Tag Archives: motorsports

Sports Car Digest – Best Vintage Car Racing Photo of 2016

Ferrari 250 GTO and Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion (photo: Victor Varela)

I was honored again this year to have four of my images, of the best 50 chosen, to be considered for Sports Car Digest’s Best Vintage Car Racing Photo of 2016. Since 2009, SCD has celebrated the photographs they publish by choosing the top 50 and having the readers chose from these.  Selecting the top 50 certainly isn’t an easy task for them, but with the list being narrowed down, SCD is asking for your assistance in picking the best vintage car racing photo.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion (photo: Victor Varela)

To vote, simply visit the following page on their website: Best Vintage Car Racing Photo of 2016

You can find my 4 images on the SCD website here:  My Best Vintage Racing Photos for 2016

I have shared the four images here for your consideration and your vote for any one of them would be greatly appreciated!

Ferrari 412MI the Monterey Motorsports Reunion (photo: Victor Varela)

Simply vote by leaving a comment at the bottom of the Ports Car Digest website page, indicating which photo is your favorite image.  They will announce the winner in the January 21st edition of their newsletter and in the comment section.

Scarab Mk I left its mark on the Monterey Motorsports Reunion (photo: Victor Varela)

Sports Car Digest will randomly choose THREE winners from the comments to receive a SCD T-Shirt and sticker combo, so be sure to include your email address in the comment form so they can reach you. In order to win, you must also be a subscriber to Sports Car Digest Weekly, so sign up for their free newsletter if you haven’t already.

My Time Behind the Fence.

1968 McLaren M6B passing the scoring tower at turn 10. LoM – Laguna Seca 2013. © 2013 Victor Varela

Back in June of 2013, I received an e-mail from Dennis Gray – Senior Photographer for Sports Car Digest and f8 Motorsports Workshops instructor.  He asked me to call him about the upcoming HMSA event at Mont-Tremblant and the idea of me writing a story about my experience with the workshop and the events I had attended.

I followed up with Dennis and discussed his idea for a story and related images that would be published sometime in October/November 2013 for Sports Car Digest.  What a great opportunity for me to to write about my experiences, as well as having my images published on the leading international online journal for sports, racing and vintage car enthusiasts. Of course I was on board with this!

I took notes and compiled several sets of images.  I worked on the initial draft of the article from October through December, submitting rough drafts to Dennis for his input. Finally, we had a time-frame for submission to SCD – Early January 2014.

I finished up my final draft and completed the selection of 60 of my favorite images from the events I covered. After Dennis reviewed and approved the article, I submitted it with the images to Jamie Doyle, editor at SCD.

I awoke Friday morning at 5:30 am (after having a nightmare – but that’s another story) and checked my iPhone.  It was neat to see that my story had been published as the featured article on SCD.

Thanks Dennis and Jamie for the opportunity to share my images and story with the SCD readers.

You can read my article here: Behind the Fence – Capturing the World of Motorsports


Article and images by Victor Varela

MONACO -The Golden Age of the Grand Prix


If you love racing and photography, then you know the name Jesse Alexander.  He is the world famous motorsports photographer, who is best know for covering the world of racing during what many call “the romantic” period.  At 84 years of age, he’s made thousands of photographs, covering the world of motor racing for the last 60 years and he’s authored at least ten books devoted to auto racing – all which have become collector’s items.

Recently, Jesse has gone back into his archives and uncovered many previously unpublished images, which has prompted his latest project, MONACO, a celebration of the Grand Prix weekend in that famous principality on the Mediterranean.

This is not just an auto-racing book. What he’s tried to do is to paint a picture of the glamour, excitement, and romance of the golden age of motorsport in this tiny country that once a year hosts the most famous Grand Prix race in the world.

Steve McQueen, Princess Grace, Prince Rainier, and many other celebrities were all part of that amazing scene. There were also classic Grand Prix cars with legendary drivers behind the wheel, like Sir Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill, Stirling Moss, and Juan Fangio.

His new book, MONACO: THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE GRAND PRIX, captures them all and much, much more.  The book is a large 12″x12″ hard cover and consists of 160 pages of black & white and color images, many never seen before, with a beautiful Foreword by Sir Jackie Stewart. It will retail between $50-$60 USD.

Jesse is taking a different approach in publishing this book and has decided to self-publish MONACO using Kickstarter to make it happen. Please join me and the rest of the backers on Kickstarter, in bringing this exciting project into the world.

UPDATE: 11/02/2013

It looks like the pledge goal of 15K for Jesse Alexander’s Kickstarter project has been met in just under 2 days!  I’m sure the project amount will reach a point where he will be able to produce the kind of photography book that he envisions!  Congrats, Jesse!

UPDATE: 11/03/2013

You can track Jesse’s Kickstarter project below:

Coronado Speed Festival & Sports Car Digest

Robert Ryan's 1968 McLaren M6B.

Robert Ryan’s 1968 McLaren M6B.  (image © 2013 Victor Varela)

Phew!  It’s been a bit of a struggle to get back into the swing of things, after eight days of fun, family, exploring, eating and a little bit of work on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.  Once home and after updating client’s websites, addressing a mailbox full of e-mails and going through images in Lightroom, I gave myself some time to post something exciting here on my blog, that happened while I was away.  I had my images from the 2013 Coronado Speed Festival published on the leading international online journal for sports, racing and vintage car enthusiasts – Sports Car Digest!


Alex Curtis' 1955 Mercedes 300 SL during Sunday practice.

Alex Curtis’ 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.  (image © 2013 Victor Varela)

Before I left for the weekend in Coronado, I received a phone call from friend and f/8 Motorsports Photography Workshops instructor, Dennis Gray, who asked for some images of the event for the HMSA annual (Historic Motor Sports Association, is the sanctioning organization for the Coronado Speed Festival).  They were requesting an assortment of track and “pit candy’ shots of the weekend to be included with the other HMSA events.  I happily agreed and before we ended the call, he also asked if I could cover the event for him as he had another event to photograph and could not make it to San Diego.   It would be for Sports Car Digest and would consist of about 120 images and a report of the weekend’s activities.  To say that I was excited and honored about covering this event for Dennis, a photographer with his experience, credentials and reputation, is, well… an understatement.  It was such a great moment for me! To have my abilities as a motorsports photographer, validated by Dennis with this request, well I can tell you I had a 48 hour grin on my face.  I greatly appreciate that he had the confidence in my abilities to ask me to cover the event for him.

Thank you, Dennis!

It was a great event and weekend of vintage racing with the various race classes that participated, as well as an open paddock where the cars and drivers prepared for their track time. With all the vendors, food stands, car club corrals and several military vehicles and aircraft on display, fans their families and friends, had a lot to see, eat and experience throughout the warm and sunny Southern California race weekend.

The track was a bit difficult to use as a back drop for all the fantastic cars that participated during the weekend, but I found several good spots around the track to capture them.  The morning light offered some beautiful lighting as is evident in the image above of the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.  The mid-day sun wasn’t too bad for capturing images as seen by the image below of the beautiful, young lady and Fred Lacorte’s 1950 Oldsmobile “88” Convertible.



Fred Lacorte’s 1950 Oldsmobile “88” Convertible is a girl magnet.  (image © 2013 Victor Varela)

Once I returned from San Diego, I was on a tight deadline because of the trip to Oahu at the end of the week.  I post processed, organized, captioned and sent the images and report to Dennis, Jamie Doyle – founder & editor of Sports Car Digest and Bill Wagenblatt at Track Thoughts for the HMSA annual.

I was in contact with Jamie and Dennis during that weekend, about the possibility of having the images published on SCD (although Dennis had asked me to cover the event, it was up to both Dennis and Jamie to approve them for publishing) and when they would be on the site.

On October 2nd, I woke up to another beautiful morning in Oahu and checked the Sports Car Digest website and found the image of Robert Ryan’s 1968 McLaren M6B and the following copy…

Report and photos by Victor Varela The Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California, played host once again to the thundering symphony of vintage race cars at the … Read Full Story

Wow!  What a great feeling it was to see one of my images on the front page of Sports Car Digest!

I have to thank Jamie for the opportunity and the prestige of having my images and report on his fantastic website.  Hopefully, I can make future contributions to Sports Car Digest and maybe other online and printed publications in the very near future.

Fell free to click the image or link below to see my image gallery & report.

Read Full Story


SCD Coronado wp



HMSA Le Sommet des Légendes, Mont-Tremblant, Canada 2013

1953 Maserati 250F

When I attended the F8 Motorsports Photography Workshop this past March, the workshop participants were given the opportunity to win hotel accommodations for the Sommet des Légendes event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, for the weekend of July 11-14, 2013.   I was pleasantly surprised to find out in June, that the images I submitted had won me the Mont-Tremblant accommodations!

Once again, I was given the chance to cover a motorsport event as a credentialed photographer for the Historic Motor Sport Association (HMSA) event that was held at the beautiful, 2.65 mile, Circuit Mont-Tremblant road course.

1967 Lola T70

Le Sommet des Légendes weekend, celebrated the thunderous cars and great drivers from the late 60’s to early 70’s Can-Am Championship. The event also featured a wonderfully group of historic Bugatti automobiles, including several Grand Prix race cars as well as Classic Monoposto, IMSA GT, Trans Am, Sports Prototypes and F1, among others.

Among the eye-catching variety of racing beauties were the ex-John Surtees 1967 Lola T70, owned and driven by Robert Blains (this car won the first Can-Am race here back in 1966 with Surtees at the wheel); a 1956 Maserati 250S; 1978 BMW M1 Procar; 1976 Lotus Type 77; 1925 Bugatti Type 35; 1967 Porsche 910; 1968 McLaren M6B; 2005 Audi R8 LMP1; 2006 Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 and one of my personal favorites of the weekend, Peter Gidding’s 1953 Maserati 250F.

1953 Maserati 250F

I had a great time roaming the North Loop section of the race track, looking for the best angles and lines of sight that I could get during the changing light of the day.  Here again, I used my experience going through the F8 workshop and the last event I attended in June at Laguna Seca, to focus and prepare on where I wanted to capture images on the track and the best time of day to take them from those locations.  I continued to give myself a set of camera parameters to use and stay consistent with the shutter speeds, F/stops and ISO range I wanted to use throughout the day.

1956 Maserati 250S

I was fortunate to run into race car driver and owner, Rick Knoop on several occasion throughout the weekend.  So much so, that I started calling him my shadow!  Rick was a real sport and he readily shared several stories of his father, himself and his passion for racing and race cars.  He brought and drove the light-blue, 1972 McLaren M8F, taking 3rd place over the weekend in his class.  He explained that this particular McLaren had raced in the 1973 Can-Am season by the Commander Motor Homes team and was driven by Danny Hopkins.  It’s history included a best, 5th place finish at Mid-Ohio before the car was wrecked at Edmonton.  His father, Fred Knoop, bought the M8F and raced it in vintage events.  The car has been rebuilt by Rick and his partner and he races it in the same tradition as his father did.

1972 McLaren M8F

I also had the great pleasure and honor to be invited by my friends at F8 (Llew, Dennis & Jeff), to have dinner with them and racing legend, George Follmer.  The 1972 Can-Am series champion was the Grand Marshall of this year’s Le Sommet des Légendes. He regaled us with his great stories and anecdotes throughout the evening, sharing with us his runs at Le Mans, Sebring and the Indy 500, as well as the various race cars he has driven – including the 1974 Shadow DN4 that was present at this weekend’s event..  A truly wonderful highlight to cap a great time in Mont-Temblant!

Overall, a fantastic weekend, although a bit warm and muggy, a stunning race track that is Circuit Mont-Tremblant, awesome race cars and the great new friends I met and enjoyed spending time with.

You can view more of the images I captured during the the HMSA – Le Sommet des Légendes weekend at Mont-Tremblant here: Flickr Gallery.



If you would like information on how to attend one of the motor sport workshops, click the following link: F8 Motorsports Photography Workshop

(images © 2013 Victor Varela)

HMSA Legends of Motorsports – Laguna Seca 2013




As part of the F8 Motorsports Photography Workshop I attended last March, I was given the opportunity to cover the The Legends of Motorsports Powered by Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA), as a credentialed photographer.   The historic car races were held June 15-16, 2013 at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California.

The inaugural 2013 HMSA Legends of Motorsports Laguna Seca, celebrated the 50th anniversary of McLaren and it’s great racing heritage.  Among the beautiful and historic entries that Bruce McLaren put his name on were the 1969 McLaren M10A F5000; 1971 McLaren M8E Can-Am; 1971 McLaren M8E/F Can-Am; 1972 McLaren M8F Can-Am; 1972 McLaren M8FP Can-Am; 1968 McLaren M6B Can-Am; 1965 McLaren M1A and 1966 McLaren M1B.




Also making the field on this beautiful race at Laguna Seca included Nicholas Colyvas’ 1974 Tyrrell 007 F1; Chuck Parson’s 1976 Lola T332C; Jonathan Feiber’s 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage; Al Arciero’s 1958 Lotus Eleven and 1959 Lister Chevrolet Knobbly; Bob Roth’s 1963 Genie Sports; a great selection of Alfa Romeo Coupes and Sedans; Formula 5000 and IMSA GTO machines; among those who attended this event.  Can-Am, Formula Atlantic, Formula 5000 and IMSA GTO race cars had special classes to compete in.


Ford Hart power plant.


I had a wonderful time roaming the entire race track, looking for the best angles and perspectives that I could get during the changing light of the day.  Having the experience of going through the F8 workshop, I was well prepared to use the lessons, techniques and advice that instructors Llew Kinst, Dennis Gray and Jeffrey Dahl provided me with.  I had the focus and preparation to know where I wanted to capture images on the track and the best time of day to take them from those locations.  I gave myself a set of camera parameters from which to shoot at so I could try and stay consistent with the shutter speeds, F/stops and ISO range I wanted to use throughout the day.

Having the credentials and the access to the areas around the track which are normally granted only to the motor sport media, gives you an appreciation of the responsibility one must take when photographing race cars as they speed past you at only a few feet away!  Overall, a fantastic weekend of beautiful weather, an always wonderful race track, awesome race cars and the great new friends I have with Llew, Dennis, Jeff and the photographers who attend the F8 workshops.




You can view the images I captured during the 2013 HMSA Legends of Motorsports weekend at Laguna Seca here:  Flickr Gallery.



If you would like information on how to attend one of the motor sport workshops, click the following link: F8 Motorsports Photography Workshop

(images © 2013 Victor Varela)