Behind the scenes with #Nismo at the Blancpain Endurance GT Series Silverstone

It’s been decades since I’ve been motor racing

The last race I attended was with my Dad  – in the woods behind the house I grew up in. It was the 80’s and the height of Group B rally. We drove up into the woods along the farm access tracks, deep into the forest. Just driving there in Dads Mk1 Range Rover was an experience in itself – what was waiting for us on our arrival would change me forever. I could hear it all before I could see it, with the windows down the cold air and the smell of race fuel high in octane filling the car

_DSC0089.jpg_effected

The now legendary sound of the glorious five cylinder Audi Quattros ricocheted around us, the pops, crackles and turbo dumps all in natures original surround sound. When we got close enough to see them ‘fly’ through the mud, I saw flames come out the back – from that moment I have been and always will be a Motorsports fan

_DSC0077.jpg_effected

_DSC0061.jpg_effected

_DSC0064.jpg_effected
crop_001

As I pulled into the parking lot of Silverstone decades later, again I could hear it all before I could see it. Again the smell of octane and then the first gimps through to the track just as a BMW Motorsport team, Triple Eight Racing BMW Z4 GT3 passed with it’s V8 on full attack mode thumping out its truly majestic exhaust note – ricocheting around the grandstand, pumping across the car lot deep into the neighboring fields – taking no prisoners in it’s wake

I was home and every hair on my arms stood on end, this was going to be an  epic visceral experience. All man and machine at its very, very best

_DSC0121.jpg_effected

_DSC0124.jpg_effected

_DSC0137.jpg_effected

What I was so touched by was the human aspect of the event

It was truly the “home of motorsport” for the weekend of GT racing. Its teams, manufacturers, drivers and fans alike all made the day what it was – devoid of ego and a genuine experience of people at their best

crop_002

_DSC0164.jpg_effected

_DSC0098.jpg_effected

Of all the drivers I met over the weekend, Alex Buncombe really stands out for me. Not because he had poll position for the race – because he and I talked about the joys of newborns and just how good Bugaboo baby buggies are. We didn’t talk about cars, the race or the series. Although this was not the exception, everyone I spoke with was welcoming, supportive and genuinely proud to be there. No one was just ‘doing a job’ they were far beyond that both physically and emotionally, almost zen like in their dedication to the work in hand – be that driver, manager, pr or mechanic

_DSC0079.jpg_effected

The Nismo team busied themselves around the melay of fans, press, sponsors, film crews and me. Cooley and calmly setting up the two GTR’s for the impending battle that is GT touring car racing. Outside behind the paddock there was almost more activity – this usually goes unnoticed by the fans, who chase autographs and smart phone pics of the drivers. A small dedicated army are setting up all the tyres for the next three hours. Fuel cells are prepared in advance, last minute changes just don’t happen here – all to a military precise strategy and schedule. Even down to the hand preparation of the very set of tyres that won Alex his poll position, painstaking work – backbreaking, utterly valuable, quantifiable and essential. He was a real artist too

twoup_0011

Everyone at Von Ryan Racing was super cool and efficient.  Although my German isn’t that good, it’s good enough to know that for a couple of mechanics there was a real issue getting the stunning RSR Porsche GT3 ready. They were as cool as ice – no, really where most folk would really loose it at this point they just kept their wits about them and dealt with the task in hand

_DSC0151.jpg_effected

_DSC0156.jpg_effected

_DSC0144.jpg_effected

_DSC0150.jpg_effected

There’s a real lesson in just how professional the professionals are. Even down to the tyre pressure monitors, to point zero zero one?! That’s seriously accurate with this guy checking and double checking, with both speed and accuracy, charm and humor as I photographed him

_DSC0142.jpg_effected

_DSC0068.jpg_effected

After all Nismo are doing things a little differently

That’s why we love them. They’ve totally embraced the social media side of life, and as a direct result brought motorsport with a #Nismo flare to tens of thousands who otherwise would be quite literally missing it all

The Nissan PlayStation Academy, has opened up the sport of Motor Racing to a totally different breed of driver – I am, to be honest a little mixed about this. On the one hand, I’m a closet Gentleman Racer and on the other I do think it’s fantastic that a whole new generation of Racers get the training, exposure and support of such a great team – without nepotism or bank roll. The bit I just don’t get is this – the two guys I know who can really drive a PlayStation convincingly, one doesn’t even have a drivers license and the other is so bad on the open road he really shouldn’t – but, #Nismo have made it work and work it does …and their carbon black livery is just pure dope

_DSC0066.jpg_effected

_DSC0093.jpg_effected

_DSC0176.jpg_effected

Most of all a very warm and friendly thank you to team #Nismo who welcomed me into to their paddock with open arms. This then gave me access to the entire ‘behind the scenes’ which enabled me to take these photos and share them with you here. It’s the people who design, build, maintain, race, run, manage, prepare and repair the cars. Alone they’re just cars – add the people and it’s an event, a homecoming and most of all where we lose ourselves for the weekend to find ourselves all the better for it

#eat sleep race repeat
again & again & again, Amen

‘Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting’

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s