Photographing at Williams F1 HQ

In the hectic world of Formula One, January is a quieter time of year for the teams and it proved the right moment to photograph some more cars for GP Racing magazine’s ‘Now That Was A Car !’ feature.

So this week I visited Williams F1’s Grove HQ in Oxfordshire with photo assistant Rachel to shoot classic F1 cars in their superb museum.

With no one available to move the cars around we had no choice but to shoot each car on the list in the position it was set in the display. I’d usually set up black backgrounds and create a bed sheet lightbox, as I did at Mercedes,( but there was no space to do this so we had to use more flash heads to light each panel.

Our target was to photograph three cars in a day FW10, FW15 and FW19 so we had to work fast. Using flash speeds things up as you don’t need to worry about using a tripod so it was all about maximising the number of angles and details we could manage shooting around the other exhibits.

Rachel and I have worked together on many projects but she has never worked this way before so it was a steep learning curve but we had captured our three cars by mid afternoon and managed to photograph a fourth car, FW09, below with minutes to go before our 4pm deadline. Here’s the retouched image below.

Jacques Villeneuve’s 1995 championship winning FW19

NSX group test on the Top Gear track

I recently got the call to head down to Dunsfold Aerodrome south of Guildford for a five car photo-shoot for Classic and Sports Car magazine where I am still on the staff after 32 years.The perimeter track of old Royal Canadian Airforce airfield was made famous as the original Top Gear test track and it’s now possible to hire a section of the track for photo-shoots. Our subjects on that bright autumnal day was an icon of the Japanese super car world ,the Honda NSX.

There’s a huge following for the Ferrari beating NSX both for the original series launched in 1990 and the new high performance version that appeared in 2016 with over 500bhp on tap and a 0-60 of under 3 seconds.

As well as the standard cars we were joined by two owners with the holy grail of the NSX range, the Type R. With 120kgs stripped out from the already lightweight aluminium monocoque and a hand built blueprinted engine, the Type R cost an incredible £15,000 more than the stock model and only a few hundred were built of both the NA1 and NA2 models seen in this panning image below.

To read Greg McLeman’s article and see the whole feature get hold of a copy of the December 2021 issue of Classic and Sports Car magazine