is a great spectator track.  Plenty of different views and angles and viewpoints.  Rewards if you’re willing to do some walking.  Easy to get around.  Spectator friendly areas atop the pit lane complex.  Shuttle buses.  Seats, seats with shade, places to bring a lawnchair or spread a blanket, places to set up a picnic area under a tent.  Camping trackside.  To be fair, lodging is sparse near Bathurst, food is relatively expensive, and mid-summer weather can include blazing sunshine to rain.   Same could be said about most race tracks in some form though…

20180203-IMG_8431The unique format of starting in the early morning darkness is wonderful.  The dark running doesn’t last long before the sunrise claims the day, but it is wonderful.

20180204-076A8762Make your plans to join the fun trackside or follow along via the web in 2019.  In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of a few selected shots…





2017 Bathurst 12hr – Wall Racing Porsche 997 Cup

Number 6 in the 2017 Bathurst 12 hour field was a local entry with four Aussie drivers in a bright yellow Porsche Cup car.  The amateur entry included Richard Gartner, Aaron Zerefos, Indiran Padayachee and Ric Shaw.  They finished, credited with 22nd place over all and 4th in class.  I can not find a photo of the car showing any damage or even so much as a wheel rub tire mark on its flanks or dent on its nose.  Congrats to the drivers and team on a clean run and a finish!  Enjoy the pics.

2016 Sonoma PwC Paddock – Wright Racing 959 and 911 Race car

Walking through the paddock can provide interesting visual comparisons if you keep a keen watch for such opportunities.  A black road going Porsche 959 resided with the Wright Racing team for the weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge paddock.20160918-20160918-076a8431 20160918-20160918-076a8457

Getting a chance to have a close look at a 959 is always a treat but after the second race on Sunday, the team parked the black 959 against the fence alongside one of the team’s team’s 911 race cars.  The chance to visually line up the 1980s supercar with its modern day racing brother was not to be missed.

The Southwest Star 4Q 2016

Hot off the virtual presses – check out the 4Q 2016 issue of The Southwest Star:

And More!!

Porsche 911 GTLM Repairs

076a4508Unfortunate contact between Johnny Mowlem in the #20 BAR1 Prototype Challenge car and Nick Tandy in the 911 GTLM car in Turn 3 resulted in both cars spinning, but the Porsche suffered the worst of the damage.  The car backed into the barrier to driver’s left doing major damage.  At the time of the contact, the Porsche was running third in class with four hours to go.

Tandy drove the very damaged car back to the paddock and the crew descended on it.  While clearly out of contention, the crew methodically rebuilt and repaired the car to ensure it could re-emerge before the end of the race and take the checkered flag.  As might be expected of top-line professionals, the work was urgent but not hurried.  Few words were exchanged as the team worked closely together.  A group of spectators gathered around the Porsche tent to watch.

Yes, the repaired 911 returned to the track – at 9:02pm.  Enough time to see the white flag and then take the checkered flag at 9:10pm.

Camera Settings – 1/125 shutter speed, f/3.5, ISO 100, 88mm.

Park Place Porsche at Speed

076a4322Nothing magic about this shot, but photographer’s prerogative to include.  The nose of the Porsche is in focus while the blur towards the rear of the car and in the foreground and background gives the sensation of speed.  The shot was taken between Turn 2 and 3 at Road Atlanta.

The finish was not as pretty.  The Park Place Porsche ran afoul of the rule for driver times and was demoted from its second place GTD finish to the back of the GTD field.  The team had Balance of Performance objections and made very clear it wouldn’t have elected to run in the race but for prior sponsor and business obligations.   Note the Justice Brothers sticker in front of the left wheel.  The Justice Brothers have been in motorsport for years and have been a very active supporter of all forms of motorsport through their sponsorships of both teams and drivers.

Camera Settings – 1/200 shutter speed, f/5.6, ISO 100, 200mm.

Porsche 912 Pit Stop Practice

076a3355A pit stop has many moving parts.  Practice doesn’t eliminate the risk of error, but it does mitigate it.  The importance ought to be clear by all of the big factory-backed squads doing full scale practice as the very last thing at the end of the very last practice before the Petit Le Mans race on Saturday at Road Atlanta.  All the drivers for all the cars were busy doing the same thing.

In the midst of the full dress rehearsal for the Porsche 912 car, Frederic Makowiecki’s hand on Michael Christensen’s back signals the urgency.  Unseen in the photo is the ever-present stopwatch used by the Porsche crew chief to time the practice stops.

Even though the time sheets from the morning session were irrelevant, given all the activity up and down pit lane, watching pit lane for this 30 minutes or so on race morning was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Camera Settings – 1/320 shutter speed, f/6.3, ISO 100, 420mm.

Porsche GT3 Race Safety Car


Porsche simply has ruled single make racing for years and the GT3 Cup is the current American version of the Carrera Cup formula that races in many venues globally.  The two Road Atlanta Petit LeMans Porsche GT3 support races enjoyed healthy grids and very right racing.  These types of series provide the training ground for the drivers that may run someday professionally in the main event.

Single make racing usually proves for extremely close racing and passes are made by bravery and craft and taking advantage of mistakes made by others.  The first of two GT3 races during the weekend took place on Thursday and had the members of the media center glued to the start and watching the action.

The safety car board and double yellow flags waved at the start-finish flagstand slowed the field to address an incident during the race.

Camera Settings – 1/250 shutter speed, f/11, ISO 100, 420mm.  With the benefit of some sympathetic cropping, this photo captures both the starter’s stand and the first 10 cars of the large field along pit straight.  The challenge of such a shot is to keep all of the actors in focus and avoid too much blurring of either the flagstand or the cars passing below.

#7 Rebel Rock Porsche into the 10a Gravel Trap


Turn 10 is ripe for action and a great place to watch at Road Atlanta.  The hard left turn is situated at the end of a long downhill straight.  Cars carry significant speed at the end of a long downhill straight before encountering a hard left and right turn sequence.  The left hander is known as 10a and the right hander is known as 10b.  It is one of the best opportunities to pass on the entire track.

Practice is the best time to watch drivers test their braking marks into Turn 10.  In Thursday practice for the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, the #7 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche Cayman spun on its own and into gravel trap – throwing up a spray of gravel before coming to a stop.

Drivers for the Street Tuner class car were shown as Lee Carpentier and Kieron O’Rouke.

The car was towed out and the driver continued on his way, likely with tires in much more poor condition and gravel tucked away in deep corners of the car for the crew to find.

Camera settings – 1/250 shutter speed, f/10, ISO 100, 420mm.