Sonoma Sheep

It’s a sunny Saturday morning for Day Two of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in Northern California’s wine country. The temperature is already rising and the skies are clear and blue. The breeze is just waking up. The iconic Turn 12 flag which teams use as a quick indication of wind direction is barely moving. The IZOD IndyCar Series has a morning practice and qualifying in the afternoon.

Sonoma Raceway has its own in-house herd of sheep which rotate around the circuit keeping the vegetation cropped for fire prevention. California at the moment has the dubious distinction of having the country’s worst forest fire near Yosemite National Park and the smoke has drifted down into the Bay Area.

The IndyCar race is sponsored by GoPro, the small but wildly popular camera used to record one’s feats. For the weekend promotion, GoPro shot a Teaser with current IndyCar Champion, RYAN HUNTER-REAY and his Andretti Autosport teammate, class clown JAMES HINCHCLIFFE. With seven cameras, the pair ran a short drag race down Pit Lane in golf carts. Ever seen a golf cart do doughnuts? Pretty funny stuff. Included in the Teaser is on-track video footage of MARCO ANDRETTI and RHR dicing around the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course. Local racer, J.R. HILDEBRAND, racing this weekend with Barracuda – Bryan Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian, was also setup with GoPros for footage all around the course.This and other videos can be found on YouTube – GoPro Grand Prix.

GoPro CEO, NIC WOODMAN is racing this weekend in the NASA Formula Car Challenge, driving a Pro Formula Mazda car. He qualified third with a 1:32.331 lap, out of 25 entries. Woodman got his start racing at Sonoma Raceway with the Sim Racing High Performance Center. At that time he had made a surf camera which went on his wrist. Not wanting to pay the school’s video footage fee, he taped his surf camera to the roll bar – and Voila! That was the moment when Woodman’s surf camera became an everywhere camera. One of the first GoPro TV commercials was shot while Woodman was racing in a SFR SCCA club race at Thunderhill Raceway Park. A current TV commercial has Woodman, local to the SF Bay Area, racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. By racing this weekend at Sonoma, Woodman feels he’s come full circle.

This weekend,GoPro also has cameras in two other series. BUCKY LASEK/No.81 FS2.0 is in the Formula Challenge Race.The seven-time Xtreme Athlete qualified fifteenth for Sunday afternoon’s race. In the Maserati Trofeo race, Formula Drift champion, TYLER McQUARIE is racing No.33 and will start twenty-fourth for the first of two Maserati races.

Tyler McQuarrie's No.33 Maserati