Ryan Mcintosh, Business Development Manager at Lime Rock Park, gave me a call on day as I was working on some edits. He excitedly stated, “You wouldn’t believe what is showing up this week!” As I tried to imagine what beauty I would be able to set my eyes on, I had thought of what ever it was, it would be great since Ryan was telling me with such eagerness. Turns out, it would be the 1966 Ford GT40 that Bruce McLaren drove to win the 1966 24-hour of Le Mans for the 1-2-3 finish. The idea was to use this car to show that Ford was dominating in racing against its competitor, Ferrari. Ryan wanted me to show up and photograph this magnificent piece of automotive history. He didn’t need to convince me as I was more than willing to and could be seen in my office pumping my fists in the air, just ecstatic about this incredible opportunity. I researched the car for further details and then headed down to the basement to start up the Xbox to take photos in Forza Motorsport 6. I downloaded the No. 2 Ford GT40 MK II-A P/1046 livery and proceeded to scout locations at Lime Rock Park. There was one shot I nailed and wanted to make it become a reality the next morning. As you may know, Lime Rock Park is one of the tracks showcased on Forza. Because of this, I can figure out the angles and locations of shots, making me more efficient with my time at the actual track.
Once again I found myself making that long 3 hour drive to my favorite track out in Lime Rock, CT. At about 30 minutes out, I call Ryan to let him know of my arrival. He proceeded to tell me that Daniel Byrne from Automobile Magazine and Erik Fuller from Octane Magazine will be there doing features on the GT40. He gave me the heads up that they have full access and priority over the car and that if there is time I could be squeezed in for some 1:1 photo time. I was taken back and instantly nervous because now there was limited if any time with the car alone and there was a strict time schedule. I had to work with these two photographers with no clue on how receptive they will be with me tagging along. I also wanted to be respectful of their work and time with the car. Making the decision to make this more about behind the scenes these major publications was the best decision at this point. I followed them and capture them taking pictures of the GT40. It was nice to see how they approached photography and their style. Learning from others’ work is important as it is with any profession.
When we got to the paddock, there was a flat colored trailer sitting along the back wall. The door opened and there sat dormant was this rare panther of a car, caged up waiting to stretch its legs and let out a piercing growl. The GT40 was exquisite and iconic. Mark Allin, from Rare Drive and his team fully restored this vehicle to its exact spec. As I was looking at the magnificent beast of a car, I notice a very familiar BMW X5 roll up. It was Daniel Oliveras, a fellow photographer/videographer that I met at Monticello for the Guardian Angel Motorsports charity event. He told me he was just finishing up a video series and was on his last day of shooting. After Dan interviewed the owner of the GT40, the other photographers showed up. Needing the shot I created in Forza, I quickly introduced myself making it known that I would like to squeeze some time in. Dan Byrne said to hop in his car with his assistant and to drive around the track looking for locations. He liked my idea and added it to his shot list. Excellent!
Daniel Oliveras and his assistant, Axel Del Cid, had me sit in the bed of the pickup truck with them to grab a few rolling shots. What a perfect vantage point to grab a behind the scenes shot of the two of them holding the gimbal over the tailgate with the GT40 trailing close behind. After Dan was all set, we pulled into the pits to unload and Daniel Byrne instantly took off in his car, hanging out of the lift gate to capture some low rollers. After two laps I saw them stop at the bottom of the downhill. I asked Axel to drive me down the front straight in the cart right now. The cart was very slow so I jumped out and started running full force as I didn’t want to miss my opportunity. As I am running I look back and notice the cart right behind me so I jumped back in. As I was gasping for air we arrive and I was able to grab a relatively close shot as the lighting and car position were different than my vision.
At the end of the session I got to sit on the downhill as the car was able to do a few hot laps at its full potential. What a beautiful sound that comes screaming from the twin pipes in the rear! To be able to see what it looked like on the track, racing loudly, was pure enjoyment.
Edited by: Stephanie Montaquila
Dans Video Series: GT40 Videos