Behind the Scenes of Lightning Lap 11 ""

By | October 20, 2017

Behind the Scenes of Lightning Lap 11Twinsies! The video camera captured clearer images of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the ZL1 1LE in showing the differences between the two.Here, we were lifting the BMW Alpina B7 onto our scales in Virginia International Raceway’s pit garages for an accurate weight measurement.The B7 wasn’t the only car we weighed the day before lapping began. Every Lightning Lap contender must touch tire to scale with a full tank of fuel, and the BMW M760i was no different.Go, do you even Pro? This wasn’t even our total number of GoPros—more arrived later. During each car’s lapping session it must be rigged with multiple cameras, and there are multiple vehicles on track during hot laps. It adds up, hence the big number of GoPros. We record every lap in every car so that when the driver eventually sets the car’s quickest time (it might not be on their last lap), we’re guaranteed to have the footage.Unlike he did for Rose in Titanic, Jack ain’t holding photographer Michael Simari in the back of this photo van. Instead, he uses a harness clipped to the van’s floor so he doesn’t hit pavement while leaning out to shoot photos of our Lightning Lap cars in motion.Did we mention that it was pretty humid during the first week of lapping? The week when it rained two and a half days out of the three days we rented VIR? So things got moist, a condition exacerbated by the equipment our videographers need to lug around the track all day.Only cars with the letters G, T, and R in their names were allowed in this garage. The jury’s out on hyphen use, but that’s an argument we’ll leave between Nissan and Mercedes-AMG.This is what our videographers saw a lot of during Lightning Lap—sweet cars through the lens of their cameras. Here, videographer Alex Conley has mounted his gear in the back of our long-term Mazda CX-9 to shoot static and dynamic footage as needed.Videographer Mark Arnold mounts the Mercedes-AMG GT R so that he can mount a GoPro to its windshield. On every car, the GoPro mounted in this same location provides the over-the-hood point of view for our final fast-lap videos. Just watch out for the windshield wipers—after placing the stick-on GoPro mount on the Camaro ZL1 1LE’s windshield, we needed to remove one of the car’s wipers so it wouldn’t smack our camera.This is but a small fraction of the replacement tires various manufacturers sent along with their cars to VIR this year. In total, we had 116 replacements on hand.During the weather delay in our lap time gathering, friend of C/D Dave Ferguson and Porsche 918 guru Ken Gould have a discussion. Were they discussing lap times? The weather? Spongebob SquarepantsEager to get editors’ takes on the weather slowly ruining our scheduled lapping, our videographers train their lenses on nearby editors and ask them their takes on the weather slowly ruining our scheduled lapping.Here, senior editor Tony Quiroga and testing director K.C. Colwell give the videographers their takes on the weather slowly ruining our scheduled lapping.What, you don’t use Camaro ZL1 1LE wings as lunch tables?Assistant technical editor David Beard likes staring at Porsche crests. We can’t blame him.With so many GoPros on hand, there’s lots of footage to transfer to portable hard drives. Lots.Lightning Lap is a strictly no-tie affair. Apparently, nobody told the Camaro ZL1, which brought its flowtie to the party.The only upside of all the rain: photo opportunities like this one.Thanks to this poncho that totally isn’t a garbage bag, our cyborg cameraman stayed mostly dry during the rain spells.Really, the Camaro ZL1 1LE’s wing does it all. Lunch table, downforce-generator, and serving as a drying rack for towels used to clean and dry cars before photography.Here, we did some more waiting in the rain—this time for one of our photographers to meet the Lexus LC500 under VIR’s bridge for a photo session.It’s not the destination, it’s the Journey. In this case, it’s even a rented Journey. The Dodge sits behind one of our support vans and next to a small river that flowed nearly all week between the pit garages and the Lightning Lap contenders.Videographer Alex Conley adjusts things for the cyborg cameraman, apologizing for leaving him in the middle of a rainy field without robot snacks.We swear the drift looked really cool right up until the Lexus left the track and ended up covered in this muck.On the third day of our original track rental, after two days of almost completely unrelenting rainfall, the skies broke just long enough to get our hopes up and a few laps in. Guess what was going to happen two hours later?Keenly aware that the sunshine might not last, photographer Simari and videographer Conley get right down to business, plotting which cars they can shoot before the deluge returns.Despite the sunshine, the skies threaten more rain. Meanwhile, we wander aimlessly in the light, confused by the brightness. This photo also shows how we park the contenders opposite the pit garages for quick access.With little time to spare, we strapped GoPros to the Porsche 718 Cayman S hoping to squeeze in a few useful laps while it wasn’t pouring rain.Is that water?! Yep, the skies opened up again and it rained the rest of the third day of our track rental. Our favorite river between the pit garages and the parked contenders makes another appearance.Just like our hopes of completing Lightning Lap 11 in a single week, technical director K.C. Colwell leaps into the abyss—or just over the pit lane river.As if the rain’s return weren’t bad enough, our Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio test car began suffering from mysterious power loss. Here technical director K.C. Colwell discusses the issue with an Alfa engineer while the rain pours down outside.Having quickly arranged two make-up days of lapping the following week, we moved the Lightning Lap contenders to a sweet storage barn and locked the door. We’d fly and drive home only to return a few days later in hopes of clear weather and usable lap times.Another week, another Lightning Lap! When we return to Virginia on Memorial Day, it’s hot and humid, but not raining. K.C. Colwell, missing the rain in a fit of weather-induced Stockholm syndrome, dumps a bottle of water over his head.With Mother Nature finally on our side, Lightning Lap 11 2.0 kicks off with the drivers talking strategy for lapping 19 cars on a compressed schedule. Nobody wants to leave any time on the table.Not only were we essentially starting at square one with our hot laps during Lightning Lap 11 2.0, a lot of photography needed to be finished up. The previous week, the weather had been so bad that some cars had yet to be filmed and captured on track. Here, photographers Andi Hedrick and Marc Urbano prepare to shoot the BMW M240i, as viewed from the M240i.It was a national holiday when we returned for our make-up lapping session at VIR, so it was only appropriate that we grill some meat. Beverages may have been consumed, as well.More clear weather, more photography. Photographer Simari adjusts his gear from his perch in our long-term Porsche 718 Boxster S’s frunk. The cargo hold affords him a nice, low angle from which to shoot car-to-car photography, while the windshield’s curve means the hood, when open, leaves a decent view forward for the driver. “”


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