Cool Running: The Photo Shuttle Service

This is the first piece  written by Taylor Wiseman,  one of the Young Journalists participating in a program sponsored by Risi Competizione. Taylor is majoring at Journalism at the University of Texas. She will be writing articles for this site for the entire weekend. 
The sun beams down on drivers, crews, spectators and cameramen as the Lonestar Le Mans series gets underway, just outside of Austin, at Circuit of the Americas.
The hustle and bustle of race weekend is in full force and people are trying to stay cool in the Texas heat. Fans go under the grandstand to find shade, crews can step into the garage but photographers, for the most part, are in the open with no shade looking for the best angle they can get.
The track is 3.41 miles long making it impossible to get anywhere fast on your feet. Add in the maze-like aspect of the track and as a photographer you’re stuck, or are you?
Thanks to a group of volunteers put together by Tom Yemmington, photographers are able to get on a shuttle that will take them around the outside and inside of the track. These shuttles come by every 7 to 10 minutes allowing a photographer to get from Turn 20 to Turn 11E in the amount of time it takes a race car to get around the track twice. That’s about five minutes and those turns are on opposite ends of the track.
This year, the shuttles being used are air-conditioned vans but that hasn’t always been the case. Yemmington rented golf carts during the first F1 race hosted at CoTA and gathered a group of friends who love racing to help out. The shuttle system that year was lacking in more ways than one.
“If we had a full load of photographers, five photographers, trying to go up the hill in one cart, the golf carts wouldn’t make it…we had to get out and kind of push them,” said third year volunteer, Lee Thompson.
Not only did photographers have to expend more energy while riding the shuttle, they also had no air conditioning. This year is a different story, the shuttle is a van that makes it up the hills and has air conditioning. Some photographers get overheated while shooting and take a lap around the track to cool down.
The shuttle system has made it easier and cooler for photographers to get the shots they want, and in return Yemmington and his volunteers get to spend a few days at the track away from their regular work schedules.

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