2012 Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg: The Paddock

Dedicated to Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche.

The weekend before last, my wife and I went out to Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg. When we first got there, we seemed to have somehow wandered into a paddock area that I had thought required an additional pass to get into. We were able to get a lot more photos shot behind the scenes this year. There wasn’t a guard to stop us or check anything, so I went ahead and kept shooting.

If you’d like to view the entire set of photos that I posted from the weekend, please view the 2012 Honda Grand Prix Flickr set. Everything is uploaded at full size, so if you’d like to use something for a wallpaper, feel free to do so.

I was a bit flabbergasted at first, trying to decide what to shoot, because there were so many beautiful cars to capture and see. The Ferrari Challenge cars were quite a sight to see with their gorgeous designs.

If there was a heaven, I imagine it would look something like this.

#82 Patron Ferrari 458 Challenge

This Momo Ferrari 458 Challenge, sponsored by Ferrari of Beverly Hills, had an interesting matte red wrap over carbon fiber that could be seen if you looked close enough.

A fire extinguisher is always a good idea when there’s gasoline and a Ferrari around. It would be a shame for such a great car to go up in smoke.

The Pirelli World Challenge cars were everywhere as well. Here is racing legend Peter Cunningham’s Real Time Racing Acura TSX.

This Boss 302 Mustang, driven by Roger Miller, has been blowing up the view count on my Flickr account. My friend “ThirdPedalGirl” channeled her inner Clarkson saying it “Must be the hugest strut tower brace… in the world.” Another friend, “McNewbie,” tweeted “God Bless American Muscle. Dat Stang!” It’s definitely a car that grabs your attention.

This is one of my favorite shots of this set, the GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by James Sofronas. Partially because it came out so well and partially because this was taken just before the last Pirelli World Challenge race during the lifetime of Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche, the creator of the Porsche 911. This post is dedicated to his memory.

I’d regretted not getting more close ups of this awesome matte black Corvette, driven by Tony Gaples, when I saw it last year. Here it is being prepped for the race! There are some good on-track shots coming up in a future post, from later on when it was in the race.

Here’s the Swisher Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for my Evo bros!

Ten years ago, the word “Nismo” was foreign to many American car enthusiasts, outside of those of us who were obsessed with Gran Turismo, Best Motoring, and JGTC racing. Today, it’s enough of a household name that you can go to a race and see a Nismo 370Z being prepped, and then, assuming you have the funds (wish I did) go to your local Nissan dealership on Monday and buy yourself one.

Here’s the startup.

Another Nismo Z, this #7 driven by Brian Kleeman, whose crew was nice enough to open the doors and let me get a closer look.

As clean on the inside as it is on the outside.

Tristan Herbert’s new #33 HPA Jetta GLI was being driven around the paddock area. I remember first hearing about them years ago in Sport Compact Car when they were making Volkswagen R32’s with stratospheric levels of horsepower with the clean appearance of a stock-like engine to the uninitiated.

Another GLI seen here, a pace car. I’ve still not really warmed up to the looks of this new Jetta, but at least it’s not being ignored by motorsport and the aftermarket, so I think of it as a step on the way to Volkswagen doing something more interesting. Plus, without volume sellers like the Jetta, there would be no money for cars like the Golf R to make it state side. A necessary evil of sorts.

The CTS-V has a nice sound to it. Gotta love a lumpy idle.

This Hot Wheels Porsche Cayman S was hard to miss, and who would want to? Both the unusual shape of the 911 (that inspired the shape of the smaller Cayman) and the collectible Hot Wheels cars have lured many men and women into an interest in cars.

Around that time, the USF2000 cars started to come back from their race that I had missed in the excitement of seeing these beasts get serviced.

Stick around, I’ll be posting up about the Star Mazda race next; and there was a barrel roll involved!

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