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The best of Michael C. Brown: Formula 1 Photo Gallery

Submitted by on November 3, 2010

Senna 1988This is the first in a series of  monthly features showcasing the work of acclaimed motorsport photographer Michael C. Brown.

Apart from being a fantastic photographer, Michael is naturally a huge fan of the sport. Here is his story.

” I fell in love with racing when my a cousin received a Scalextric set for Xmas. Played on that all day and night and as Jim Clark was endorsing the product, he became my first hero! It wan’t until 1971 until I got to see my first race and that was only because I won a competition for four paddock and stand passes for the F2 race at Crystal Palace. My parents suspiciously never informed me that CP was just thirty minutes up the road and Brands was only another twenty minutes on top of that!! They did not like my new found passion for wanting to be a racing driver and nothing else!

My second race was another competition win, this time with a somewhat larger prize … a five day stay with the Surtees F1 team for the British GP, starting off at their base in Edenbridge. Brilliant! That totally sealed it for me, I had to be in racing one way or another.

When the racing driver dream evaporated it was time to pursue my other passion, photography. Started off selling to drivers at clubbie events and then supplying material for race programs, in exchange for photo passes. Also did stories (pics and words) for regional newspapers about local drivers, teams, etc. That, again, allowed me to get race creds for bigger events through the newspaper groups.

McLaren team, Monaco 1976Once I was confident my work was to a sufficient level I approached Autosport magazine. I took some prints from a race at Brands (the previous day) along to their offices, early one Monday morning. So early, no one was there! Eventually the deputy editor, Peter Foubister, arrived and took a look at my work, said thanks and I left. On Wednesday evening, with huge anticipation, I got the train up to Victoria … the mag was on the shelves in London on a Wednesday … and there, my first pics published in a race magazine, a mag I had been reading since I was eleven! A few weeks later, having sent in more photo’s, I was offered a job as staff photographer alongside Jeff Bloxham. I accepted!

After five years traveling the world with Autosport I went freelance in 1990 and moved to the USA to cover IMSA and CART. In 90 and 91 I was team photographer for the TWR Jaguar team, as well as covering CART and a few F1 races for various magazines and agencies. In 1993 I was offered the job as the photographer for the Champ Car Autocourse yearbooks and calendars. In 2000 I (sort of) retired from racing photography as we had three little one’s at home and I needed to be at home more for them.

Gerhard Berger, Austrian GP, 1986My work has been published in countless race magazines around the world, yearbooks, racing bio’s, etc, etc. Too many to mention!

I’m not going to say who my fave drivers are! There are a lot!! When I was a kid it was Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt. Later, when working closely with the racing community, I would have a much longer list.

Fave events …. Just about everything really. I always looked forward to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands. Such a great end of year atmosphere and fantastic racing. I loved the Spa events, despite the weather! Indycar was great. That had a paddock atmosphere which F1 lost many years ago, sadly. Fave tracks, apart from Spa …. Zandvoort, Brands, Thruxton, Ostereichring, Pau, Road America, Laguna Seca, Monaco, Imola, Monza (despite all my gear getting stolen there!) and many more. One race I would have loved to have covered but didn’t … the Bathurst 1000 (James Hardie, call it what you will). Fave race cars … Lotus 72 (both GLTL and JPS) and Brabham’s BT42, 44 and 45′s. Add to that, just about every F1 car from 1967 to 1979! Gulf Porsche 917′s! All Matra’s!”

by Michael C. Brown

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