So you like to gloat in front of your frieds, ever proud that your mobile phone has a camera within that shoots maybe 10 or 12 megapixel photos.
Woooooooo. Big whoop! (Did I just say that? That is sooooo 70’s).
Okay, after setting you up so high, we’re unfortunately going to bring you down with this bit of news. Frankly, your cell phone camera is nothing more than a toy compared to what we’re going to tell you.
We know someone who has a camera able to shoot up to 348 gigapixels. In case you’re wondering how big that may be, think of it this way. You can pick out a person’s face in the stands from, let’s say, roughly a half-mile away.
During the recent Coca-Cola 600, the largest image ever created was taken. Commissioned in partnership between Coca-Cola and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials, this is one massive shot.
“Although we’ve been lucky enough to have captured events such as the Super Bowl and UEFA Champions League Final, the limited time available at those events put a cap on the size of image we could create,” said Tinus le Roux, CEO of FanCam.com, which produced the image. “With NASCAR, we have a much longer shoot window and the Coca Cola 600 was the perfect race to try and push the envelope a bit.”
FanCam.com didn’t just push the envelope, it broke it. The clarity of the individual photo is outstanding. We just wish we could blow it up to normal size on this page, but that could send the bandwidth crashing down at NBC Sports — and probably half the East Coast.
Check out the photo above and the video below (which shows the making of the photo). Outstanding job, indeed.
“We strive to continually push the boundaries of gigapixel photography to enhance the fan experience,” le Roux said. “It was very exciting for our team to be able to capture such an incredible image.”
NASCAR has asked race fans to tag the photo on the CMS web site to potentially break a record for most number of tags on a sports-related photo. The current record is 33,000 tags at a 2011 Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game.
“We’re hoping to give Toronto and Ontario and Canadian sports fans in general something to cheer about over the next season,” Hinchcliffe quipped during a teleconference on Wednesday.
Granted, there are likely to be several challenges to overcome, notably for Wickens, who returns to single-seater competition for the first time since 2011, when he was a champion of the Formula Renault 3.5 series and served as test driver for the now defunct Manor Racing (then known as Marussia Virgin Racing).
Having spent every year since then in DTM, where he won a total of six races and finished as high as fourth in the championship (2016), Wickens knows returning to open wheel competition will be an adjustment. However, he explained that the history of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, specifically its Indy Lights history, speaks to their ability to help a driver adapt, and he rates the program they’re putting together very highly.
“I think Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have a fantastic driver development program. They showed that in their multiple Indy Lights championships along the way. I think we will have a strong program in place. I have a feeling that the simulator will be my new best friend,” Wickens said when asked about getting reacquainted with an open-wheel car.
Of course, having an experienced teammate like Hinchcliffe to lean on will undoubtedly help the transition, something Wickens readily admitted.
“I’m very fortunate that I have James as my teammate because he’s so experienced, I can learn off him. Because we already have such a good off-track relationship, I feel like you can just take his word, trust him, kind of move forward with it,” he revealed.
They’ve been teammates before, both in karting where they first met in 2001, and then in the now-defunct A1 Grand Prix series in 2007-2008, a series that pitted nations against each other in spec open-wheel cars. Funnily, that A1GP type of vibe returns as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports now has that with its “Team Canada” mantra while all four of Andretti Autosport’s full-season drivers are American.
For Hinchcliffe, Wickens’ background, even if it hasn’t been in the single-seater realm since 2011, was a big selling point in adding him to the team.
“In Robby, we have a proven winner at a very high level. The level of technical expertise that he comes with from his time in DTM is very impressive,” he said of Wickens’ technical background.
Hinchcliffe revealed that Wickens’ feedback to the team and his ability to quickly adapt to the chassis took everyone somewhat by surprise.
“We did our ride swap. He had two hours in the car, hardly anything even resembling a test day, and his performance was pretty impressive. No doubt the time in Road America helped because that really gave us a better sense of his technical feedback, integrated with the team a little bit more. Everybody was happy to work with him on that day,” said Hinchcliffe.
Further still, Hinchcliffe is firm in his belief that the 2018 aero kit and its reduction in aerodynamic downforce will fall right into Wickens’ wheelhouse, based on Hinchcliffe’s own take after sampling Wickens’ DTM Mercedes earlier this year.
“In all honesty, I was saying earlier today, the 2018 car is probably better suited for him than the 2017 car because of the experience he’s had the last handful of series,” Hinchcliffe asserted.
“The (aero kit) was such high downforce, it would be a big change coming out of DTM. But with the loss of downforce that we’ve seen, the car is moving around a little bit more, brake zones, things like that, it won’t be as big a transition I think. Just based on the experience that I got in our ride swap, I think he’s going to adapt very quickly, be comfortable very quickly, and as a result be competitive very quickly. So it’s going to be exciting.”
As for expectations heading into next year, team co-owner Schmidt did not mince words and expects the team’s performance to resemble what they did in 2012, 2013, and 2014, when they won a total of four races (with driver Simon Pagenaud) and finished in the top five in the championship each year.
“We had a stint in ’12, ’13, ’14 where we finished fifth in the points (or better. I think we want to get back to that level of competition,” Schmidt added. “We felt like we were missing things in having two cars with equal funding and equal drivers and equal capabilities. We think this gets back there.”