Covering the Detroit Grand Prix Weekend

by | Jul 19, 2018

Today’s Post by John Larsen

In anticipation of the upcoming Indycar event in Detroit and knowing the Toronto race was less than two months later, I contacted my Editor seeking media credentials for the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.

A few days later I received confirmation that my application had been accepted and received the location to pick up my credentials. Of course, I would be required to attend the photographer’s meeting in the morning to obtain my photo vest, which allows trackside access. But it was by not a guarantee that I would be provided with that valuable vest. Having attended previously, I knew that following the photographer’s meeting each member of the media would be required to clarify who they were shooting for and the level of exposure the Detroit Grand Prix would gain from their coverage.

There were a few attendees that were rejected for such a vest before I reached the front of the line. Fortunately for me the major Toronto newspaper I was shooting for fit the requirements and I gratefully picked up my photographers vest! My mandate for Belle Isle was as usual: Canadians, Canadians, Canadians!

It was a difficult task to complete as there were Canadians in almost every race: Indycar, IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar and even Stadium Super Trucks.

All street courses such as Detroit, Toronto, and Long Beach are lined with concrete walls and fencing for safety. There are sections where the fencing has been cut in order to provide the photographers with the best vantage points and these spots tend to get crowded. Fortunately each photographer will usually wait their turn while someone is trying to get the photos they need. For a different perspective I went to the top of one of the general admission grandstands. Heck, I would not have needed any credentials for this vantage point.

The pits is an area that definitely requires credentials. Before the drivers were seated in the cars for the feature Indycar event all of us wearing photo vests were ordered to leave the pits, eliminating some great photo opportunities.

Once I edited my photos, I provided a selection to the newspaper that applied for my credentials. As I had hoped for, they used a number of my images in the print version leading up to the Toronto Indy, although not the images I would have selected. The Editor always makes the decision regardless of how the photographer feels about specific photos!

Note: all photos were taken with media credentials.

John Larsen is this blog’s Senior International Travel Correspondent and whose website is