Porsche Is Now The Subject Of Dominic Fraser’s LEGO Recreations
Fans of Group B rallying may remember Dominic Fraser, the UK-based motoring photographer who turned his camera lens to LEGO recreations of classic Audi Quattro rally pictures during worldwide lockdown. Unsurprisingly, what started as a creative experience quickly blew up online.
Since we last spoke, Dominic has turned his camera lens to the world of sports car racing, and, primarily, Porsche. Indeed, some of Dominic’s most recent recreations include the 917K, Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen’s first prototype to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans (doing so twice in 1970 and 1971), and the marque’s more recent 919 Hybrid, a three-time winner of both the World Endurance Championship and at La Sarthe.
Before we dive into the specifics though, we should make one thing clear: the Audi Quattro has not been retired, as far as Dominic is concerned…
“First things first, the Audi isn’t gone, it’s not forgotten and there will be more Quattro images to come,” Dominic explains to Petrolicious. “However, having done the Audi images, it opened my eyes to a huge number of other models on LEGO’s books. The Porsches appealed because, for the most part, they’re such legendary cars. I mean, what’s not to love about a 1970’s liveried 917K that gave Porsche their first overall victory at Le Mans, 50 years ago?” Certainly no argument here.
Interestingly though, and despite the fact that one of – if not the – most famous sports cars in history is the muse for many of Dominic’s new LEGO recreations, focus has shifted slightly since the definitely-not-retired-Quattro days. Rather than ‘just’ paying tribute to motorsport classics of the 1970s and ‘80s, these new Porsche recreations tell a more personal story of not just Dominic’s own enthusiasm for endurance motorsport, but also his first-hand experiences as a photographer.
“I’m a big fan of endurance racing and all that’s involved to get cars to the end of six, 12 and/or 24 hours of racing,” he continues. “Hybrid era or not, the battle for the teams and drivers is the same and that’s the appeal. I’ve attended the Sebring 12 hours and Le Mans many times, and these races conjure in my mind the determination to keep going to get to the end.
“Also, one of the great things about the modern era of motorsport is the investment that car companies put into capturing images from all the races. Porsche in particular has a huge, high quality image library of all their races, so it makes it far easier to find inspiring images to recreate.”
There is an outlier of course in this new ‘endurance racing’ series, namely the Jaguar Spark SRT05e. It’s the only single seater of the LEGO collection so far, and boasts little of its contemporaries’ silverware: so far four seasons of Formula E racing has yielded two victories for the Big Cat. But the Monaco street circuit on which it’s been shot? Ah! Now there is a motorsport giant.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have visited Monaco a few times in the past, but never for a race until the Formula E event last year. The city itself is as you’d imagine, from the harbour with its incredible yachts, the high-rise hotels and the castle on top of the mountain. Everything just oozes wealth and glamour.
“As for the track itself, nothing really prepares you for how narrow it is. It really shows the skill of the drivers that they actually hit the walls so rarely. And being that close to the action is intense! Here’s hoping that I can get to another race in the future.”
Make no mistake though. While the subject matter of Dominic’s LEGO shots may have changed, the attention to detail is very much the same. Or as near as possible. The car, be it the 917K or the FE Jaguar, in-flight, is carefully positioned in the same part of the frame. The background ‘noise’ has been recreated, down to the solar flare in the 919 Hybrid’s pit stop (it’s actually an iPhone torch), the conversation between Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood on the pitwall in 1970 (“a British winner!”), and the debris kicked up by the ’86 930 Turbo in-flight. Before you ask, yes, thin wires were used for the rigging rather than photoshop, and no, he didn’t have an example in black.
Even the sense of motion has been captured on-screen with the use of a miniature camera car. No, seriously. The panning shot of the 2017 Porsche 911 RSR? The Sony A7RIII has been mounted to a LEGO-built rolling chassis (wait, is that the Quattro…?), something that’s also been used to ‘recreate’ the 917K shot from last year’s Festival of Speed.
Sort of. Aside from the 919 Hybrid that be seen queuing up in the background, there’s little of the original shot – framing, background – that’s translated from real life to bricks, Dominic’s creative eye having gone into business for itself.
Well, that, and a, er, slightly more practical and pressing issue that had to be worked around…
“For the Goodwood shot I wanted to try and do something a little different. The start line at FoS is such an iconic scene, but I simply don’t have enough LEGO to reconstruct the whole thing to the first corner. So I thought I’d actually do a proper moving shot to give the impression of the car hurtling through the trees. What you see is a real shot with just the string that’s attached between the ‘camera car’ and the Porsche retouched out. It’s had favourable comments so far so I hope that I haven’t upset too many people with it!”
*Images courtesy of Dominic Fraser (_fraser73), Porsche and Goodwood Road and Race