First off, apologies for being a bit late in getting this one together & uploaded for you all. I mean, it was over two weeks ago now & I’m pretty sure I must be the last person who had media access to the track to put up my write up. Rather than reporting it like a usual event, I’ll offer you all a different perspective.
It was my first time attending JDM All Stars, but I wasn’t completely unfamiliar to the setup though. Having read Fraser’s write up on Fitted Life and hearing all about this motorsport series familiarized me to all the drivers.
So I headed up to Birmingham in my beastly runaround, or Aygo as its known to the general public, and found my way to the Wheels raceway to set myself up in the paddocks area.
I had arrived a good few hours before the event was supposed to kick off but there were still plenty of cars, drivers & media there.
After the media meeting which involved the usual ‘don’t be a hero’ talk, which always conjures up images to me of photographers jumping onto the roof of cars to get that sweet tandem shot from a different perspective, or laying down at the clipping point to get that real pov shot of the action… just me? Oh well I’ll carry on enjoying my imagination.
I then headed towards the track from the paddocks. It’s a banger racing layout which basically means a big figure of eight for lots of action. It looked pretty evil as I walk around it noticing various pieces of cars here & there and the first words that danced in my head were, “This should be interesting.”
Practice kicked off in the small arena & the drivers started showing that even though this layout was tight, they would use it to its fullest! Some serious talent was congregated for this event & after getting this taste of what was to come, I was feeling even more hyped for the evening’s entertainment.
After practice I was able to have a wander around the paddock area again, talked to some of the drivers & some of the other media guys. It was overall a really great atmosphere.
Whilst I was in the paddocks I was also able to have a closer look at Phil Morrison’s awesome 2JZGTE powered S15, a true smoke machine! This car is simply incredible and an absolute pleasure to shoot! He also let me stick my Gopro on his car ready for the battles. Big kudos to him for that.
It was also a pleasure to meet Walton Smith from Garage D, who drives the incredible Jap Performance Parts RB powered Subaru Impreza. 720BHP on a freshly built engine, if I’m not wrong…is wow! Oh and the engine had its mapping finished the night before, mad.
As the day drew on, the atmosphere got even better as the raceway’s grandstands started to fill with spectators. I setup on one of the grassy mounds in the middle of the track as the main event started to unravel in front of me.
Qualifying was brutal for some with a few people either munching cones or hitting the wall, but the drivers were on full form & this was all soon followed by the tandem battles. Action was fierce & even though 99% of the drivers I had spoken to that day told me they wouldn’t be pushing it, they were still all putting up one hell of a fight! I guess their competitive edge couldn’t be dismissed or repressed.
Light was starting to fade as the drivers were heading towards their finals which added a whole new element to me. I enjoyed the challenge of low light drifting shots and it was very cool!
After some really epic battles on this tight course, 1st, 2nd & 3rd were presented with their trophies surrounded by fellow drivers, media & the general public. It was a great way end to the day!
The scores for this have already been well & truly announced by the drift scene media, but they were as follows:
1st: James Deane
2nd: Christy Carpenter
3rd: Phil Morrison
4th: Nigel Colfer
It was a real pleasure as a photographer to capture these drivers, watching the incredible talent they all have. I mean seriously, these guys that take part in JDM All Stars are some of the best drivers I’ve ever seen in this sport & being able to witness it all from so close is as breathtaking as always!
An awesome day out meeting some very friendly people who I look forward to catching up with again soon. In fact, I am really looking forward to Round 6 at Wembley which is coming around fast, oh & I’ll try and get the write up done a bit quicker after the event next time.