22 Aug 2015

The cost of motor sport

I was planning to be posting action photos of the local round of the Australian GT Championship today.I was all ready to head off down to Sydney Motorsport Park for a big race meeting.I had my backpack packed with the Sony and a couple of long lenses and my lunch cut and ready.
The weather forecast was glorious and last night I checked the event timetable online and whilst I was there I looked at the ticket prices for the event.Holy smoke.It's cheaper to get a general admission ticket for the Le Mans 24 hour race than it is for me to watch the racing today.And I don't like the V8 supercars so I was only going for the two sports car races.
The problem is that the V8 Supercar series is owned 100% by private equity and the owners don't really care a fig about the fans who come to the races.They just want to make money from the TV rights.Sounds just like F1 and it is.Same story - private equity owners and teams with skyhigh expenses and no real appetite for doing anything about it.Those on the gravy train don't want it to stop and those not on the gravy train are powerless to stop it.
With a paddock ticket - which is not that much use nowadays as they keep you away from the cars-and general admission and the motorway tolls and the petrol - it would cost me well over $150 to watch a few short races not to mention 4 hours driving.So I stayed at home and did some gardening so today's motor sport photo is not hot off the SD card but from my archive-the Spa round of the World Endurance Championship for Group C Sports Cars in 1989.Jaguar leading what I think is an Aston Martin up the hill.Great racing on one of the world's best circuits-where this weekend's round of the F1 world championship is being run.

Group C was very succesful.So succesful that the governing body FIA killed it at the behest of Bernie so that it would not impinge on F1 and in particular attract sponsors and manufacturers who otherwise would be in F1.The same the could theoretically happen again today but arguably F1 is too far gone to save anyway.
Sportscars and GT racing is again really gaining momentum and attracting both manufacturer participation and big spectator numbers.If you want to see great racing nowadays Sportscar and GT races are the best place to see it.

The picture was taken on my Leica but I should have used a faster shutter speed to freeze the cars.Maybe there just was not enough light and the cars are really flying at that point.Today with the super sensitive sensors in digital cameras it would not be an issue but with the low afternoon light and a ISO100 colour film it was a different situation.There certainly would not have been a problem shooting action today -it was brilliant sunshine.
And as a counterpoint here's a photo of my front garden taken this morning when I was gardening when I would have been at the racing.We have not had a drop of rain here for four weeks so the rainwater tanks are empty and the garden is bone dry so I am watering it with town water every few days.However heavy rain is forecast for the next four days.Let's hope it arrives.
Spa photo taken on Leica M6 with 28mm Elmarit lens.House photo taken with Sony a7 and 20mm Canon lens and Metabones adaptor.


  1. Firstly, another thank you for your informative, interesting and educational blog. I agree pricing to some events is exorbitant. I happen to live only 5km from Eastern Creek so I purchase an ARDC membership each year. I find this excellent value because I can use it to attend most events at SMSP for free. Admittedly the ARDC membership did not provide "paddock" access to the V8 races but I did get in the gate for free, parking close to the tunnel entrance and can see plenty of the circuit for free. The GT, Carrera Cup and even V8 racing I attended yesterday were fascinating. Even the drifting on Friday night was free entry. Perhaps worthy of consideration especially if you plan on attending two or three events each year the money is well spent.

  2. Further to my earlier comment, I was stunned to see the Bentley here at the GT races in addition to many delicious Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes AMG SLS and more. To stand just metres away from these monsters as they roar past, or casually walk within arms length of these machines in the pits, is something else.

  3. Matt , thanks for your kind comments re the blog.I'll have a look at joining the ARDC as you suggest.Mind you having watched the V8 Supercar races on TV yesterday afternoon I cannot see myself wanting to go out and watch them in the metal anytime soon.I guess that I have seen too much world class racing over the years for my own good.But I am looking forward to going to the Bathurst 12 hours GT race next year and I am still tossing up whether to go to the Le Mans 24 hours next year.

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