There are several locations on a race car that are ideal for a GoPro mount. These spots reveal the most racing action with the least amount of custom camera mounting fabrication. This article discusses 5 potential mounting spots that will add to the quality of your racing videos right off the bat with minimal testing.
Spot 1: Roll Cage. With GoPro's standard roll bar mounting equipment you can locate the camera just over the driver's shoulder on a vertical, diagonal or horizontal bar. This location offers the best view of in-car race action, whether it's on the drag strip, road course or oval. In addition to the forward view of the track and racing competitors, a GoPro camera mounted on the cage can be easily adjusted to capture the driver's upper body, dashboard and gauges, sponsor logos inside the car and race traffic on either side of the car. Slight adjustments in camera angle and resolution will yield different effects. Roll bars make stable platforms so the video is normally vibration-free. Make sure you use the open back GoPro housing cover if you want to capture car sounds.
Spot 2: Front Bumper. This is one of the riskiest locations, especially for stock cars, drifters and road racers, due to inevitable contact with competitors. However, mounting your GoPro on the front bumper has advantages for creating realistic and exciting video. First, the low camera angle gives an awesome sense of speed. The track surface rushes under the car in the lower half of the footage, giving viewers a great sense of speed. Second, close up action with competitors in front, the track, crowd, etc. is captured in a way you can't get otherwise due to the wide angle lense. The driver always feels close to the action -- to get this effect with a camera you must mount it physically close to the action. Obviously, the risk of the bumper mount is you will lose the camera in an impact. This risk can be lessened but not eliminated by locating the mount on top of the bumper toward the rear, or even inside the grill area.
Spot 3: Roof. The GoPro car mounting kit includes a strong suction cup mount that is ideal for locating the camera on a car's roof. The benefit of a roof mount is the unfettered view in any direction. It gives a "birds eye" view of the action from a high angle. This allows the camera to capture multiple cars, lots of the track and even interesting things like trees flying by, the starter's flag stand, fand in the crowd and other views. A roof mount is perfect for showing sponsor logos on a car's hood, roof or rear deck lid. The suction cup mount is sturdy and rarely comes off. The downside is the excitement and impact of being in the driver's seat doesn't translate as well from up high. However, this is one of those locations that provides great add on footage for your racing videos.
Spot 4: Outside Over Driver's Shoulder. The drifting crowd has made this camera spot popular. The GoPro is mounted using a simple sticky mount or a suction cup to the outside of the window behind and above the driver. It has the benefit of capturing the driver's head and hands during the race, which adds a fabulous sense of action to your video footage. When the camera is located higher it offers some of the birds eye roof mount effect. When mounted lower it offers more driver action in the picture. Beware of mounting it too low or you're liable to have the camera peeled off by a competitor! The outside window spot is best for very wide angle views.
Spot 5: Inside Pointed at Driver. This option offers a ton of variety in where the camera is mounted and what you focus it on. On the dashboard directly in front of the driver pointed back at his face films his eyes and reactions during the race. This makes the video very realistic and conveys the interesting human element of racing. Moving the camera on the dash toward the center or far corner progressively captures more of the driver's side and what's going on outside the car. These angles blend driver action with techncial control movements and outside competitor activity. Pointing the dash mounted GoPro directly backward usually isn't the best since 75% of the view will be the car's interior and very little race action will be shown. There are many other spots such as footwell, opposite door, steering wheel pointed back, etc. to play with.
Mounting one or more GoPro cameras in any of these spots on a race car will yield great footage for your next racing video. Feel free to experiment or use these locations as a starting point.