Car Racing 1966
- January 1, 2021
- Posted by 2shores Classic Cars
The second volume in this collection of art books devoted to unpublished photographs of the golden age of automobiles, hand-picked from the archives of the DPPI photo agency, takes a closer look at drivers in an era when these death-defying figures held hero status. Hence the many portraits herein. Amidst the thunderous mechanical rumblings of the post-war boom, motorsport tracks were the colosseums of their day. Car Racing was born of a desire to breathe new life into these sensational moments. Endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans or single seater championships, all these events contributed to a history of motorsport that is the stuff of legend. Inspired by close contact, a handful of inspired photographers were to give rise to the Agence DPPI. As in the first volume, the images reproduced are paired with anecdotes and recollections courtesy of photographer Manou Zurini and the journalist Johnny Rives, likewise legendary figures of the period.
Car Racing 1966 focusses especially on drivers, at a moment when these daredevils held hero status. The year 1966 saw the continued rise of the new French hero, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who faced off against the young Jackie Ickx and another stranger to fear, Henri Pescarolo. The legends of French motorsport were already on the scene.
Of course, there is no shortage of talent from elsewhere in these pages, names like Jack Brabham, Graham Hill or Bruce McLaren… The kings of road-racing also attracted crowds, who waited at mountain passes and on backroads to watch drivers like Timo Makinen, Rauno Aaltonen, Pauli Toivonen, Tony Fall, Gilbert Staepelaere and Jean Rolland.
Turning to the cars themselves, the Ford GT 40, Alpine, Ferraris, BRM, Lotus, Mini Cooper and more, apotheoses of design and mechanical thunder, outdared each other continuously in pursuit of the top spot, in rallies and endurance races such as Le Mans. Indeed, it was in 1966 that one of the authors of this work, Johnny Rives, got to drive the n° 53 car down the Hunaudières straight. The drivers, whether at Le Mans, in hill-climbs or on the first circuits of what had not yet become the full circus that is Formula 1, were universally accessible and welcoming, smiling at amateurs and the media, who were not yet clustered in droves around the route or track. Amazing memories!
Johnny Rives remains the ultimate specialist of motorsport since he first joined L’Équipe in 1960. A former Formula 1 commentator on the TV channel TF1, he has published a number of works dedicated to his passion for sports cars and racing. Here, he sketches several moving portraits of great drivers that echo the photographs taken by DPPI.
A former driver himself, Manou Zurini is the oldest photographer of automobile racing, and was a fixture on the tracks from the early 1960s, notably as a member of DPPI. Many of his shots were seen all over the world. Today retired from the track, he is a world-renowned sculptor, and shares his deep knowledge of automobile racing in the captions for this book.
Report by Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille