Drifting AMGs

One of the big attractions of Mercedes-Benz World is the AMG Driving Experiences, where you can get behind the wheel of an AMG Mercedes with an instructor and take to a skid pan or a racetrack (or even an off road course in a 4×4 if that floats your boat).

The training tracks are also home to the Silver Arrows, an AMG display team. On the day we were there they did a small warmup session ahead of their display during a point when there wasn’t anyone out on the track. This gave us ample opportunity to get some great tracking shots of the cars in motion with their backends kicked out.

1/400sec, f/5, ISO 125, 190mm
1/400sec, f/5, ISO 125, 190mm

I love the mucky water being kicked out behind the back of the car. One of the other cars throwing itself around the skid pan caught my eye for being in that great Mercedes red.

1/80sec, f/13, ISO 100, 235mm
1/80sec, f/13, ISO 100, 235mm

With all the motion involved, I closed up the aperture a bit in order to slow down the shutter speed to get that great blurred background shot. I remembered from when I had previously tried this technique, on a pre-Olympic cycle race, that a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second was great for getting that nice, blurred effect. What I didn’t think of was that an AMG Mercedes is quite a bit faster than a cyclist. It’s obvious in hindsight, of course, but at the time it didn’t occur to me. This led to a handful of blurry, completely useless shots as I tried to settle into a shutter speed that got the results I was after.

1/60sec, f/11, ISO 100, 210mm
1/60sec, f/11, ISO 100, 210mm

So pleased am I with the images I got I’m going to shut up for a bit and just let you look at them.

1/30sec, f/11, ISO 100, 225mm
1/30sec, f/11, ISO 100, 225mm
1/50sec, f/11, ISO 100, 250mm
1/50sec, f/11, ISO 100, 250mm

These were the shots from the practice session. A bit later on the actual display started, with four cars in action on the skid pan and track. Of course, I paid most attention to the red car again.

1/50sec, f/13, ISO 100, 300mm
1/50sec, f/13, ISO 100, 300mm
1/125sec, f/7.1, ISO 100, 170mm
1/125sec, f/7.1, ISO 100, 170mm

With some of the blurriness of the warmup shots, I decided to shoot at a bit faster shutter speed, so opened up the aperture a bit.

1/100sec, f/8, ISO 100, 140mm
1/100sec, f/8, ISO 100, 140mm
1/115sec, f/8, ISO 100, 140mm
1/115sec, f/8, ISO 100, 140mm
1/60sec, f/11, ISO 100, 300mm
1/60sec, f/11, ISO 100, 300mm

I had prime position for the skid pan but wasn’t so well located for the track elements, so those shots weren’t so good. The cars returned to the skid pan for a last skid around and a proud finish. Well, three of them did. The third stayed at the pan’s entry area, not moving. We soon realised that the smell of smoked tyres in the air also contained a hint of clutch, so we guess something broke. I got a nice shot of the red car in the company bow.

1/250sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 130mm
1/250sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 130mm

I’ve dropped several wholly unsubtle hints to my wife that this might be something I’d like for my birthday when it rolls around in November.

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Related Posts:

Mercedes-Benz World
London-Surrey Cycle Classic
Birds in Motion
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