2011 Waterford Hills Raceway in Michigan

July 10, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

I had the great opportunity to check out our local racing club at Waterford Hills Racing Track in Waterford Hills, Michigan.  Now one of my friends is a race car driver and he felt that checking out the track and hanging out with the gang would help me to feel the excitement and rush of the race .  Feeling the emotion on the track can definitely be value add when creating an illustration or painting.  It gives you a whole new perspective and view point that not only helps you to understand the passion and excitement, but the reality and dangers associated with racing.

What was really striking to me when visiting Waterford, was how friendly and close knit the group was.  It was essentially one big happy family that looked out for one other.  I brought my camera and met up with Karen, a volunteer at the Raceway. She introduced me to all the other volunteer workers that help run the race track.   Karen gave me a brief rundown of some of the interesting upcoming races that were coming up in July.  I might add that Karen’s husband is also an accomplished artists so we had lots to talk about!

The early afternoon portion was open track where members would bring their own cars and take it around the track.  It was a chance for parents to take their kids around the track in a non-competitive nature (of course).  Waterford also welcomes the Porsche club where the owners would showcase their sweet rides and take it to the track for a few rounds.

At the end of this month there will be a  Vintage Race circuit featuring cars from the 1920′s – 1070′s.  This will run from July 29 and run till July 31.  I will definitely be there taking pictures as I have been granted a photographer pass!

It’s quite amazing to see the open wheel racers and different circuits.  All these cars are deceptively fast….inclusive of the Mazda Miata’s.  I knew Miata’s offered a pretty big bang for the buck and could be modified quite easily to give you a screamer!  However, again….these little go carts were tearing up the track!

As you watch the video, it is evident that everyone is out there having a great time and the drivers, volunteers, and crew all have a passion for the track!

However, make no mistake, it’s not all fun and games out there.  This is real racing with real consequences.  As you watch the video, you’ll see that racing or not, the reality is you can get into terrible accidents when losing control of your car.    I noticed a ’95 or ’96 M3 that lost control coming around the corner and slammed into the embankment.   Man….it wasn’t my car but even I felt like crap.  Poor dude just finished racing school too!  Not to mention, any damages…are YOURS to pay for as there is no insurance company that will pay for it.

Regardless, you have to take the good with the bad.  I was then invited to take a ride in the pace car with a gentleman named Jerry.  Really cool and personable guy that allowed me to do a little filming while I was in the Mazda Miata Pace Car.  That was an experience in itself as I was trying to hold on to the camera as I was “somewhat” buckled into my seat.  It was pretty sweet to capture these drivers behind us watching them pace back and forth before we reached the checkered flag .

Be sure to visit their website for upcoming events and their fantastic gallery!  They have a terrific amount of photo reference material!  If you are in the area near the end of the month, visiting the track during the Vintage Race is a definite must…at least for taking pictures alone!

I would like to thank Waterford Hills Raceway for showing me a fantastic and memorable first time at the track.  These guys really make you feel part of the family and deserve the support from the community.  I will be sure to return and post up some pictures from my next trip to the Vintage Race! Ladies and Gentleman…..Start your engines and check out the pics and video below!

Click here to view the embedded video.

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