Sebring in the 60’s was a magical place, unlike any other race track I’ve seen since. This shot was done in 1969, a short while before I began shooting for Panorama. It was my 6th year at Sebring, and I had pretty much learned where I wanted to shoot and some of the Sebring survival tactics, like intentionally dehydrating so you could minimize the visits to the then unbelievably foul toilets, and watching your back when traveling through the “zoo” in the infield. Photo access was pretty good then, even without press credentials, and we were learning to revel in the number of Porsches that finished in the top ten, since an overall success was highly unlikely with no Porsche bigger than 3 liters.
On this day I had worked my way down to the hairpin, and was doing pan shots as the cars came around. Looking at the chromes later, I was surprised to find Elford’s eyes apparently fixed on me, both in this picture and in a subsequent image. Since I didn’t meet him until the following year, and since I didn’t—and don’t–cut a very imposing figure, and wasn’t wearing my Andy Granatelli STP suit, that seemed quite unlikely.
Was he trying to use me as an apex indicator? He was too smart for that; people move. Maybe he was interested in photography and was checking out my camera—nah. Most likely he was trying to see through/around me to some more reliable track marker, wishing I’d get the hell out of the way. I turned out to be a tough day for Quick Vic and the 908, although he and Atwood fought their way back up to seventh at the end; but it was a good day for Porsche at Sebring — 5 in the top 10.
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.
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
This Is One Of Our Favorite Vic Elford Stories
The Last Turn – Jo Siffert At Sebring In 1971
The Last Turn – Press Intro Of The Porsche 993
The Last Turn – Porsche GT1 Le Mans 1996
The Last Turn – Derek Bell Fixing A 917
The Last Turn – An RSR At Weissach
The Last Turn – A ‘Smiling’ Roger Penske
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