Years ago the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg came back to the Tampa Bay area. Prior to that I had not ever been to such an event and honestly did not think too much about it. I was too busy ricing out my civic hatch and couldn’t look past each Saturday night. It wasn’t until the trouble internally with the race organizers led to the cancellation of the event for a few years for me to feel like I missed something. I’m not educated enough to go into all the details on what happened but I had that whole feeling that I missed out. Missed an opportunity to witness a major motor-sports event right in my own backyard.
So when the announcement came that the event was returning I felt I had to check it out. So I copped some free tickets for the practice sessions on the Friday before the main event from the local Honda dealer and I went on my way to St. Petershood.. I will sum it up like this… stood roughly 6-7 feet from the track between two chain link fences and felt the cars pass at 180 miles per hour.. came home smelling like race fuel and suntan lotion with specs of rubber tire on my face. Hmm I thought, but I only was able to think when I got home because the whole time I was there I was smiling from ear to ear. Like a little kid on Christmas morning. Dont get me wrong, I have gone to some car related events and had a good time but with this.. I don’t know where else you can get the same feeling, no lets call it an experience instead.
So to make things even better Honda stepped in so I was really locked in being such a Honda fan boy. At the time I owned my S2000 and some of the other local owners made some contacts with Andretti Green Racing which ultimately led to the S2000 owners having the opportunity to participate as parade lap vehicles. I was fortunate to be part of that one year and got to drive the VP of Marketing for Honda North America around the track. At the same time I was able to meet a few of the drivers. The past couple years I’ve gone as a spectator and enjoyed it just the same. The layout of the course and the surrounding area is great. Spend the day, walk the grounds and you get to experience the event in different ways. Just know that it’s not just Indy Cars, there is the Acura Sports Car Challenge that also takes place where you will see the likes of Porsche, Dodge, Ford, Lamborghini, Chevrolet, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Acura, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Volkswagen, Scion, Ford, Subaru, & Dodge all represented.
So this year it gets better. Teaming up with Inside Kami allows for greater access to the race. In the past I was always shooting through or over the fences. This time I will be closer to the action. A great opportunity as a photographer. We will also have some of our other Inside Kami media executives in attendance as well, executives, that’s right! For event details check out http://www.gpstpete.com/ . Either way, look for our coverage here in our own unique perspective of course….
So what is a post without pictures, nonsense I say so here are some from last year.
James Luedde – Fotoset Photography