GALLERY: A Spectacle Of Light And Darkness At Brands Hatch
Photography by Stuart Adams
At the end of November I found myself bundled up in winter clothing underneath the typical flimsy photographer’s vest as I stood trackside at one of Britain’s historic racing circuits. I was at Brands Hatch for the season-ender to the Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship, and though it may not be nearly as storied as the likes of Le Mans or Daytona and that whole cadre, this was still a spectacle of under-the-lights competition (or more accurately, illuminated by the power of headlights alone), and as a photographer it afforded one of the last chance to capture both the Britcar championship and nighttime racing before the year ends and we wait for the spring thaw to unlock the european motoring world again in 2018.
The spectacle promised all the mainstays—disc brakes glowing from red to orange to black again, bursts of exhaust flame sharply defined against the night, the complex shadows made by multiple pairs of headlights fighting each other and the dark track ahead—and to add to the excitement that comes with such a format, it was also the season-ender, and the championship for both the Sprint and Endurance (one and two-hour races, respectively) would be decided by the end of the night. It’s not as if I expect anyone to be following the Britcar necessarily, but knowing that these cars are out here for one last push before they pack it up for 2018 gives some context for what it was like to see in person.
Both went down to the wire as they say, with the Ferrari 458 GTE of Gamski/Wylie/Macari taking the Endurance win, and the Porsche Cayman GT4 of Nevinson/Nevison/ Cooper/Cherrington winning the Sprint category. I was there mostly for the photo opportunities though, and among the shots I took over the course of the night these were my favorites.
The start lights went out at dusk. Above, the cars stream down through Paddock Hill Bend, up Hailwoods Hill and into the hairpin of Druids.
As darkness fell, it was flat-out from the first green light. Here a Ferrari 458GTE and Aston Martin Vantage GT4 argue over the same piece of track going into Druids… the Ferrari finds its way in front later in the race.
With front discs glowing, a Honda Civic Type R bounces over the curbing with back wheels locked. A GT3 casts a long nighttime shadow.
A lone-entry McLaren in the GT4 class adds iridescence and color to the grid with funky multi-colored scheme that caught my eye nearly every lap.
The Dark Knight reference on this particular 458 seemed appropriate for the event. The rest of the gallery can be found below—I hope you enjoy the images, for even though late-November nighttime in Kent isn’t the most comfortable of environments, I was hardly bothered by the elements when this was happening right in front of me!