LE MANS, France -- Welcome to Le Mans, home of the oldest and most prestigious endurance motor race in the world.
Famously lasting for a full 24 hours -- whichever team has driven the furthest wins -- it's a brutal test of not only the driver's mental and physical prowess, but also the car's ability to maintain punishing speeds and manage tight corners with minimum time-wasting stops for fuel.
I went behind the scenes at the 2015 race here in western France to see exactly what happens. I peered inside the pits to watch the crews in action and watched high-performance race cars hurtle around -- and off -- the track.
Although no cars in the Le Mans race are powered by electricity alone, most cars use hybrid systems that make clever use of what's known as energy recovery systems. Audi's cars, for example, use an inertia flywheel that harvests energy generated by braking and recycles it into the vehicle.
Porsche, meanwhile, uses batteries to store energy harvested from braking and from the heat generated by the turbo chargers.
The more energy that's recovered, the more efficient the electric part of the motor can be, meaning fewer stops for fuel and more time on the track, racing up laps.
Nissan has this year opted for a front-engined, front-wheel drive design for its Nismo LMP1 racing car. It's something of a controversial design for a Le Mans racer, and Nissan is the only team to go this route.
Only one of its four cars finished the race, and it didn't place in even the top 30.
A note on my photography: I was shooting the race using a Canon 6D camera, mostly with a 70-200mm, f2.8 lens attached.
To get these sorts of blurred background action shots, it's important to use a slower shutter speed -- around 1/100 -- and pan the camera, matching the speed of the car as you take your shot. You'll hopefully then get a crisp shot of the car, but the slow shutter speed will have given a great amount of motion blur to the background and the track.
It takes a lot of practice, but over 24 hours, I had plenty of time to get it right.
Down in Aston Martin's pit lane, a big stack of wheels are being prepared for the race. Wheels soon to be used are housed in heated tents, warming them up to make them better grip the track surface, reducing the time the driver needs to get them up to optimum temperature.
With the lower light, it's possible to see the brake discs of this car glowing bright red as it brakes hard going into a corner. The carbon ceramic discs can withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.
I was almost falling asleep by this point. Thankfully, several drivers share the load to avoid them falling asleep at the wheel. In the LMP1 category, no driver is allowed to drive for more than 4 hours 30 minutes in total.
The pit lanes have various replacement parts for the cars, including this front end, ready to slot on if the existing one gets smashed. Crucially though, the driver is at no point allowed to leave the car during repairs.