If you had a race car, put a number on it and painted it white, it would still be a race car, Maybe a very fast race car. It just would not be very interesting to look at. Now imagine every other car in the race were painted exactly the same, things would be kinda of dull. In the past most cars were painted one color. This was usually the color that represented its manufacturer (with maybe a stripe or two). Through the following years, cars began to become more colorful. Later still graphics and liveries began to be more multi color, and more complex graphic designs began to appear.
Today with the advent of vinyl wraps, you can adorn race cars with just about anything you can imagine. This could be anything from a sponsor, to the team itself, or even a cause or charity. However sometimes you are locked into whatever your sponsors logo dictates. If you are lucky you can find a way to incorporate it into something artistic and tasteful. If not you could end up with a very ugly haphazard looking design. Some teams have what have become iconic liveries, and sponsors have to tailor their logo to fit them.
Here are some examples of what I feel are well done liveries. Some are lucky enough to not have to worry about a sponsors design, and are able to do their own thing. I often tell people the photographers dirty little secret is that it is not always the fastest car on track that gets the most pictures, it’s the best looking.
With it now being 2023, this seems like a good time to take a look back at 2022. The year was its usual mixture of both excitement and disappointment. But as I look at the overall, there was far more good than bad. I also got to make some new friends, and see some old ones I haven’t seen in awhile. What I present here are some of my favorite shots from last year, in no particular order. For photographers, what constitutes a favorite is not necessarily the most technically excellent shot, but the one that speaks to us and gives us the feeling that we accomplished something a bit little special. In most cases the average viewer may not agree, but this is why I call it favorites not best shots. As usual starting a new year I have no idea what is to come. For 2023 I will do as I always have and try to improve on what I have done in the past, and become better at my trade.
So I hope you enjoy what is presented here, and here’s to new opportunities in the future.
In following sports car racing, one of the trends that is watched with interest is the constant change of cars from season to season. It can be both fun and heartbreaking to watch as you anticipate what car various teams will be using from season to season. Different manufacturers rise and fall in prominence each year, and you feel a bit sad if it’s one of your favorites that begins to fade. This is also true of series and regions. Cars that are widely raced in Europe, may have a smaller presence in the U.S. and vise versa. At one time Aston Matins were few on most grids, now they are pretty much ubiquitous.
Myself as a Ferrari lover, had noticed a downward trend in their use here as compared to Europe and Asia. 2022 saw a bit of a change in trajectory compared to the last few years. In part this can be attributed to the emergence of Triarsi Competizione. With two to three entries per race in Fanatec GT World Challenge North America, and as a major player in Ferrari Challenge, they seem to have ignited renewed interest in the 488 GT. I can’t help but feel the the new 296 GT3 will spark even more interest in the brand, and we should see the prancing horse once again prominent on many future grids.
Sample of entry prominence by Series (in no particular order)
– FANATEC GT Europe: AMG, Audi, Mclaren
– FANATEC GT North America: AMG, Lamborghini, Acura
– FANATEG GT Asia: Audi, AMG, Porsche
– IMSA: Porsche, AMG, BMW,
– British GT: AMG, Aston Martin, McLaren
This may not be 100% accurate, I’m just doing it from memory. It is just meant to show the variety of makes, and where they are popular. We are now in a new year, and there have already been announcements of teams switching to different brands. And so it goes on, and will continue to.
When shooting motorsports much of what you shoot can be considered tough shots, but there are those situations that require a great deal more work and patience. Those who normally shoot slower moving, or stationary objects don’t appreciate the challenge of shooting really fast moving targets. You have track, lock onto, compose, and capture a subject that will only be there for a few seconds or less. Even with all of that there are other variables that make things more challenging. In this first post we will discuss one of them, rain.
Unlike NASCAR or IndyCar on the oval tracks, sports car racing doesn’t stop for rain unless it is so hard that it forms large puddles on the racing surface. Otherwise they switch to rain tires and continue. For the photographer this means putting on rain gear, covering your camera with a protective covering, and most likely standing in mud or a puddle to get the shot. While it can be very tough conditions to shoot in, the results are very rewarding.
So while the fans put up umbrellas, or run for cover, you will see these intrepid individuals covered in plastic carrying large cameras headed in the other direction, into the rain to try to capture what may be some of their best shots of the year.
I’ve known about the Vintage Indy Registry for some time now, but had never seen it in person. Members of the registry painstakingly preserve vintage Indy cars between the years of 1930 and today. Like most who witness this spectacle, you wish the the cars would go a bit faster than parade speed. However you have to remember many of these cars are one of a kind, or the only one left in existence. To spin or wreck one would be an immeasurable loss. So like me you overlook this, and feel privileged just to see them at all.
This brings me to my point. I was 12 in 1968 when the STP Lotus Turbine made its debut at Indianapolis. I was so enamored with this car that I had pictures from magazines, built models of it, and even had the Hot Wheels version. At the SONSIO Indy Grand Prix, I got to live a dream. I not only was able to see and photograph it, I also got to hear the turbine in person for the time. A lot of fond memories of my childhood came flooding back, and I am still savoring them today.
Black and White motorsports photography while once the norm is now a speciality form of photography. Many try it, few do it well. In this day and age fo high megapixel color photography, black and white gets relegated to a seldom used, or just lost art form.
When considering wether too process a photo for black and white, the first thing you have to understand is that not every shot will look good in this medium. Shots with busy and distracting backgrounds will not work. Next you have to consider the subject matter. Dark blue, green, and black cars or bikes are likely to lose a lot of detail in conversion, and just look like a badly underexposed image. Packs of multiple vehicles close together will leave the viewers eye wandering trying to find the main subject of the shot.
When going through your work, look for shots with one or two subjects isolated on a relatively clear background. This will take the viewers eye directly to the main subject. From there they can explore the rest of the image. If the background is slightly blurred, that makes it even better. Overcast and rainy days also lend themselves well to black and white. All in all you should choose your subject matter carefully.
As for tools, any image editor will give you good results as long as you take the time to learn what you can do with the tools at hand. Spend some time experimenting with sliders and filters to squeeze the most you can out of your software. Just selecting convert to black and white from a preset menu will give you mediocre results at best. I’m partial to NIK Filters Silver Effects for black and white conversion. There are several other stand alone, or plug in programs out there, but this is my personal favorite. So all that is left to do is jump into the deep end, and see what you can create.
Article inspired by Kurt Roussell @ Fast Car Photos.
Anyone who follows IndyCar is familiar with the principal race teams as many have competed for a number of years. Names like Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson, and Dale Coyne just to name a few, are well known to fans. For those who aren’t serious followers there are some team names that may not be as familiar. Belardi, Team Pelfrey, and Pabst are among the names you may not know unless you also follow the IndyCar ladder series.
IndyCar has one of the most clear cut and organized development series in racing, but that’s a subject we will tackle in a future article. The success of such a series much like the top tier series depends upon a consistent number of teams to develop new talent. Just as in all racing series there will always be a certain amount of attrition, and consolidation. But a solid core of existing and new teams insures that the program remains viable. What we will cover here are two teams that have been development teams and have now made the move themselves to the top tier IndyCar series.
Carlin may seem like a new team to many in the United States having come to Indy Lights in 2015, but they have existed as a winning team in Europe for over 20 years. Team principal Trevor Carlin has a solid record of success in European junior and development series. Some of the top drivers in F1 and IndyCar have passed through the doors of Carlin. Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Sebastian Vettel, and Daniel Ricardo are just a few of the top drivers who have driven for Carlin. In a conversation I had with team members at the Chris Griffis Mazda Road to Indy test session in 2015, I was told they had a two year plan to compete in Indy Lights and then move up to IndyCar. However they were unable to put together a full season plan by 2017, but were able to do so in 2018. They are fielding two cars this year driven by series veterans Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.
Before moving to the United States in 2002, Ricardo Juncos from age 14 was involved in carting and Formula Renault throughout South America and in his native Argentina. Due to economic concerns he moved to the U.S. working as a mechanic for karting team in Florida. He later started his own successful karting business, earning many local and regional titles. In 2009 he entered the Star Mazda (now Pro Mazda) series. With series titles in 2014 and 2015, Juncos was later able to expanded into the Indy Lights series. They proved to be a winner there as well. With a mission to find and develop new talent, the driving roster for Juncos also looks like a who’s who of open wheel racing. Now in their first full season in IndyCar, we can see no reason why they would not be successful here also.
For IndyCar in general these moves can only be positive. Maintaining a certain number of cars and teams, and a high level of competition is a constant struggle for all racing series. Having this level of talent in your development series, with the ability to move up to the top tier is a major plus.