Introduction | Main Building | Alex Yoong | Alex Yoong in car | ChampCar Warmup | Patrick Carpentier in car | Alex Zanardi makes his comeback | Alex Zanardi #2 | Jan Lammers | Looking up Start / finish | Ferrari and DOME entering Turn 1 | Group C No. 08 | And another :-) | V8STAR grid | LeMarie in formation lap |

Introduction
 
The following pictures were taken at the ChampCar race at the Lausitzring during May 9-11, 2003.

While oval racing is generally rather unpopular with both german spectators and the Grand Prix Legends crowd, I must admit that attending an oval race and watching it unfold live is fascinating.

The Lausitzring is a two-mile superspeedway tri-oval (meaning it has three turns, all different) and probably the best facility for oval racing in Europe (all drivers mentioned just how great racing at this track was, so there must be something to it unless someone paid them to say so ;-). Attendance on race day was around 70,000 I would guess, and there was room for a lot more.

I'll be back next year and hope that the weather will be as nice as it was this year. We all feared for a washout (no oval racing on rainy days ;-), but we were lucky and blessed with splendid weather, and we constantly repeated the unnerving F1 2002 lines of "the sun is shining,the skies are blue. It's perfect race conditions." to each other ;-)

About my special 10x50 tele technique: By chance, I discovered that the objective lens of my digital camera (Nikcon CoolPix 950) fits rather snugly into the ocular rubber coating of my German-made "Optolyth 10x50 Alpin" pair of binoculars. If you have a steady hand, it's possible to take stunning pictures if both the bino focus and camera zoom are just right. I'm about to patent the idea, so it's mine, all mine, hahahah ;-)

All images are (c) Uwe Schuerkamp, 2003-. Not for commercial use!

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Main Building
The Lausitzring has a spectator capacity of over 100,000, with grandstands covering a good 2/3 of the tri-oval track.

This is the main entrance where the grandstands along start/finish is located.

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Alex Yoong
This is the Team of Alex Yoong and Joel Camatthias. The guy in the white overalls is Alex, watching his pit crew work on his car.

Alex ran fine for half of the race until he was forced to retire with a mechanical failure.

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Alex Yoong in car
Using my 10x50 binoculars as a telephoto lens, I took this in-car shot of Alex Yoong.

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ChampCar Warmup
ChampCar Warmup on Saturday Morning.

I spotted a good-looking blonde mechanic in the "American Spirit" team of Ryan Hunter-Raeye and Jimmy Vasser, so I was happy to be able to observe them during pit stops ;-)

The morale of the team seems to be great; there was always some mechanic busy cleaning something, checking the rig and air guns and stuff, even when the support series were running.

They were the first to have the car in the pitlane when a session was about to start, the first to move it back into the pit and so on, true professionals!

to the left is the PK Racing pit area (new one-car champcar team by Villeneuve manager Craig Pollock and business man Kalkhoven). Patrick Lemarie (ex-BAR F1 test driver) sadly dropped out of Sunday's race after a pitlane collision that was no fault of his own.

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Patrick Carpentier in car
Here's Players Forsythe driver Patrick Carpentier, awaiting the formation lap during pre-race ceremonies. The players cars did great teamwork during the race, but were no real winning contenders all weekend.

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Alex Zanardi makes his comeback
Before the race started on Sunday, Alex Zanardi "finished" his 2001 race at the Lausitzring by driving a hand-controlled ChampCar (only the brakes were foot- or rather hip-operated).

The crowds loved him, and his laptime would have secured him a top-5 spot on Sunday's grid (although he was running an out-of-spec boost factor it is rumored, but that's typical Zanardi for you ;-)

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Alex Zanardi #2
another shot of Alex's champcar, which got him a world speed record for a hand-operated car piloted by a handicapped person. Go Alex ;-)

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Jan Lammers
The FIA GT Sportscar Type C endurance event to me was the highlight of the weekend.

Altough the lineup included only eight competitors (the rest were running pre-tests in Le Mans), the sound and beauty of these prototype cars has to be heard and seen to be believed.

Not revving as high as the ChampCars, these cars are just as loud but lower frequency, so their howling, wailing and banging can safely be enjoyed without earplugs (apart from the start, that is ;-)

The race was set in the late hours of Saturday afternoon, providing us with spectactular views of these cars making their way around the track in the setting sun.

Again using my 10x50 binos as a tele-lens I captured Jan in his DOME Judd during mental preparation for the race.

At the end of it, he won and had lapped everybody in the field three times.

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Looking up Start / finish
My friend Marco enjoying a cool beer and the fabulous sound of a group C sportscar thundering down S/F.

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Ferrari and DOME entering Turn 1
shot of DOME-Judd and a Ferrari Group C sportscar entering the twisty turns following T1.

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Group C No. 08
Another Group C sportscar preparing for the start (10x50 telephoto)

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And another :-)
I think you can tell I really like these cars.

Roll on the Wests and "Racing Legends"...

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V8STAR grid
Another support series running that weekend was the V8STAR series, 500HP modfied spec sedans.

With the low-grunt roar they sound very similar to NASCAR engines, or at least what I believe a NASCAR would sound like.

The race was quite confusing and interesting at the same for several penalties and a weird mid-race restart rule.

Also, if you're a girl in a skirt in the pit lane, beware of those mechanics!!! One of them approached a grid girl from behind, held a mobile phone with integrated camera under her skirt, took a shot and promptly went to show off to his team-mates!

all that in front of the eyes of 30,000 people. Some people... 8-(

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LeMarie in formation lap
Patrick Lemarie during the formation lap for Sunday's race.

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