An outstanding part of any journey is the people you meet along the way, and my 40 year journey with PCA and PANORAMA was clearly no exception. The Porsche family, of course, has to top the list, but close behind are the engineers. These are the guys who would look you in the eye and tell you the truth about the product, even when it was not flattering. They would spend great amounts of time explaining concepts and executions to a dumb non-engineer, talk problems and solutions, revel in Porsche’s victories and find ways to overcome defeats. Their eyes would light up when they talked about motorsports, and I don’t remember ever meeting one who was not an accomplished driver, sometimes a wicked-good one.
Some of the top gun guys became The Man, the Director of Research and Development, at Weissach. Think Ernst Fuhrmann, Helmuth Bott, Horst Marchart. In late 1995, it was Wolfgang Dürheimer, and he was with the Porsche team that brought the new RS Spyder to the US to run its introductory race here at the ALMS season closer at Laguna Seca. The car was looking good, leading its class, and dogging the larger LMP1 cars. It was late in the day, but there was plenty of time for things to go wrong, and the pressure was on. Here was Dürheimer, watching for his car to appear at the last turn, his expression reflecting a mixture of apprehension, hope, and concern. Over the years this has become one of my favorite racing shots.
About Leonard Turner and “The Last Turn”
With a background in photography spanning more than 5 decades, Leonard Turner was Porsche Panorama’s chief photographer for some 40 years, shooting several hundred covers for the magazine and countless feature spreads involving racing, new car introductions, portraits, technical illustrations, and a plethora of other topics. In the course of doing this, he has traveled widely over the United States and Europe, visiting the Porsche factories and shooting at many venues, including a portfolio of the world’s greatest race tracks.
Leonard’s photographs have been published in many books including Porsche: Portrait of a Legend; Porsche Specials; Porsche, the 4-Cylinder, 4-Cam Sports & Racing Cars; Sebring, the Official History; Carrera RS; and Porsche: Prototype Era 1964 to 1973. His magazine credits, other than Panorama, include Autoweek, Road & Track, Automobile, Christophorus, and Excellence.
It was with this background in mind that we asked Leonard to open up his archives to share with you here on FLATSIXES.com. His personal files, both digital and film, contain tens of thousands of images of Porsches, Porsche people, and events they shaped and which shaped them. Our plan is to share one of Leonard’s images with you every other week, and the story behind it, in this newest feature, “The Last Turn” here on FLATSIXES.com.
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