Formula E - Season 2 pre season testing

I really have been so neglectful of my website and blog entries since the end of season 1 back in June.  I didn't even write a blog for the season finale, which was bonkers.  Unfortunately due to my wedding photography commitments, the off season has been very very busy & I have vanished...but I'm back!

Season 2 testing was very different to season 1.  With the teams having designed their own power trains, getting to the back of the cars with a camera is pretty much impossible.  Since I'm well known throughout the paddock, most teams trusted I wouldn't allow pictures into the wrong hands, I just avoided shooting the internals of the cars period.

As well as shooting for Current E for all 6 test days, I did studio work and private photography for Mahindra Racing, Venturi Racing and new client Dragon Racing.  A lot of the studio photography I'm not allowed to publish until the teams have made the shots public themselves...sorry about that.  The weather throughout the tests was very challenging, the gorgeous sunshine from the season 1 tests was nowhere to be seen.  I also made sure my track shots were not the same angles as last year...that was tough!

So with Beijing around the corner, I'm starting to get excited about the season ahead.  With prior knowledge of the circuit, I should be in a better position than this time last year, except for the fact that I will expect my pictures to be a lot better...no pressure then!

So without further delay, here are my personal favourite shots from the 3 Donington tests, enjoy!


The Le Mans 24 Hour Race - 2015

Full Le Mans 2015 gallery here

A small town an hour outside of Paris which hosts the biggest motorsport event in the world, the history and heritage of this race is just incredible.  At over 8 miles long and using public roads through scenic forests at over 200mph…welcome to the Circuit De La Sarthe…welcome to The Le Mans 24 hour.

This has to be the easiest blog I have ever written, but also the most difficult, the number of stories I have would make this entry about 5 pages long!  Nothing can prepare you for the scale of this race, it is huge, its a logistical nightmare to get around, you get to wherever you can; however you can, walking, media shuttles, local buses, mopeds, taxi's even your bicycle!

I've always wanted to shoot Le Mans, but never had the right contacts to make it happen, but Formula E helped me out.  I was officially shooting for Lucas Di Grassi, Nico Prost, Karun Chandhok as well as Current E, which meant a lot of running up and down the pit lane.

Now I could just go on and on about this race, instead, I'll just tell you my top 3 moments.

3. The drivers parade.  For anyone who has never been to Le Mans, the drivers parade takes place through the town, where the drivers sit in a convertible & wave to the crowd while throwing autographed pictures, t-shirts even USB sticks! The atmosphere is wonderful & I love the fact that fans can get so close to their heroes, you should've seen the tears flowing from teenage girls faces as Patrick Dempsey passed!

2. The pitlane at night.  The smell of fuel and burning rubber are 2 things I sorely miss in Formula E, but there sure is an abundance in the pitlane at this race. The pitboxes are lit up with floodlights which add some amazing effects to the cars, similiar to F1 night races. You can go right up and close and get some intense shots of the cars being worked on and the drivers swapping.  However, It is one scary place to be, these cars stop for no one and you have to really keep your wits about you, if you get in the way, the mechanic will fling you out of the way, say goodbye to your camera & future accreditations.

1. Mulsanne to Indianapolis.  There are certain moments and places in your lifetime you will never forget.  The stretch of road between Mulsanne & Indianapolis in my opinion, is the greatest piece of race circuit on the planet.  It is so dangerous, the entire outside of Indianapolis is a red zone for photographers, which means we're not allowed to stand and shoot there, only walk through.  As the cars exit Mulsanne corner, they gather speed down a long straight which narrows and undulates.  The LMP1's hit over 200mph and some go flat out through the Indianapolis kink to the right and brake hard for the next left on their way to Arnage corner. There's a nasty bump on the road just before the braking zone which kicked up sparks from under the Nismo and unsettled a lot of cars…scary!  I cannot explain the sound, the engine noise reverberates off the trees and creates alien noises that echo everywhere, gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

So will I be going next year?  Only a fool wouldn't, I'm hinging on a contract with one of the big teams or my Formula E brothers (drivers)..it truly is a magnificent event & even as a spectator, I would recommend it 100%, go with a group of friends, you will not regret it, the atmosphere is truly unique.

Full Le Mans 2015 gallery here

Karun finds the local Le Mans curry house

Karun finds the local Le Mans curry house

Nico Prost & Nick Heidfeld deep in discussion

Nico Prost & Nick Heidfeld deep in discussion

The epic run down to Indianapolis corner

The epic run down to Indianapolis corner

A very battle damaged winning Porsche

A very battle damaged winning Porsche

The madness under the podium

The madness under the podium

Red flags seem to bring out the best in me...

Red flags seem to bring out the best in me...

Formula E - Round 08 - Berlin

One thing I’ve learnt shooting Formula E around the world is expect the unexpected.  7pm after the race on Saturday, everyones tired, there’s only a handful of us left in the media centre, one of the Formula E officials appoaches us & says ‘Di Grassi’s race winning car has been deemed illegal after post race scrutineering’.

At 1st, I really thought it was a wind up, but it wasn’t, we all just looked at each other in disbelief.  As a photographer its quite a peculiar feeling, having witnessed and documenting a race only to find out what you documented isn’t valid anymore is rather upsetting.  I know every other photographer is in the same boat, but I truly felt for Lucas, his post race celebrations were fantastic &  it’s almost like you have to erase the entire 2 hours after the race from your mind as well as your hard drive!

Nevertheless, it was great to see yet another winner is Formula E, Jerome has been under the radar for some time, but the teams double podium launched them into 2nd position in the constructors championship!

Tempelhoff was a bittersweet venue for Formula E Berlin I feel.  The actual airport is fantastic, it’s aged beautifully, with rusty hangars, peeling paint, concrete walls, it’s a photographers dream if you love the grungy look (which I do!).  As for the track, I feel it was too wide & didn’t have enough colour, there were huge areas of no mans land between the corners and because of there being no undulation nor buildings or trees, it was featureless.  A dash of colour would have gone down a treat, compare the track to Monaco, it’s the complete opposite end of the scale, those blue concrete blocks from Punta Del Este were needed in full force.

Did anyone see me on my Edams bike?  Riding a bike with cameras on you is quite an event in itself, but I was having real fun going around the paddock and between corners, I got to a lot of places very fast, a bit too fast sometimes, the front brake on those bikes are mental!

Not sure if any of you are on Periscope yet, it allows live streaming video from your smartphone, it's quite surreal and really effective if used properly.  Current E's very own graphic designer Naomi Panter came to Berlin to help out a bit and is a Periscope whizz.  I don't know who's bright idea it was to Periscope me doing the Friday track walk, but it happened & you can watch the 3 videos below of me talking nonsense & saying 'erm...' way to much.

Special thanks to Naomi Panter for being my lighting expert most of the weekend & documenting my mad life at these races, as well as David Sale head of catering in Formula E for the dodgy snapshots of me around the circuit!

Oh before I forget, I'm on instagram now under Shivraj_Gohil_Photography

Almost run over by a BMW i8, just another day in the office

Almost run over by a BMW i8, just another day in the office

Tools for the day & a whole lot of space!

Tools for the day & a whole lot of space!

Prost, Senna, Piquet & Mansell?…no Gohil

Prost, Senna, Piquet & Mansell?…no Gohil

You try pedalling with that lens!

You try pedalling with that lens!

Poor Salvador, wondering how much more posing he can endure

Poor Salvador, wondering how much more posing he can endure