Perhaps you remember the 2007 ALMS season: the heavyweight contenders were the big Audi diesels, and with no factory-sponsored competition in their class, they dominated the top LMP 1 class all season long. Audi Sport North America won the class every time they went out. Sounds impressive, and it is, but the sheen on their shield was considerably tarnished by the overall victories stolen from them by the supposedly slower LMP 2 Porsches in the hands of the Penske and Dyson teams. Going into the Petit Le Mans weekend, where this Penske RS Spyder is shown practicing, Audi had lost eight in a row to those yellow Porsches, and desperately wanted to win for a change. After 1000 miles of racing, they finally did, less than a second ahead of #7, for the closest finish in Petit history. But after the next and final race at Laguna, they wound up their winning season with many fewer overall wins (and points–258 to 397) than did Porsche with theirs.
The image that I really like from the Petit weekend is the one above that we didn’t wind up using in Panorama. The #7 RS Spyder of Dumas, Bernhard, and Long, running hard in dark, wet weather during practice, closes on the apex of Turn 12. The headlights glow on the dark pavement, making parallel lines to lead the eye into the oncoming car, headed dead on toward the camera, the driver’s face faintly visible behind his visor. The car itself is separated from the background by its vivid color, the short depth of field of the long lens, and the rooster tail thrown up off the wet track.
How it was made
- Nikon D2X
- 300mm f 2.8 (effectively 450 mm on this body)
- ISO 400
- 1/640th second