2012: The Year of Drift Cars, Supercars and Hypercars…
Before I even get started, I have to say a very big thank you to the one person who makes this all possible. My wife Angela has from the very beginning supported my motorsport and photography shenanigans from a mere hobby to an all consuming, non-stop traveling, way of life. Without her constant support and occasional bewildered confusion as to why I enjoy this stuff so much, it would never have been possible. So a big thank you to my number one fan.
It has been quite a process going back and looking through and watching how the year unfolded. These are just a few of the highlights and moments that made the year so incredible. I feel privileged to have had so many extraordinary opportunities and it is often a very humbling experience.
One of the standout events from early in the year was when the International Rally of Queensland held a special stage on an airport runway on the Sunshine Coast. We went along for the ride with a Lamborghini LP560-4 joining Rob Whyte and Josh Boettcher at the event.
Stunt driver and all round good guy Travis Roberts was provided a Porsche 911 and was asked with the team at Warner Brothers Movie World to put together a driving display as part of the Gold Coast dealership launch. He invited me along to get a few shots and it was a sight to behold! These 911’s were brand new and automatic, but that didn’t stop Trav running the wall! There was something so wrong and yet so right about the whole experience!
Kris Frome is a guy I have known for many years and he took his Autosalon built, leather and stereo filled showcar out drifting. It was a turning point in his life as he waded into the murky depths of drift life and slowly began to strip out the car. It all culminated in a complete strip down, cage and LS conversion and Kris is now hitting the track in his V8 R34. Kris has even threatened to teach me to drift in this beast, stay tuned for that one!
The Stadium Drift Pro Tour makes its way up and down the east coast of Australia and one of my favorite stops is at a track in the country in the town of Stanthorpe. A high speed but technical track, the battles are always close and when the drivers get a chance, are absolutely blazing.
I love this shot of Ryan Cummings killing it at Stanthorpe.
In between all the events are also the promotional stops, as drivers do their part to support their sponsors. I joined Josh at a new Tyreright opening and this is often one of the unseen sides of motorsport, with teams and drivers put in countless hours to support the people that support them.
The next massive adventure for the year took me to Singapore for Round 2 of Formula Drift Asia with Josh Boettcher and the GT Radial Drift Team. This was my second trip shooting at at FD and it is a surreal experience.
Having the opportunity to photograph drivers like Daigo Saito is beyond comprehension when I think back to my early days shooting trackside at Archerfield, QR and Parklands.
Another great driver and spectacular to to both watch and photograph, Ken Gushi.
One of the added bonuses at the event was when Canon set up the then brand new and impossible to get a hold of because of the Olympics, the Canon 1DX. Set up with a 1DX and a 500L, shooting at Formula Drift Asia, I really had died and gone to drift photography heaven.
Back in Australia and the Australian Drifting GP took me to Tasmania with Rob Whyte and the Monster Energy Motul Drift Team.
This Corolla provided one of my favorite shots of as it dropped a wheel in the dirt to put the front in the air.
The track was fast and brutal, but when the drivers got it right, it was spectacular.
Tony Harrison let it rip with a V8 under the bonnet of his S-Chassis.
Back to Melbourne for Round 2 of the Australian Drifting GP with Rob Whyte, it was my first trip to Calder and a turning point for Rob as he secured the round win.
One of the most incredible experiences of the year occurred when the owner of the only Australian delivered Aston Martin One-77 asked me to photograph the very first drive of this handmade hypercar.
It was an honor and a privileged to be asked to photograph this extraordinary vehicle and this stands as my favorite photograph, ever. I have a massive print of the image below and it is the only image of I have ever taken that I have hanging in my house. It represents an incredible moment in my automotive photography life.
Coming back to earth from shooting one of the rarest cars on the planet, I never get tired of heading back to Archerfield. It is my photography playground and where it all began. Shooting this MX5 on track was one of the most relaxed and fun afternoons.
As August rolled around, all signs point to Sydney Motorsport Park for the World Time Attack Challenge. Don’t tell anyone, but I just went for the drifting! With top drivers from Australia, NZ and Japan, the drifting action was fierce.
The 3 Fingers Neat crew sure know how to put on a show!
Luke Fink showed as always, his sheer skill behind the wheel.
The V8 powered S15 driven by Western Australia local Carla Fry is an absolute weapon and she mixes it with the best on track at ADGP.
I received one of those phone calls you dream about, when I was asked to shoot a matte black Lamborghini Aventador. It really is on another level and in the matte finish… love at first sight.
This is another of my favorite shots of the year, there is nothing like planning a shot and managing to capture exactly what you wanted as the sun set on my home town of Brisbane.
Trent and Tess who run Brisbane performance workshop Mercury Motorsport invited me to join them at Powercruise, where they wanted to test their 800HP ATW R34 GT-R. Trent took me for a spin in this fire breathing monster. Running on E85 and pushing 42PSI through the RB26, all hell broke loose when it came on boost!
Closer to home, the Queensland Raceway Short Track Series made non-stop action and wall running the norm as drivers battled under lights.
Nigel Petrie from Engineered to Slide even made the trip north for the event.
Some impressive cars turned out, this 86 was a standout.
But more than anything, is was just about getting sideways and having a great time with your mates. Everything a drift event should be.
Back in Brisbane, the Stadium Drift Pro Tour came back to Archerfield and Josh Boettcher was rewarded for months of hard work. With his S15 overseas for Formula Drift Asia, he and his team built up a Sil80 and Josh secured his first win in the dialed in Sil.
It was back on a plane and over to Western Australia for Round 4 of the Australian Drifting GP. This is one of the most emotional shots for the year as Rob Whyte clinched the championship at the 2012 Australian Drifting GP. You can read the full story here: Chasing a Championship
Back home after the championship, Rob was invited to drive and drift a car for a shoot for a New Zealand photographer. We can’t release anything until it goes to publication, but Rob made the most of the afternoon getting a Z4 sideways on the skidpan in between shots!
Another of those great moments, I was on the Gold Coast in this 599 and we were rapidly running out of light and needed to get a shot with only 20 minutes available. With location scouting out the window, we headed to the Spit and managed to get this shot of the beautiful Italian.
Having just added an OS Giken 6 speed sequential to their 800HP GT-R, Trent and Tess from Mercury Motorsport asked me to join them in Sydney for Powerplay. They unleashed the car on track and with the new sequential box getting all that power to the ground without lifting… it was an incredible day.
With the racing season coming to a close, I joined a friend at Morgan Park Raceway as he competed in the Lotus. Up against Porsche 911’s, the mighty Lotus had the speed through the corners. I don’t get to too many race meets, but the track at Morgan Park is well worth a visit.
It was then back to Sydney as I was privileged to be invited to shoot a new Ferrari 458 Spider. Ferrari really did manage to take a perfect car and make it even better! The Spider is simply stunning.
Back home and the final event for the year at Archerfield, the Kyoto Garage Summer Slam. The setting sun made for some spectacular images and it was the perfect way to round out what has been a simply incredible year.
My sincere thanks to all the people that make these adventures possible, I get the feeling that 2013 is going to be just as crazy!