Motorsport of the future: How the science fiction posters were made

What will motorsport look like a hundred years from now? The design studio Automobilist answered this question with an original poster series inspired by Porsche and their successful motorsport history. We take a look behind the scenes and show just how much hard work, passion and precision goes into these works.
Text Porsche Motorsport Hub
Photo Pavel Hejny

When Jan Rambousek starts working on motorsport moments for his fine art prints and high-quality posters, he knows it could take up to six months for especially elaborate scenes. The Automobilist creative director uses computers to bring unique moments from motorsport history to life—and will do futuristic ones on request, like the 911 RSR on the moon, the 356 SL on Mars or the 917 KH in a futuristic Le Mans. CEO Pavel Turek, who co-founded the company in 2014, puts it in concrete terms: “So many things have happened in motorsport that were not captured with the camera, or only in black and white. Our goal is to bring these moments back to life using CGI techniques and high-end photography—as authentically as possible, in high resolution, in large formats. We call the results fine art prints.”

The work on the images begins with the concept. Which moment is to be shown? Which cars are involved? Who has to be in the picture? And, very important: Where is the observer standing—and where exactly does the whole thing take place? “We start with the location,” explains Rambousek. “For example, we drive to the racetrack in question and take pictures of the scene of the event.” If the location has changed even slightly, or if it no longer exists, it is recreated on the computer based on old photographs. Then there is a photoshoot with the people that are to be shown in the scene—on location at the place featured in the picture. Actors are hired and dressed in period costumes.

“So many things have happened in motorsport that were not captured with the camera, or only in black and white. Our goal is to bring these moments back to life using CGI techniques and high-end photography—as authentically as possible“

And then it’s time for the real stars of the scene: the cars. “We create our computer cars in three different ways depending on what is possible,” the artist explains. “If we have the real thing in front of us, we work with a 3D scan. If that isn’t possible, we get all the data from the manufacturer.” And what if no material is available because the races are taking place in an imaginary future? As befits the high standards at Automobilist, Rambousek and his team lavish as much attention on detail in these sci-fi posters as expected.

The Giordano Bruno crater, for example, isn’t some fictional invention, but the Moon’s presumably youngest crater with a diameter of 14 miles (22 km). You can be sure that the angle of the banked turn corresponds approximately to the real edge of the crater because even here Automobilist works with photos and information from scientists and NASA. Things aren’t any different with the Porsche 356 SL on Mars: Syrtis Major is a two million square kilometer plateau that was chosen by NASA in 2018 as a potential landing site for the Mars rover Perseverance—and therefore pretty well-researched. The light conditions are quite realistic too. And the fact that the car windows are closed—well, that goes without saying.

As we can see, Jan Rambousek, Pavel Turek and their team put a lot of work and precision into the creation of these posters. Of course, this is only possible if you’re passionate about the subject yourself: “The beauty of motorsport is that it needs you to believe in yourself and the team’s abilities while pushing every limit set, yet at the same time respecting certain other limits. Often if you want to finish first you have to first finish. It’s as much about logic and staying sensible as it is about passion and endorphins,” says Turek, summing it up. Which can also be applied 100 % to the work of Automobilist.

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