Speed and Sport Shorts: Vintage Sports Cars

I am by no means a BMW fan. But this 1973 CSL is one that just screams vintage sports car racing.

So here’s just a little thought exercise. You are not at race track, nor are you watching racing on TV. Someone says “vintage sports car racing”. Now what image or images pop into your mind. Ah yes, I can hear the wheels turning. The trick is not to think, but let your mind react to the phrase.

 

For me there are a few images that come to mind. One is of a car that is not even one of my favorites, but still says vintage sports car racing. If the phrase was just vintage racing, then none of the cars in this article would come to mind. However by narrowing it down to a specific catagory, then you come up with completely different results. British sports car racing yields yet another set of results.

So, I will show you what I came up with and let you ponder what you came up with.

Joel

This 1968 Alpha Jr. has always been a favorite of mine. With an attractive front end, and rather pedestrian rear end, it just looks at home on a race track.
I’m sure more than one of you came up with a Shelby. That would only be natural as this 1965 Shelby CSX was designed for this purpose.

The Car

When you are shooting an event, it’s easy to not see details in what you are shooting. Things are coming at you so fast you don’t have time to focus on the nuances. The other day I was going through a folder of images I shot at a vintage event a year ago at Blackhawk Farms Raceway, when I came across a shot of a Mini painted with the British Union Jack on it. So I decided to edit it for social media use. While looking for the best shot to use, I noticed there was something very different about some of the shots.

In hindsight I guess I should have noticed that the car seemed to be coming back around to where I was shooting fairly quickly. It wasn’t until I found a rear shot that that I discovered that the other car was in fact a Wolsely with the same livery. From there it was a trip to Google to find out just what a Wolsely was.

Wolsely Motors was founded in 1901 by (of all people) Vickers Armaments. Makers of the famed Vickers machine gun which was used by the British in both world wars. The most obvious difference is the front grill. From there you start to notice the other subtile differences. But overall there really aren’t that many. The car in these shots are 1960s vintage, but not having the entry list, I’m not sure exactly what year. So here’s to the Wolsey. The car I never heard of until recently.

Joel

Indy 8 Hour 2023

Doing last minute travel prep, and thinking ahead to this weekend. FANATEC GT World Challenge and International GT Challenge, team up once again at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 8 Hour. I was looking through the entry list, and see that last year’s winner the Craft Bamboo team are back to defend their victory. Looking at the drivers of this Mercedes AMG, it’s not at all surprising that they are a favorite. There is Maximilian Götz, Jules Gounon, and Raffaele Marciello, who has to be one of the top 3 GT drivers in the world. As always in an 8 hour race, anything can happen. However barring any unforeseen circumstances, they are the ones to watch.

joel

Ferrari 296 GT Breaks Through

There was much fanfare at the launch of the Ferrari 296 GT3. It looked to be a worthy successor to the very successful 488 GT. However its first outings were less than stellar as they seemed to struggle to find proper race pace. All that was to changed at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. I watched the qualifying for that race, and was amazed as the Ferrari out paced the entire field in every sector. They not only went on to win the race, they set the first sub 7 minute lap with a 6″58.7 lap time.

Meanwhile in the U.S. racing series, they still had not broken through with a win. That changed August 19 at Road America with a pole position start, and a race win. Manny Franco and Alessandro Balzan drove the Conquest Racing 296 GT3 masterfully in both qualifying and in the race. As a Ferrari fan it was also a good day for me. They went on to duplicate their feat the next day, and sweep the weekend.

Meanwhile in Europe, A 296 scored double podium at ESTORIL by winning first the 6 hour qualifying race, and the 12 hour main race. And it goes on from here with many series having plenty of racing left in their seasons. As more customer cars become available next year, I hope to see more of them on grids throughout various series, especially here in the U.S.,and many more podium finishes.

Joel

IMSA Indy Test

Porsche Penske Motorsports – Porsche 963

Testing is an essential part of auto racing, and there are many reasons why teams do it. Baring any unforeseen problems, most testing is done in the off season. However if you are moving to new equipment, and it is late in arriving, you could find yourself behind the eight ball compared to other teams.

But these are not the only reasons for testing, and not the only times it is done. If part way through a season your car is performing as well as you feel it should, you schedule test at various tracks. Most test sessions are private, and may only consist of one team. Others may be in conjunction with teams. They are however open test that take place before certain big races. Most are open to the press, and maybe a few fans.

Crowdstrike Racing by APR – Oreca LMP2 07

Such a test took place recently at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was for IMSA cars participating in the upcoming race to take in September of this year. For this test there was a very good reason. IMSA has not been to Indy since 2014.That was at the time of the IMSA Grand AM merger. The cars of today are a far cry from those that were there in 2014. The top prototype class has evolved from the Daytona prototypes of that time, to the DPi cars, to the new GTP Hybrid cars. I have no doubt that even for drivers who were there in 2014, that there will be a bit of a learning curve.

BMW M Team RLL – BMW M Hybrid V8

Thirty three cars participated in the test, from GTP, LMP 2, LMP 3, GTD and GTD Pro. There were cars from the Michelin Pilot series who had their own sessions. There were very few mishaps, although it take the #60 Acura a few laps to figure out turn 12. Otherwise the day I was there was quite smooth. I am sure those who were there now have the basis of a notebook to work from on how to set up their cars for race weekend.

Wright Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)
Paul Miller Racing – BMW M4 GT3
JDC Miller MotorSports – Porsche 963
Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian – Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Era Motorsport – ORECA LMP2 07
Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian – Acura ARX-06

Joel

Ferrari: Pure Automotive Beauty

Is there such a thing as pure automotive beauty? Of course there is, that’s a silly question. Though the years car companies such as Ferrari have proven this numerous times. It’s easy to marvel at the beauty of todays sleek stylish cars, but it is also easy to forget, or take for granted the style and beauty of their past works of automotive art. Most peoples vision of a Ferrari is the 308GTS from the tv show Magnum PI, or the 348 Testarossa from Miami Vice.

Scuderia Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari 1929, and while under the banner Alfa Romeo brought them fame and their first racing success. However by 1938 the relationship soured and Alfa absorbed all of the Ferrari assets. They also fired Enzo Ferrari and imposed a four year ban on him being able to race under his own name. Undeterred, in 1939 Ferrari went to work anyway on the Tipo 815. After the war years of 1939 – 1945 Ferrari was on track under their name with the 125 S. This year also saw them score their first success as a company with six wins. Although their fortunes have been up and down through the decades, with some of their best years coming between 1957 – 1965, they remain very competitive wherever they race today. Their new Hypercar Prototype has already already won The 24 Hours of Le Mans, and has been on the podium in most of the other races they have participated in to date

Here today we will take a glimpse at some lesser known Ferrari’s. I feel very luck to have had the opportunity to shot these amazing cars recently. It is always a thrill for sports car lovers to see such beauty on track, at speed, in their element.

Joel

 

 

 

Speed and Sport Shorts: Tough Shots (Eye of the Driver)

This is something I try to do every chance I get. So what makes this a tough shot? First you have to have the right conditions. Most preferred are early morning, or late afternoon. During these times the low sun shines directly in to the car. At these times most drivers tend to have their visor either partially or fully up. Another condition that will offer this kind of shot, is cloudy and heavy overcast. In these conditions many drivers will wear a clear visor for better visibility. Second, you have to be able to get close enough to track side to see directly into the front windshield of the car. It doesn’t matter if it is on a strait or curve. Both offer unique views, and expressions on the drivers face. Third you must have a long enough lens to zoom in tight on the driver.

What is it I like about this shot? In the drivers eyes you can see focus, determination, and intensity. You will see them looking at the apex of an upcoming turn. Glancing in the mirror to see who is around them. Also a calmness of a person at work going about their job. What ever the expression is, it fascinates me, and I often find myself looking at these shots for long periods of time trying to determine just what they might have been thinking at that moment in time. After all isn’t that what still photography all about, capturing moments in time?

Joel

 

Trans AM Americas Road Racing Series

Growing up in the big city, my only exposure to racing was occasional television broadcast. Only the Indianapolis 500, and the Daytona 500 were regularly broadcast. Every so often ABC’s Wide World of Sports would show sports car racing, or drag racing. I never attended a race in person until I was an adult. But that never impacted my love of cars, and racing. I had been reading books and magazines about racing since 5th grade, and read every thing I could get my hands on.

One day (I don’t remember when) I came across a race on tv I had never seen before. What excited me about it was the cars competing were Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, and Javelins. The cars that most of us kids stared at in countless magazines and ads, were racing on a road course somewhere. I had discovered Trans AM racing and wanted to know more.

In front of the “L” train station near my house stood a news stand. The guy there knew me as the kid that always came by looking at car, and racing mags. When he got something new he thought I might be interested in, he would put it aside until next time I came by. The day I came by to ask him if he could find something on Trans AM, He reached under the counter and handed me a magazine on sports car racing. From then on I followed the series as best I could, built models of most of the cars, and also started following Can-AM racing as well. Now here we are many years later, and I still feel the same excitement watching Trans AM as I did back then

From its beginning in March of 1966, Trans AM has had a long and varied history. It has gone through many phases to get to where it is today. Their own history on their web site list the several different era’s it has gone trough. Trans Am’s darkest period came in 2006 when SCCA Pro Racing shut down the series. It didn’t come back until 2009. New rules based on GT1 brought renewed interest, and its popularity has steadily climbed since then. Still after all the ups and downs, it’s evolution from production based cars, to tube frame purpose built cars, the excitement level has never waned.

Trans AM has gone through more changes since it’s beginning than most other racing series of the same age. Having been started in the (win on Sunday, sell on Monday) days of racing, it didn’t take manufacturers long to become interested and start investing money in teams with their brand. Another trend that continues to this day is the desire of top drivers from other disciplines to compete in this series. Todays drivers range from 16 year old kids starting out, to championship winning veterans who have retired from other series, and now race just for the enjoyment of racing. Then are the pure Trans AM vets who have been in the series for their entire career.

Todays top tier fire breathing Trans AM cars are a world away from the cars I first saw. Although the bodies are made of differ4ent materials, they are still true to what a Trans AM car was, and should be. Todays series is split in multiple categories, TA, and TA2 are the most popular. When you see these machines on track, it is easy to understand why. Todays TA2 cars most resemble the original cars, and this always the most crowed starting grid.It’s been a long time, and my hair was a different color, since I first discovered Trans AM. But the feeling I have about this series is still the same.

Joel

 

 

The Color of Racing (Liveries)

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.

Here we have an example of an iconic logo that all race fans will immediately recognize.
Here we have an example of an iconic logo that all race fans will immediately recognize.

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.

This extremely colorful livery has the name “Sparkle Farts” not my idea.
You must be joking.

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.

Joel

A good example of a sponsor logo becoming the livery.
A good example of a sponsor logo becoming the livery.
This short lived series (Saleen Cup), used some of the most famous liveries from racing history on each car.
A livery that shows support for a cause.
In past years Porsche GT3 Cup (now Porsche Carrera Cup) was known for some very clever liveries.
In past years Porsche GT3 Cup (now Porsche Carrera Cup) was known for some very clever liveries.
In past years Porsche GT3 Cup (now Porsche Carrera Cup) was known for some very clever liveries.

Unpublished #1

Every photographer I know has them, lots of them. Images that were taken at an event but were never posted or published anywhere. If you are like me, many have never even been edited. So when I am going through archived folders and run across one or more I think are worthy of publication, I copy them to a folder named hold for processing. Then from time to time when I am looking for something to post online, I go to this folder first. Most times I find what I need there. With that said I am going to start a new recurring series titled Unpublished to highlight some of these images, so they can finally see the light of day.

I have taken many shots go this Jaguar, but none that I thought were more than just average and not worth doing anything with. But somehow I miss this one.

This is one of my more unique images, but if you are going to shoot driver change practice, get permission first as I did. A guy who came along after while I was reviewing my shots did not asked. He learned a few new German swear words.

Here we have an interior of one of Blackdog racing’s McLaren’s shot in the first year of them operating them.

Joel

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5
Scroll to top