Posts Tagged ‘le mans


Ligier Le Mans LMP2 JS P217 in bare carbon – RLR Msport team

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All photography ©Tim Wallace AmbientLife

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

This week commercial photographer Tim Wallace got to grips with shooting the brand new Ligier Le Mans LMP2 JS P217 in its bare carbon state for your client RLR Msport team based in England.
Onroak Automotive gave its new sport-prototype the name of Ligier JS P217: “JS”, in continuation of the models built by Guy Ligier whose name included the initials of his late friend Jo Schlesser, and “P217” in reference to the LMP2 category and the year 2017

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans in its essence has always captures the imagination of so many people who enjoy racing and motorsport and commercial photographer Tim Wallace has been working closely with the RLR Msport team over the last few months providing high quality photography for both brand and marketing use online and in print. The man in charge of RLR Msport is Nick Reynolds, Nick has a wealth of experience running endurance prototype cars having twice run LMP2 cars at the Le Mans 24 hour race. The team also run LMP3 cars and have won races in this category, they are also running an LMP3 car in the Michelin Le Mans Cup which is a support race to the European Le Mans Series in which they also compete.

This is a passionate team based in the North of England. Their enthusiasm for the sport is infectious, drivers often comment that they are the hardest working and most dedicated team they have worked with. Their fan base is loyal, in fact you instantly become a fan when you meet the characters that make up the team, you get drawn into the shared goal of ultimately winning the 24 hour Le Mans race in an LMP2 car.
The car that could deliver this dream has just been delivered – the Ligier JS P217. There is a huge mountain to climb, let there be no doubt, competing against much better funded teams from around the world this is one of the most competitive races you could ever enter.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.

Le Mans Car Ligier LMP2 project work from Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Car and automotive le mans photography and commercial car photography.


Aston Martin DBR2 R – A legend is reborn

Aston Martin DBR2 banner

The infamous DBR2 is one of the rarest Aston Martins that exists and this week it was the task of car photographer Tim Wallace to capture the rare and elegant beauty of its presence in the form of a handcrafted and hand built DBR2 Recreation that has just been completed to the highest standards from our client Aston in the UK. Only two DBR2s were built, and they both went on to race extensively in the United States. DBR2/2 was driven by Stirling Moss to victory in the Bahamas in 1958 and was later owned by the late Victor Gauntlet, Chairman of the Aston Martin Company in the 1980s. Today these cars can both command a price tag around £8m each.

aston martin car photography car photographer

aston martin car photography car photographer

aston martin car photography car photographer

There were only two examples of the DBR2 constructed and both were a continuation of Aston Martin’s racing efforts in Grand Prix competition, including the LeMans 24 Hour race. David Brown had purchased the company in 1946 and had made the necessary moves to guarantee Aston Martin would be a top contender. He had purchased the Lagonda rights including the designs of a six cylinder engine featuring two overhead camshafts. It was one of the last designs courtesy of the legendary W.O. Bentley and in the years to come, would be the foundation for Aston Martins success in racing.
The six cylinder engine was fast and provided the company with class victories, but it was never a contender for outright victory. The three-liter Aston Martin DB3S was introduced in 1953 and finally secured the company the podium finishes it was searching for, including the top three positions at Silverstone in 1954. A DBS3 finished in second place at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1955. The cars would have many career highlights in the hands of factory drivers and by privateers.

The successor to the DB3S was the DBR1 and it was completely new, featuring a spaceframe type chassis designed by Ted Cutting, their chief designer. The design and construction resulted in a reduction in weight by 50 lbs when compared to the DBS3, all without compromising structural rigidity. The Lockheed disc brakes and suspension were similar to the DBS3. The engine placed in the first car was a 2.5-liter version of the twin-cam six while three-liter engines were used in a few of the other cars. The David Brown five-speed gearbox was mounted transversely in the car which allowed most of the weight to be properly distributed within the vehicle creating excellent balance. Ironically, the David Brown gearbox would later prove to be problematic.

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At the close of the 1956 season, John Wyer was named General Manager and Reg Parnell was given the duties of Racing Manager for the company. Under their guidance development would continue during the winter that involved many changes throughout the vehicle. The car was campaigned during the 1957 season and quickly proved it was a capable machine, scoring second place finishes in its first two races. A first place victory was in the near future but it required a modified version of the three-liter DB3S engine. Two more outright victories would follow, at Nurburgring 1000 KM and again at Spa. The three-liter engine was able to compete in sprint race, but on tracks with longer, fast straight stretches, more was needed. For this, a 3.7-liter DBR2 was constructed. In the hands of Roy Salvadori, it was able to earn a class victory at Silverstone. Unfortunately, it was not able to secure a victory at LeMans.

As the 1957 season came to a close, new regulations were placed on GP racing limiting the displacement size of engines to just three liters in the sports prototype category. For Aston Martin it meant their DBR2s with the 3.7-liter engine were ineligible to compete, but still used in non-championship races. The displacement limitation worked in their favor, as it made many of their competition obsolete, leaving just Ferrari to contend.

The 3.7-liter DBR2s scored several important victories in the hands of Moss. They were later sent to American privateers who used them in local events. The engines were later modified to 3.9-liters and then to 4.2. After two seasons, they were returned back to the factory and sold to privateers.

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Le Mans ‘1 VEV’ Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Shoot

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Aston Martin DB4GT/0182/R ‘1VEV’ is amongst one of the most famous Aston Martin Racing cars to date and sits beside ‘2VEV’ in the corridors of racing history within Aston Martin. This week commercial car photographer Tim Wallace spent some time with this legend shooting work that is to be combined with his earlier work on its sister car ‘2VEV’ for the 100 Year Centenary Aston Book project that is almost now completed and soon will go to print. In 1990 1VEV sold at auction for £1.54 million GBP with its original engine but today that cars true value runs into many millions if it was ever to enter the auction arena again.

Both 1VEV and 2VEV was purchased by John Ogier’s Essex Racing Stable and both cars became a huge part of Aston’s racing history. In 1961, 1VEV raced at LeMans but retired with head gasket problems. This was followed by a minor victory at the British GP race for sports cars that was absent of any Ferraris. The car’s finest moment came at the 1961 Tourist Trophy when Roy Salvadori finished three seconds ahead of Mike Parke’s 250 GT. During the race, the car was hard on tires and 14 new ones had to be fitted. The mechanic at the Essex Stable has been quoted saying that ‘1VEV never had more than 270 bhp’, and that 314 was only possible with the later 3.9-liter engine. In 2007, the car was comprehensively restored and its rear fenders were reshaped back to the original specs.

aston martin car photography car photographer DB4 GT VEV1

Although not overly successful, the DB4 GT Zagato was easily one of the most exciting and beautiful British sports cars thanks to its specially built body by Zagato of Milan. It was designed to take a stab at the Ferrari 250 GT roller coaster which was dominating the World Sportscar Championship. It was primarily sold to private race teams, but at least 4 of the 19 cars were built as road cars.

In 1958, the first DB4 was released and received universal acclaim as a successful grand tourer (GT). Much of the DB4 utilized technology from Aston Martin’s earlier race efforts including disc brakes, an independent front suspension and a Superleggra body from Touring of Milan. A year later, Aston Martin was anxious to take it to the track so they introduced the GT model in September of 1959. The GT model had distinct modifications which prepared the DB4 for racing endurance. These included a shortened the wheelbase, less interior and lighter bodies. The huge hood scoop which distinguished the model was hiding a the new improved and potent engine.

The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato was introduced in October 1960 at the London Motor Show as effectively a DB4 GT, it was then lightened and improved by the Zagato factory in Italy by the famous Ercole Spada. Initially the factory had plans to produce 25 cars, but demand wasn’t as strong as expected and production ceased after the 20th car rolled off production.
Nowadays, due to the rarity and popularity of the DB4 GT Zagato, the cars are worth a considerable amount of money, and at auction they can easily reach very high figures in excess of £5 million.

aston martin car photography car photographer DB4 GT VEV1

aston martin car photography car photographer DB4 GT VEV1

aston martin car photography car photographer DB4 GT VEV1

aston martin car photography car photographer DB4 GT VEV1


Ford GT – The Legend – Car Photography

The GT 40 is a legend in the world of cars and racing and has won more prestigious race events than any other model road-race car in history. We had the privilege recently to shoot the new model Ford GT which in many ways stays true to the original design and shape of what was a true legend of a car, the Ford GT40.
Since 1960, Henry Ford II wanted to have a Ford race at Le Mans. After dealings with Ferrari fell through, Ford decided to produce his own car and began negotiations with Lola Cars manager Eric Broadley. The agreement between the two called for a yearlong collaboration that included the sale of two Lola MK 6 chassis to Ford. Soon after Ford hired ex-Aston Martin team manager John Wyer to work with Ford Motor Co. engineer Roy Lunn on what was to become the Ford GT.

The GT40 history began in the early sixties, and extended for almost a decade. During this time, it developed from an initially unreliable vehicle to one which swept all before it in endurance races across the world. Along the way, it was associated with some of the biggest names of twentieth century motorsport on both sides of the Atlantic: Carroll Shelby, AJ Foyt, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Ickx, Phil Hill, and Mike Hailwood. In June 1962, Henry Ford II withdrew his company from the 1957 Automobile Manufacturers Association ban on racing, signalling the beginning of a Ford commitment to international motorsport. Ford Motor Company had joined a 1957 Automobile Manufacturers Association agreement prohibiting direct involvement in racing, and the ban quickly took its toll on Ford’s image and its ability to engineer performance. Thus in 1962 Henry Ford II decided to withdraw from the already-dissolving pact, and the company launched a massive racing campaign that would take the 1960s by storm. A key component of “Ford Total Performance,” as the effort was called, was the quest to win the famed 24-hour Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans. Perhaps the world’s most significant – and glamorous – motorsport contest, Le Mans in the early 1960s was showing signs of becoming a Ferrari showcase, as the Italians had become the leaders in a number of endurance classes and events.

Le Mans, France is the quiet capital of the agricultural region West of Paris – for 51 weeks of the year, anyway. Each June, the motoring world descends on the city for the annual 24-hour competition. The race has been a tradition since 1923, when Andre Lagache and Rene Leonard managed 1373 miles in their 3-liter Chenard & Walker, averaging 57 mph. The Dan Gurney/A.J. Foyt team in winning the 1967 Le Mans in their 7-liter GT40, covered nearly 3252 miles at an average speed of over 135 mph. Impressive as these figures are, Le Mans has always been more than a speed contest in the traditional sense. Victory there, at least in the sixties, was regarded as the ultimate proof of reliability and performance, and a public testimony of engineering excellence.

In the ensuing 12 months, Ford attempted to buy Ferrari to run its international racing program, but negotiations between Ford and Enzo Ferrari broke down in May 1963.

To compete seriously at Le Mans, Ford needed a 200-mph mid-engined car that could maintain a 120-mph average lap speed after 24 hours, and it needed one quickly, so Ford boldly vied to buy Ferrari outright. Things were going fairly well in the $18 million deal when Enzo Ferrari abruptly decided that his company was no longer for sale.

GT40 Beginnings

Ford had a backup plan. While the Ferrari negotiations were underway, Dearborn brass took steps to create their own racing program, ultimately forming the Britain-based Ford Advanced Vehicles division. Through the 1962 Mustang concept, Ford had already developed a relationship with Roy Lunn, an Englishman who started his career at Ford of Britain but came to the United States in 1958.

Because Lunn and his team would ultimately develop the GT40, one can think of Mustang I, a mid-engined sportscar that spawned the classic production vehicle, as a precursor to GT40 in a philosophical rather than technical sense. Aluminum-bodied and lightweight, the two-seater was equipped with a 1.7-liter V-4 and some running gear from period Ford Cortinas. Aside from the mid-engined layout, it bore little resemblance to the Le Mans racers that would soon make Ford proud, but Mustang I was still essential to the GT40 program; it proved to Ford management that an international collection of engineers could form a successful product development team.

After working on the Mustang I, Roy Lunn, along with Ray Geddes and Donald Frey, turned toward the racing effort. They found that the “Grand Touring” car Ford conceived to win at Le Mans had much in common with the new Lola GT, a low-slung coupe developed by Eric Broadley in Slough, England, not the least of which was the American V-8 mounted amidships – a rarity for European cars of the time.

Displayed in January 1963, at the London Racing Car Show, the Lola GT was hardly complete, but it formed an excellent foundation for the development of the Ford GT40. Essential elements like the monocoque center section, the broad side sills (they doubled as fuel tanks) and the aerodynamic profile, made their way to the GT40, and Broadley, short on funds, was eager to join the Ford team.


In April 1964, paint still drying after a transatlantic flight, the strikingly modern “Ford GT” wowed the motor press in New York. Compared to the Lola, it was longer, wider, sleeker, and fantastically over-built, with an extremely rigid steel center section and unstressed front and rear fiberglass body panels. Behind the cabin, Ford fitted its all-aluminum 4.2-liter “Indianapolis” V-8 and a 4-speed Colotti transaxle; the car featured a computer-designed double-wishbone suspension and 11.5-inch disc brakes at each wheel. Needless to say, with these specifications and its elegant, modern styling, it was received with great excitement in New York.

Ford’s new endurance racer was called simply “Ford GT.” The letters come from the European “Gran Turismo” or Grand Touring, a term coined in the inter-war period, when extended automobile travel became (for the wealthy at least) a glamorous activity. Thus the GT racecars – and to some degree the GT40, which was built to compete in the prototype class – had at least a pretension of luggage space and often a spare wheel. The number 40 was added retrospectively with the introduction of the Mark II, and signifies nothing more than the car’s height in inches.

Two weeks after the introduction, barely driven, the car appeared at Le Mans for pre-race testing. Things did not go well for the greenhorn Ford: the challenging course and poor weather conspired with aerodynamic problems, resulting in two damaging crashes and thus little useful practice for the drivers and the engineers.

The GT40 Mark II and First Victories

By the time of the race in June, the stability problems mostly solved, the cars were competitive against the Ferraris but retired of numerous failures that only further development would work out. For this, Ford brought Carroll Shelby on board to oversee the racing program. He began work on installing the more reliable 7-liter stock-car engine in what would be known later as the Mark II. It proved to be considerably faster than the Mark I, and although 1965 was another unsuccessful year at Le Mans, GT40 had become, in just two seasons, a strong contender.

Ford tested the GT40 Mark II extensively – both in the wind tunnel and on a special dynamometer that simulated a 48-hour run of the Le Mans circuit – and at the start of the 1966 season, GT40 began a four-year domination of endurance racing.

In the 24 hours of Daytona, Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby headed a 1-2-3 sweep for Ford. The Sebring 12-hour also saw a trio of Fords take the checkered flag in sequence.

Ford led at the start of the 1966 Le Mans, and had been nearly unchallenged as darkness fell. By dawn on Sunday, their leads were so significant that they were ordered to slow down for reliability’s sake. By noon, 10 of the 13 Fords entered, many of them sponsored by private teams, had been eliminated, and the three remaining cars cruised toward a 1-2-3 victory and Ford’s achievement of the “triple crown” of endurance racing – in just its third season.

Dearborn’s Own Mark IV Proving that the victory over Ferrari and the others was no fluke, Ford entered and won Le Mans in 1967, this time in all-new car! The GT40 Mark IV was an all-Dearborn creation, born to some degree in response to criticism that the earlier cars were simply English machines funded by big American pockets. So different were the Mark IVs, for example, that they were constructed of aluminum honeycomb bonded with the latest aerospace techniques, instead of steel.

The 1967 Le Mans hosted GT40’s most dramatic duel with Ferrari. Ford led early but lost three of its seven cars to nighttime crashes; the Gurney/Foyt car continued, though, beating the 2nd and 3rd place Ferraris by only four laps. Moreover, the “lazy liters” 427 engine in the winning Ford earned the coveted “Index of Thermal Efficiency” award for highest performance on the least amount of fuel – an achievement which the Europeans considered as important as overall victory.

Not surprisingly, the FIA quickly capped engine displacement at 5 liters, but the European component of “Ford Total Performance” was far from complete. Under Gulf Oil sponsorship, the Mark I GT40s returned to win Le Mans in 1968, and then again in 1969. That final Le Mans for GT40 was one of the most exciting in the history of endurance racing, with a margin of victory of just two seconds after 24 hours of intense competition!

By 1969, the winning GT40 had 425 BHP and was timed at 217 mph along the Mulsanne Straight. The GT40 and its speed were instrumental in sweeping rule changes which were introduced after the 1969 race in order to curb the high speeds of GT racing. The new rules were introduced at the end of 1969 and limited engine size, ending the GT40’s successful winning run at Le-Mans.

Interested in learning how to light and shoot car and automotive photography?
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2013 Seminar Events with photographer Tim Wallace
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Photographer Tim Wallace is the driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life.
An award winning photographer he is probably best known for his commercial car and advertising work.

Tim works with many well known brands and clients such as Aston Martin, Land Rover and Kenwood in the US, and has recently been named as one of the ten photographers to be selected by Hasselblad for the quality of his work and creative vision to represent their new 'Pro Team' to be launched in 2010.


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