For the second time in as many months, I found myself at Brands Hatch in the midst of a high profile historic race meeting. This wasn’t a petrol-fume induced flashback to the Masters Historic Festival though - it was ‘the other’ classic festival on the calendar of the English circuit, the HSCC Superprix. 

There was an impressive entry list, but what set it apart from other classic events I’ve been to this year were the touring cars (from the 90’s BTCC series - more coming later) and a 36 strong field of F5000, Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic cars. The noise that the 5-litre F5000 V8′s make is quite a change from the wailing banshee of highly tuned top-formula engines, but no less ear-splitting. And the colour schemes were are just as loud, my personal favourite being the Chevron B28 of Simon Taylor in a very 70’s turquoise and yellow ‘Thursdays’ livery.

The ‘Martini Trophy’ for 2-litre sports prototypes and the ’70s Road Sports Championship’ carried on with the 70’s theme, with a couple of standout cars that I’ll do a little ‘Auto Focus’ on in due course. Plus there were all the usual suspects of historic racing to enjoy - E-Types, Cortinas, Elans and Mustangs - completing the range of machinery on track.

The Grasser Racing Team's Lamborghinis were the ones to watch at the Blancpain Sprint Series race at Brands Hatch a couple of months back. Not only did the no. 28 car of Hari Proczyk and Jeroen Bleekemolen win both the qualifying and main race, they were also the slickest looking cars on the grid. I guess having such a low, sleek proportion to start with means that the aero components don’t dominate over the aesthetics of the car as much as it does for some of the less exotic rivals. And the tasteful black, white & gold livery keeps the menacing sculpting on the front and rear ends in check - for a real tough guy in a dinner jacket look.

I first saw this Lola T70mk3 of Tarek Mahmoud at Donington Historic in May, and already intended to shine the spotlight on it then as it was the car of the weekend for me. Just a few weeks later, it popped up again at the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch, giving me more visual ammunition for this post.

I was quite familiar with the T70mk3B – a popular sight in historic paddocks – but the (seemingly) rarer Mk3 has a softer, more rounded front end with just two headlights (as opposed to the quad setup of the Mk3B) and an extra round intake each side of the main grille.

Why is it such a standout car for me? Apart from the awesome noise of the 5.7l V8, the wonderfully retro orange and cream livery makes it an instant favourite.

There’s so much going on at the FoS, it’s easy to sometimes overlook the details. It’s worth paying attention though, when you get little treats like these!

Jenson is always a favourite with the home crowd, and I was lucky that a delay on the hill climb stranded the 2009 World Champion at the top of the course, for long enough for me to shoot this series of portraits. 

After he drifted the entire hill climb course, I managed to catch ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett doing some donuts at the top. The marshals looked on slightly disapprovingly, but he seemed to win them over by the time the smoke cleared, as seen in the pic above. I heard he was using a fresh set of rubber for each run, you can see how much got vapourised on the 1.2 mile course by the meager depth of tread left at the end…

A week on, it still feels strange that I was rubbing shoulders with some of motorsport’s biggest names at the FoS. While I’m still in bragging mode, here’s some gratuitous name-dropping; Jackie Stewart, Stirling Moss, Sébastien Loeb, Jenson Button, Emmerson Fittipaldi, Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Jann Mardenborough, Brian Redman, Stuart Hall, Pedro de la Rosa, Johnny Herbert et al…..

The rally stage is a pretty punishing place - for the cars but also for photographers! The track is cut into chalk stone, which makes it very dusty, after each time I left the stage I looked like I’d been floured. It is also very rutty in places, and several of the 80 or so cars that entered picked up damage, some of it fixable but for some it was terminal. That didn’t stop most drivers from pushing though, and giving the spectators a good show - especially over the jump!

Sébastien Loeb was definitely one of the most anticipated drivers at the Festival. Not only is he the most successful rally pilot in history (nine consecutive World Rally Championships don’t lie!) but he brought something extra special with him - his record setting Pikes Peak hill-climb car. His time-attack on the hill was one of, if not the headline spectacle of the weekend, and although he didn’t crack the overall record (set in an F1 car before they were banned from the timed competition) he did take the honours of the fastest time for 2014.

I was very fortunate to be asked by Goodwood to shoot the legendary Festival of Speed last weekend, one of the UK’s biggest car events (rivaled only by the British Grand Prix). I’d been many times in the past, but not since 2009 and never with a press pass, so it was a hugely exciting proposition. The event is represented by virtually every form of automotive competition, from F1 to Nascar to rally, right back to the birth of motoring.

Although I spent most of my time there covering the rally stage and one of the stars of the event, Sébastien Loeb, I had some free time on the hill and in the paddocks too. Since my last visit 5 years ago, the event has got even bigger and better, so much so that you’d need a whole weekend to see everything. And I’ll need more than this post - so stay tuned for more FoS content coming up over the next few days…;)