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GALLERY: Le Mans, through an the eye of an Australian

LeMANS – It’s an incredible race and by it’s nature presents remarkable photographic opportunities.

We’ve been lucky to score some amazing images from one of Australia’s best photographers – so we tasked Dale Rodgers, who (a long time ago – Ed) is an award-winning photographer in his own right, to add the context to this incredible gallery.

WORDS: Dale Rodgers IMAGES: Andrew Hall

It is possibly the most evocative race in the world: the LeMans 24 Hour is unlike no other.

Some would argue that it is very Euro-centric and does not garner the interest outside of Europe. However with a regular attendance of over 240,000 people, it rates right up there with the biggest events anywhere in the world.

So, what is the lure? What makes this event so special?

Australian photographer Andrew Hall is one of the best in the business. His creative eye and superb composition makes his view of Le Mans more of an artistic exercise than a motor race.

A confessed Sports Car ‘tragic’, Hall has looked at the Le Mans 24 Hour through his cameras now eighteen times! Add to that classics such as the Sebring 12 Hour, Fuji 6 Hour and various other blue riband WEC events and you will understand that he has a deep understanding of bringing these stunning sports cars to life.

‘Skippy’ as his fellow shooters have named him also has a rather strange ritual of teaming up with some old photographic foes and producing an Annual Farwell Tour decal which normally surfaces on an LMP2 car each year. Well there is 24 Hours to kill!   

The Race Torque has scooped a portfolio of his photography from the 2019 event and we think you will agree, it is stunning work.

The Le Mans 24 Hour is in its own way a little like the Indy 500, in so far as it has a long lead up including things like the scrutineering taking place the week before in the Le Mans Township. An annual event where locals and fans join in the festivities. Driver parades in the town also are part of the build-up.

The La Sarthe circuit is long – very long at over 14kms, with much of it not accessible to the public. Although the TV broadcast does show the tree lined Mulsanne Straight and the beautiful countryside it is pictures like these that are so unique to this track and the atmosphere it creates.

The Northern Hemisphere light is rich and gold. Hall often speaks about the magnificent light at sunset and dawn. After so many events at Le Mans, the knowledge of where to go and making the trips into the wooded areas at these times of the day deliver beautiful images.  

The Le Mans pits are a buzz from the first round of stops  The LMP1 cars stop over 30 times and the LMP2 and GTE cars are in the mid to high twenty visits to the lane. Drivers double and even triple stinting is a normal occurrence. The stops are highly regulated with only four tyre changers, servicing front and rear wheel changes. Windscreen cleaning is a must!

And then there are the cars and of course, the night racing…

Finally, there’s the stars. And we finish with one we’re particularly proud of here at The Race Torque..

The Le Mans 24 Hour through the eyes of Andrew Hall: one of Australia’s finest photographers.

It is, put simply, 24 amazing hours of racing.