The other day a friend told me that he was going to the D1 Thailand Drift Competition and also to the Bangkok Auto Salon 2013 (a kind of mini motor show for car modifiers) that was being held close by at Muang Thong, and he asked me if I wanted to come along.
Hm...let's see...I have no interest in motor sports, I am not into modifying cars and photographing action sports or race queens are not really my forte BUT I do have this shinny new Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G lens that I havn't had the chance to test out yet...so...ok I'll come along :).
We arrived at around 2 p.m, even though it is monsoon season we were lucky to have a nice sunny day. Above is the track and stadium layout, as well as the schedule for the races, but as it turns out things were delayed by quite a bit, and the races ended up finishing at around 00:30 instead of 22:00 as was schedule.
When we arrived they were still doing the qualifying rounds, so we went to walk around the Auto Salon show first. Above is one of the cars on display in front of the track.
The Auto Salon Expo itself is not that big, but there was still plenty of cars and latest gadgets on display to trick out your rides.
Surprisingly however, there was very little car audio systems at the expo.
One thing I prefer about the Auto Salon compared to the larger yearly Motor Show is that it is much less crowded. There was hardly any traffic at all on the way to the event and you don't have to fight your way through hoards of people to see anything.
Luckily I also brought along a wide angle zoom lens so I was able to get some indoor shots without having to back up a mile with the 70-300mm.
This seems like the perfect vechicle for Bangkok's pothole ridden roads.
What is that thing doing in there?
A familiar sight at every motor expos these days. Sadly I am wayyy too shy to go up and take a photograph of these race queens, I don't know it just feel a bit weird. The best I could do this time was photographing people taking photographs of the race queen.
Back to the racetrack and the knockout rounds of the last 32 cars is about to start. Different press people are doing the final check on their equipments and are finding the best spots track side. Regular people like me on the other hand are confine to the stands some way back :(.
Before the real race begins lucky (or unlucky) members of the crowd gets a chance to ride along with the race drivers around the track.
No, this guy is not taking part in the drift competition. He is doing a final check of the track to make sure everything is good to go.
The real race is about to start.
An introduction of the competitors on the big screen.
Everything is ready.
Go Go Go !!!
Everyone seems to have a more professional looking camera and lens combination than mine, especially those white shiny lens.
Using the panning technique is kinda tricky, maybe 1 in 10 photos will come out sharp. The most annoying thing is when you think you got a pretty cool action shot (like the one above), but then upon closer inspection you find that it wasn't one of the sharp ones.
This press photographer doesn't seem happy with just being track side.
After a while he actually went INSIDE the track.
These guys seem to have the best seat in the house.
After each race scores are given by the judges. Each competitor must take turns doing a lap as the lead car and as the following car. After two rounds the scores are added up. If there is a tie they will have to race again.
I was secretly rooting for this little retro looking green car, it just seems so different from all the other. Sadly it spun out and didn't make it to the next round.
Maybe next time I will make my own orange vest and sneak in track side.
After each race the cars will have to wait at the track's exit, if there is a winner they will drive back to the pits, if it's a tie then they will go back to the starting grid to race again.
As the Sun goes down it becomes even harder to shoot.
The race gets more intense as they progressed into the latter rounds.
Are the drivers having a stare down during the race?
Another spin out. "Where there's smoke there's fire", well not in this case, all that smoke is just from the tires wearing out.
Now THIS is a fire.
The competition seems to be heating up.
Finally the emergency crews have something to do.
You got to admire the stamina of these two. They stood in the middle of the track with no protection from the elements from 14:30 till 00:30.
Watch out for the bull!!!
It seems there are more and more crashes as we get later into the night.
Oh well, there's always the next race.
Arrr...the engineer's favorite solution for solving problems...Duct Tape.
All the participants show their appreciation at the end of the race.
Thank you for watching.
P.S. one of the main problem I found when trying to photograph drift racing is the smoke from the tires.
After the cars take their first bend there was almost no point in trying to photograph anything, there's simply way too much smoke everywhere.