The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

Posts tagged “Jenson Button

Just because you can Drive a car, doesn’t mean you can ‘Drive’ a car.

So Lewis Hamilton has won Sports Personality of the year 2014. And deservedly so in my opinion. That is not to say any of the nominated sports men and women didn’t deserve to win it. They have all achieved greatness in their field.

Lewis Hamilton 2014 Sports Personality of the Year

Lewis Hamilton 2014 Sports Personality of the Year

But there are many people moaning and saying he shouldn’t have won it. Why? Firstly, it was a public vote. He received the most votes and therefore won. Which is how a vote works right? Secondly, some are saying he has no personality. I assume these people know him personally. But we all know that although it is called the ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ award, it is really down to sporting achievement. After all, Andy Murray won it last year and in the year Jenson Button, the guy who is seemingly one the nicest guys in the world, won his world championship, Ryan Giggs scooped the award. A bloke who speaks in monotone and sleeps with his Brothers wife!

Lastly though, and perhaps most frustratingly, is the people who say Lewis Hamilton only won because he had the best car. That’s just like saying Kelly Gallagher only won Paralympic gold because she had Charlotte Evans to guide her or that Charlotte Dujardin only had success because she had a good horse. Which we all know isn’t the case. Every successful sportsperson will benefit from the best tools available. But it takes someone special to use those tools to become the best in the world. Yes, we all know Mercedes provided Lewis with a great car and he probably wouldn’t have won a single race if he was in a Caterham. It would be naive to think otherwise. But it is the same in all sports. The British cycling team have people who provide them with some of the best and most technologically advanced bicycles in the world. As great as Sir Chris Hoy is, undoubtedly he wouldn’t have been so successful on a Raleigh Chopper. However, I’m certain he would still beat many of those who think it’s all down to the machine.

It’s not just sports that involve technical equipment though either. A good footballer needs a good team behind him. Gareth Bale has won major trophies with Real Madrid, but he won’t ever win the world cup with Wales. Every sportsman or woman at the top of their game have a plethora of people behind them helping them to achieve their greatness. Coaches, Nutritionists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Medical Personnel, the list goes on. And these people know what they are doing. I’m not just talking about Dad’s giving you encouragement or Mum’s cooking high a protein dinner before a big event. This support network are also amongst the very best in their field too. But what all great sportsmen and women have in common is natural talent. That spark, that raw potential and that natural ability that projects a good sportsperson to world beater.

A good team will always help an athlete improve.

A good team will always help an athlete improve.

I heard an argument that Rory McIlroy deserved the award more than Lewis Hamilton because he had achieved more this year. For a start, Lewis Hamilton has been at the top of his sport longer than Rory McIlroy has in his. But what people need to realise is that in a golfing calendar there are tournaments most weeks of the year and amongst that are the four ‘Majors’. There is only one Formula One world championship a year and Lewis Hamilton won 11 of the 19 races in that championship to win. Rory McIlroy may have achieved more this year but he has had more opportunity to do so. He had four attempts at a Major win this year and he won twice. Lewis had one attempt this year and won it, even with three retirements in that ‘Best’ car of his. You don’t criticise an Olympic gold medallist for ‘Only’ winning one gold medal in the last four years do you? Even McIlroy benefits from the best equipment, coaching and backroom staff. He has custom made and fitted clubs, he has golf balls design to suit his style of play, his entourage is huge and he has a lot of financial support and backing. Just as Lewis wouldn’t win the world championship in a 1960’s Ferrari, Rory wouldn’t win a major with a set of Hickory shafted golf clubs and a ‘Gutty’ ball.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

The trouble is with many sports is that the pro’s make it look easy. We sit and watch on the TV where the margins between victory and defeat can be minimal. We therefore think those who loose are rubbish and think we can do better, not thinking that the margins of defeat would then be vast chasms measured in light years and we would quickly start to look foolish. When you watch golf on TV, it looks a doddle. I used to play golf and had a relatively decent handicap of 10. But I can tell you it is extremely frustrating. Consistency is key, and whilst it’s great to see a 300 yard drive boom down the fairway, I would still stand on the tee not knowing if that was going to happen or if I would hook one into the long rough. Colin Montgomerie once said, ‘There is no difference between a good shot a pro hits and a good shot an amateur hits. The pros just hit them all the time’. And that’s the difference between the Pros who make it look easy and the millions of weekend golfers at golf clubs around the world dreaming of winning a major while the hunt for their ball in the thick stuff. I also had an ex girlfriend who was a very competent cross country and show jumping rider. I would watch as she and her horse Jeffrey would glide over fences with ease. But whilst I have ridden horses on the odd occasion, could I get Jeffrey to even trot over a pole lying on the ground on the ground? Could I heck.

So let me tell you this. Just because you have a driving license and can drive a car, doesn’t mean you can actually drive a car. Let alone try and race one. There is a reason that Formula One is timed to the nearest thousandth of a second and that’s because it is all that can separate a winner from a loser. The difference between pole position and second on the grid. The margin between a great lap time and total disaster. It looks oh so easy on the TV when drivers guide their car round a circuit for lap after lap putting in near identical lap times one after the other. How hard can it be? After all, you’ve driven on a journey that lasted two hours or more right?

People don’t seem to think about the G forces experienced inside the car the driver deals with under braking and acceleration dozens of times each lap, the alertness needed to pick the precise braking point to within the metre at each corner for the fastest possible lap time, or the knowledge needed to adjust that braking point depending on car set up, tyre wear or fuel load. They don’t think about the skill needed to guide a car inch perfectly at high speed to clip the apex or place the car in the exact spot for the perfect racing line. They don’t think about the skill involved in knowing when to defend or attack while doing all of the above. The concentration needed to do this for two hours, the ability to feed back information to the team to enable them to help make adjustments or improvements for that competitive edge, the ability needed to make fine adjustments to brake balance, gear ratio and other car set up options whilst on the move, or the supreme fitness needed and the nerves of steel to be good at it lap after lap after lap.

Being a world beater at 200mph isn't as easy as many think.

Being a world beater at 200mph isn’t as easy as many think.

If you think that is easy, go down to your local outdoor karting track, race for 2 hours and then see how you feel. See how your lap times match up with the best, see how many of your laps were within a tenth of a second of your best lap time and see how tired you are. Then think about doing that at speeds of up to 200mph rather than speeds of up to 40mph. You’ll soon realise it isn’t easy. Very few of us could do it. Very few of us could be half as good as Lewis Hamilton or any of the others at their sports.

So just think about these things before criticising anyone who has achieved something truly great. Especially someone who has spent a lifetime reaching the goal at being the best. Be pleased for them instead of shooting them down. And if you think I’m only writing this because Lewis Hamilton is getting criticised and I love motorsport so much then you are very much mistaken. I admire everyone of those nominees. In fact, I often admire many people who achieve sporting greatness and think about how I wish I was truly good at something like that.

So embrace greatness and success. Applaud it, don’t criticise it, and if you still think Lewis Hamilton didn’t deserve to win it because you don’t like him, Just think about how Ryan Giggs’ brother feels.

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Abarth Talent Show

Abarth Talent Show

Many of you will have dreamed of being the next Lewis Hamilton of Jenson Button and living the glamorous lifestyle of the international racing driver. But most of you will also know how difficult it is to make it as a professional racing driver.

Only the very best get paid to race, the rest have to fund their racing career themselves, or gain valuable sponsorship to help fund your way up the ladder. Even if you have the necessary skills, how are you going to prove how good you are to potential sponsors and teams if you just don’t have the budget to get yourself started in motorsport? It can be a vicious circle. But fear not. The people at Abarth may just have an exciting new solution for you to prove yourself as the next racing star.

A new talent show aims to enable non professional racing drivers to showcase their ability behind the wheel of a race car and possibly fulfil their dream of being a top motorsport star.

Abarth are giving you the chance to showcase your driving talent.

Think you have what it takes? Then check out the www.makeityourrace.com website and register your details. 28 lucky contestants will take part in a 10 day camp where they will be put through their paces and assessed by international motorsport coaches and race car instructors while being filmed to be televised across Europe giving them the ideal opportunity to showcase their talent and ability.

The grand finale, a head to head race will take place at the iconic Monza circuit in Italy, and if that wasn’t enough, Abarth have thrown in some professional drivers to give the contestants the real race experience.

The Finale will take place at Monza against Pro drivers

Candidates will be selected by local talent show judges but the deadline to register is the 15th of July, so get yourself to www.makeityourrace.com and register for the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to get your racing talents noticed.


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British F3

I will admit, open wheel racing isn’t my favourite form of motorsport and although I like Formula One, I’m not a self proclaimed die hard fan. I used to be pretty obsessed with it when I was a child though. I was a huge Nigel Mansell fan, in fact, I even share my birthday and year with his daughter Chloe and he won his Championship title on the 16th of August 1992. Mine (and Chloe’s) 10th Birthday. That was a pretty special day for me. But that’s enough of the nostalgia, as the Schumacher Era saw me lose interest somewhat in Formula One and I never regained the love I once had.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3, A Stepping Stone Towards F1

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Jean-Eric Vergne, 2010 British F3 Champion

But over the last few years I have seen my fair share of open wheel racing at various circuits across the country and have appreciated them for what they are. Besides, as a motorsport fan I love being at a circuit and I’ve witnessed some great racing and the rise of some current Formula One stars. After all, these championships are the proving ground for the Holy Grail, Formula One. A huge stepping stone in the quest to become a superstar Formula One racing driver comes in the form of the British F3 championship. With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Rubens Barichello, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna having graced the British Series, it’s easy to see that British F3 provides a critical role in developing World Champions of the future.

However it is sad to hear that the British F3 championship announced that it was cutting the series back to just four rounds this season with two of them to be raced overseas. Increasing costs and competition from a number of other single seat championships both in the UK and abroad probably proving a major factor as drivers seek more cost effective ways of reaching the top level.

I’m not here to criticise the series and the current difficulties it is experiencing or point out mistakes or how it should be improved, as to be honest, I don’t really know the answers myself. But I will reiterate one thing I have spoken about many times before, and that is lack of support from fans. I have always been increasingly frustrated at how some huge British Racing Series never get the fan support they so deserve. I have been blown away by the huge crowds the British Touring Car Championship pulls in, yet the British F3 championship, which runs in conjunction with the British GT championship during its race weekends only see’s a fraction of the crowd the BTCC does.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Talented British Racer Jack Harvey won the 2012 Championship

How many F1 fans are out there? Many of whom would probably call themselves, ‘Huge Fans’ or ‘Die Hard Fans’. Yet also, many will complain that Formula One is elitist, expensive and inaccessible for the everyday ‘normal’ fans. How many of these fans have sat in front of the TV moaning at the celebrities on the Grid before a big race who clearly have no interest in the sport and are only there because they have been given a free pass and it’s the ‘Fashionable’ thing to do? Yes, I hate it too. But how many have ventured out to watch some live motorsport and support the possible Formula One stars of the future in the British F3? With weekend tickets for around £30, (great value compared to a premiership football match) three championship races per weekend and the chance of watching the mechanics at work, wandering the pit lane and getting up close to the drivers and cars, what is there stopping you? You’d be surprised at how many Motorsport celebs you can see blending into the paddock too not wanting to hog the limelight. You never know, in a few years time, you could be watching one of the current crop of F3 racers stand atop An F1 podium or lifting the world championship trophy and you could turn to your mates and say, ‘I met that guy once.’ Or ‘I saw him race and supported him before he made the big time.’

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3 gives you a chance to get up close and personal to the F1 stars of the future

I could go on about how the media should be doing their bit to bring some of these great British race series to the attention of the public, but I’ve done that before. Plus most of you reading this will be big motorsport fans and know about these Championships anyway, so as fans, it’s only right we do our bit and go and support. Before it’s too late.


Pop Bang Coloured!

It’s been a while since my last blog so I do apologize to those, if there are any, who wait with baited breath for my latest ramblings. However, I have been away on Holiday. No internet, limited phone signal and with just my mountain bike for company, it was a very enjoyable break and the first proper holiday I’ve had for a couple of years.

This all did mean however, I missed the last round of the BTCC at Silverstone. Ok, it wasn’t the end of the world but it did mean I would miss one thing in particular that I would have very much liked to have seen. No, not any track action, but something else which involves a highly skilled individual at work.

 

Despite not being at Silverstone for the BTCC, this photo of mine would be.

 

The week before the event I was contacted by a good friend of mine, Ian Cook who wanted to use a photo of mine to paint. Some of you reading this will of course know of Ian or his alias ‘Pop Bang Colour’. For those of you who don’t. It is about time you were made aware of this talented individual.

Ian paints cars, bikes, motorsport and a variety of other images in his own unique way. His paint brushes are rather unconventional. He uses wheels. Toy wheels, radio controlled car wheels, even actual car, bike and truck wheels and everything in between to create his amazing artwork. Working with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jessie J & Chris Evans with appearances of Sky TV’s F1 coverage and the One Show, Ian has certainly made a name for himself and is admired by many. So it was a great honour to have one of my images receive the Pop Bang Colour treatment.

Ian Cook using one of his unique paintbrushes.

The image in question was one of my Photos of Frank Wrathall in his Toyota Avensis at Donington Park. With Toyota UK part of the project you may be seeing a bit more of the finished paining in future too.

Painting the photo during the BTCC race weekend at Silverstone, Ian attracted many fans keen to see him at work. I was somewhat disappointed not to be able to have seen him create the fantastic painting. Thankfully with the help of a good friend, Chris Enion, photographer for Octane Photos I was able to get a bit of an insight into how the artwork came along. The finished product looks superb and judging from the comments I have seen on social media, a lot of others like it as well as myself.

The finished artwork looks superb.

It’s a nice feeling to have one of your photos used in such a way and I am glad Ian chose to use it. I am a big fan of his work and have a number of his prints at home. I now need to make some space for an Orange Toyota Avensis to go on my wall too.  Hopefully this won’t be the only time he uses one of my photos.

For more information about Ian and his work and to see some more of his stunning paintings, check out his web site www.popbangcolour.com

 


British GT & F3 Media Day

With my first race of the new season in the form of Round One of the new Britcar Championships at Silverstone this coming Saturday, it was good to get back in the swing of things this week as I was at the British GT & F3 media day also at Silverstone this Wednesday.

The Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4

The Nissan GTR

You will all know by know that I am a huge GT racing fan and it was good to see a selection of this seasons cars there along with some of the new entrants for this season. The grid for 2012 will certainly be impressive. Alongside the usual suspects such as Trackspeed’s Porsche’s, United Autosport’s Audi R8, a selection of Ferrari 430’s and 458’s plus the GT4 Ginetta’s will be new contenders in the form of a Nissan GTR, A McLaren MP4-12C, A BMW Z4 and the new Aston Martin Vantage. Alongside theses, Ginetta step up to the GT3 plate with the new G55, as does Chevron with the GT3 GR8. However it’s not just the GT3 field that has new additions. So does the GT4 category with a Mazda MX5 and a BMW M3 set to join in the fun.

It’s not just the new cars that were on show, new drivers were also there to make an appearance alongside existing British GT stalwarts. A new streamlined Tim Harvey was there to give his new chariot, one of the three Trackspeed Porche’s, a run out along with his new team mate Jon Mishaw, who for those who follow classic and historic racing will recognise as the guy who is more than capable of flinging a Jaguar E-type sideways into corners at various race circuits in spectacular fashion. Another new driver of note is Zoe Wenham. Zoe will be the only female in the championship and steps up from the VW racing cup to take the wheel of the Century racing Ginetta G50 in the GT4 class alongside Dominic Evans.

Zoe Wenham will compete in the GT4 Ginetta G50

Tim Harvey

This has really got me excited for this seasons championship, however I am gutted I am unable to make round one at Oulton Park but I cannot wait for the European round to be held at the Nurburgring in May. The British GT championship is a great series and well worth going to see if you ever get the chance. You won’t be disappointed.

The F3 Championship was also at Siverstone as the two series race in partnership for most of their rounds. They go their separate ways for a few European races but you will see both these Championships during the same weekend in the UK so it’s well worth heading to one of the rounds. This season see’s the new F3 car in the shape of the Dallara F312. It certainly looks pretty impressive. As with the GT series, there are new faces taking to the grid. As the likes of current F3 champion Felipe Nasr moving on to GP2 and Kevin Magnussen moving to Formula Renault 3.5, up step current Formula Renault UK Champion Alex Lynn, Carlos Sainz Jr who’s dad is quite well known, and 2011 Formula ford drivers Nick McBride and Spike Goddard to name a few.

The British F3 championship has spawned a number of Formula One world champions such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mika Hakkinen, Sir Jackie Stewart and a Brazilian by the name of Ayrton Senna. You may have heard of some of these guys. Current Torro Rosso F1 Driver Jean Eric-Vergne was the 2010 F3 Champion, so if you want to see the Formula One stars of the future, then get yourself out to one of the races this year.

The new Dallara F312 car looks great.

All this has whet my appetite for the coming season and I cannot wait. So first up is Britcar this Saturday at Silverstone. It’s a great race series, which will feature the three hour endurance race along with the 90 minute production cup race. There will be some great cars out on track so if you are at a loose end, why not pop along. All the qualifying and the races are on the Saturday and tickets are very reasonably priced. If you are coming along and you do spot me with my camera, come and say hello. It’s always nice to meet new people.

Here’s to a great season of Motorsport.

More photos from the media day can be seen on the Chris Gurton Photography Facebook group page here.