A little preparation – the 2013 Honda Indy Toronto

It’s the end of August, and high time I wrote something about my gig as a credentialed media photographer for the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend, back in July.

Carlos Munoz, Sunday practice at the Honda Indy Toronto
The bridge, a subtle reminder that this is the Honda Indy Toronto.

Each of the past four years that I’ve done this, I’ve made time during race week to get to pre-race publicity events – question and answer sessions with drivers, fan festivals, driver appearances at the children’s hospital, and the like. Although not always directly associated with the race itself, these lend some colour to the run-up to race weekend. Occasionally, these photographs have been used in press releases, and once in a while, picked up by the wider motorsports press. So there can be some value to covering these, although the vast majority of my photos are never used for anything.

However, sometimes things fall nicely into place – as they did this year, when former series champion and popular New Zealander Scott Dixon came into town having just won the previous weekend’s race at the curiously triangular Pocono speedway. Dixon was slated to open Toronto’s Stock Exchange – a perfect Toronto-themed photo op.

Scott Dixon opens the Toronto Stock Exchange
Dixon (centre) at the Stock Exchange. He’s obviously not required to wear a suit.

With a little extra time, I was able to pose Dixon next to the Honda Indy Toronto show car, complete with its “2inTO” tail logo announcing the two-race doubleheader. As it turned out, this was a fortunate choice – Dixon would go on to win both races. What was an obvious publicity shot became a perfect counterpart to the two victories, just because of a little bit of advance work.

But all of that was still in the future. On race weekend, it’s a given that photos of all of the drivers are needed, both on and off track. Shoot everyone, and by definition you’ve got the winner in there somewhere. Among the others, I photographed Dixon riding his scooter, signing autographs, and participating in a Q&A session with his fans – all good background in case of a victory, or two. And of course, the obligatory on-track shots as well.

Get every car on track, and you’ve got the winner in among them. Dixon rounds turn 11 onto the front straight, early in Saturday’s race.

After Dixon’s win on Saturday, more coverage on Sunday was an obvious need, so I stationed myself right in front of his spot on the false grid. He had brought his family, including his mother, wife and two daughters, making for a picture-perfect photo op.

Scott and Emma applaud the anthems - Honda Indy Toronto
Scott and Emma applaud the anthems. A nice, calm moment before the race.

And then he ran away with the second race as well, although not without some concern from his strategist and team.

Dixon's crew - nail biting time
Nail biting time – Dixon’s pit wall team keep an eye on their driver during Sunday’s race.

The race again offered up some nice photo opportunities – pit stops, isolation shots of the crew, and more on-track action. But the real highlight came when, with a dozen laps or so left, I escaped the “island” in between pit lane and the front straight and made my way to Winner’s Circle. Where I was unexpectedly stationed on top of the trailer used as a backdrop for the trophy presentations – a location I’ve never shot from before, and a ton of fun. Fortunately, I didn’t drop anything on the winners, and managed to snag both wide scenes showing the media scrum and crowd, and a nice tight one of the podium party itself.

Richard Wintle shooting the Honda Indy Toronto
Yes, that’s me, on top of the trailer. Photo © 2013 Rick Andoga for Honda Indy Toronto, used with permission.

Victory Circle - race #2, Honda Indy Toronto
The podium finishers celebrate as the confetti cannon fires… again!

Podium ceremony, race #2, Honda Indy Toronto
The podium – Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, and some sponsor representatives.

But the shot of the event still has to be this one, from Thursday morning – Dixon, prophetically posed with the doubleheader logo, as yet unaware that he’d be taking home both trophies. Just a little preparation and effort ahead of time, and we end up with the storytelling photo of the weekend – taken long before a single wheel even turned on track.

Scott Dixon - Mister 2inTO himself
2inTO, indeed.

More photos in four sets in my Autosport Collection.

About Richard Wintle

I am Canadian by heritage, and a molecular biologist and human geneticist by training. My day job is Assistant Director of a large genome centre, where I do various things along the lines of "keeping the wheels on". In my spare time, I tend to run around with a camera, often chasing horses, race cars, musicians, and occasionally, wildlife.
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One Response to A little preparation – the 2013 Honda Indy Toronto

  1. cromercrox says:

    Great stuff!

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