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They came, They saw, They received a splash!

What makes a supercar owner happy? A dry road!

That was what we saw on Sunday, September 11, 2022, on the first leg of a trifecta driving tour through Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
We started under a light rain in Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland. The sprinkle that started slowly turned into a shower as the first flood of drivers arrived. My job was to drive the big-ass van (carrying all the signage, tables, and operations gear,) help get driver signatures for two waivers, and try to capture some photos and video of the day’s events. We gave the participants the option to bring whatever car they had if they didn’t feel comfortable bringing the “bambino” out in the wet.

After the first wave of participants arrived, the rest came in piecemeal, so I had time to take some photos and video.

Soon enough, the stream of cars came to an end. While a driver’s meeting was underway, I took some time to make clips of the cars lined up. During the meeting, many new faces to the event got to meet, for the first time, our guest of honor; Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni (Ret.) Shortly after, the queue of cars was on their way to the next stop; Sterling, Virginia, at Autobahn Indoor Speedway—a go-kart track. I shot a few more video clips as they disappeared down the winding road through the forest as they passed our checkpoint.

Below are several photos of the various marques that participated in this year’s event. Click or tap an image for a full-screen eye-candy view.

I had the pleasure of being accompanied by Emilia Pavorotti—Valentino’s girlfriend.
Emilia only spoke Italian, so the Google Translate app became our connection to a new friendship. That is what these events are all about. We didn’t take the suggested route that our 700hp friends were touring. We took a scenic route which allowed Emilia to see some very large homes. “Wow! Wow! Wow!” we would say as we passed another mansion. Somehow, we arrived before many of the participants, but as they arrived, a crowd of locals and people going into the go-cart track stopped to look in awe at the great assembly of Italian and German craftsmanship.

Everyone slowly made their way into the facility as things were beginning to smell good. Our host, Kevin Sims had ordered barbeque from Mission Barbeque. It was delicious, and then I realized there was BBQ sauce to go on top, so I had another plateful. But rather than spend the next 20 minutes celebrating how good the food and staff were (like Chris Economaki used to do a Le Mans for four minutes of a five-minute report,) I thought I would move right into the action. Photographing events can be very difficult to photograph everyone; especially if the group is mixed in with locals coming out for a day of fun. Luckily, our group had lanyards on, but I still might have missed someone, and for that, I apologize. I photographed a number of our participants on the track and then culled them to the best versions.

Meanwhile, outside there was a deluge of rain coming down. I directed my attention back inside and noticed that Emilia was going to race around the track. How great is that? All she had to do was put her helmet on, and immediately she got the coaching from a Lamborghini test driver! How cool is that? A few team orders and off she went. The two of them worked together like a well-oiled machine. A few minutes later and the race was over, and they were both all smiles. I thought about racing myself but figured I might not be able to get out of it, so I stayed with my camera and continued documenting the event in a photojournalistic style.

Below are several photos of the various marques that participated in this year’s event. Click or tap an image for a full-screen eye-candy view.

Soon, it was time to head to the last destination; Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. Emilia and I took the big ass van and our Google Translate app, and off we went. As we made our way into West Virginia, Emilia told me these were the kinds of houses she had seen on TV as we passed horse and cattle farms. I remember going to Le Mans for the first time in 1999 and saying the same thing. I had built it up in my mind so much since the movie “Le Mans” came out that it was so exciting to see landmarks I had seen before.

We were honored to have the Ferrari Club of America welcome our participants in an Autocross Challenge around the Jefferson Circuit. It was balls-to-the-wall around the circuit as I rolled the van into the first corner, spun three times, and recovered to negotiate the first set of esses. Yea, right, just kidding. No, I slowly passed off to the paddock as a line of drivers in their Ferraris, BMWs, Jaguars, and Porsches prepared to start their timed lap. So I parked the “BAV” and shot some video from alongside the track. By this time, the rain had stopped. The track crew began collecting the pylons, so we all made our way to the training room in a nearby building.

The day finished with age-restricted beverages, cheese, and charcuterie. Then Kevin got up and gave a great introduction to the Ferrari Club, introducing Valentino Balboni. For the next 30 minutes, Mr. Balboni talked about his life at Lamborghini. How he started working there, being face to face with Enzo Ferrari, and the camaraderie he had with the other car factories until it was time to head back to work, and then all bets were off. You can see the full video I shot here.

It was, again, such an honor to have Mr. Balboni; sorry, he would want me to call him Valentino on our multi-state tour. I enjoyed talking with him again. He is such a humble and gentle man. It just baffles me that a man with that quiet demeanor could be such a lion when it came to testing the early Lamborghinis.

As we left West Virginia, I took a route through horse county. As the rain ended, the stormy clouds were parting as the sun began to reflect an orange glow on them. As a professional photographer, I’m always looking for good light, and this was the right light at the right time. Emilia got to see some of Virginia’s beautiful scenery under this light, and I’m glad she got to see it as we headed back to Woodbridge.
Ciao until 2023

Below are several photos of the various marques that participated in this year’s event. Click or tap an image for a full-screen eye-candy view.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Did you land on this post first? Click here to go back to part 1.

ABOUT MY SUPERCAR PHOTOGRAPHY

I approached this project with simplicity and portability in mind—not! So I brought five lenses, one Speedlite, remote triggers, and a tripod. Oh, I also brought circular polarizing filters. The triggers are attached to the camera hot-shoe and the Speedlite. This way I could hold the camera in one hand and the flash in the other, keeping it off-camera. If I happened to set the camera on the tripod, I had another trigger on my belt that would fire the camera and flash, but I never got the opportunity to use it—there just wasn’t time for it.

I had polarizing filters on all lenses I used. Surprisingly, the filter didn’t help as much as I thought, but it did help a little. You can see its effects in the individual car photos—you’ll see either a section of pure color without glare or no glare in the windows. I have a better strategy for the next time I do this. I can’t wait to do this event again next year.

Visiting This Old Friend

I’ve photographed supercars in the 1980s, including three Lamborghini Contachs, a Ferrari 512BB (all belonging to the same owner), and an AC Cobra 427 kit. This kind of car “portraiture” was known as Salon Photography back in the day. Today was a chance to rekindle that passion. I want to offer this kind of “car portraiture “or “salon photography” to owners of these unique types of art on wheels. I’ve had a fascination for more than just snapshots of beautiful cars. I’ve been composting and retouching images for 30+ years and am interested in a style of photography called “Light Painting.” With these skills and techniques, I can offer a fine art image any owner would be proud to hang on their wall.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Did you land on this post first? Click here to go back to part 1.

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