The saying the eyes are the window to the soul is particularly apt when peering into the eyes of racing car drivers. Depending upon the events at hand, the eyes show a range of emotions, from focus and determination about the impending race to jubilation or disappointment about the results to exhaustion from a grueling day on the track.
From Formula One at Long Beach to Can-Am at Mid-Ohio, motorsports photographer Dennis Gray has fixed his lens upon the eyes of many of the greatest drivers of the last forty years. While Gray’s photos have been featured on Sports Car Digest before, they have been of race cars and not the expressions of the brave souls that piloted the cars.
Gray remarks, “The eyes of the driver is a target of my portraits. I try to get the intensity of the driver, the intensity of the moment. The strongest example is the George Follmer image with the exhaustion of John Morton a close second. Al Holbert is certainly looking into his lap to come and Milt Minter is another exhausted driver. Ed Leslie just looks disgusted and Carlos Reutemann needs better numbers from the notes.”
The following photo retrospective features images of race car drivers as they prepare to battle on the track, including Niki Lauda, John Watson, Emerson Fittipaldi, George Follmer, Rick Mears and many others.
Look into the Eyes – Driver Retrospective Photo Gallery (Photos and captions by Dennis Gray)