In his time as a motorsport photographer, Jamey Price has travelled around the world, covering a range of different sports and series – from Formula One to MotoGP and more. But few drivers have caught his eye, or been more accommodating to work with than Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin…
I am asked somewhat regularly which motorsport series I love covering the most, and the answer is: I love sportscar racing. Why? It’s pretty simple. Not only is there nearly always great racing, but these races also happen to take place at photographically wonderful times of a given day, such is the ‘endurance’ nature of the sport.
For me, one of the biggest draws to the sport is also the drivers. They’re world class racers, but VERY low key. Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin is the perfect example of that.
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with and around some of the best drivers on Earth. From Formula 1 and MotoGP world champions, Pikes Peak record holders, NFL players and athletes from many other disciplines of sport.
But there is just something different about sportscar drivers. I know at the end of the day that these gladiator racers are just regular people, but some act more ‘regular’ than others. ‘Olly’ Gavin is a 5 times Le Mans champion, a 4 times IMSA champion, a former F1 test driver and former F1 safety car driver, and a genuinely nice guy to boot. Normally, such a laundry list of accolades and accomplishments would give a driver the ‘right’ to be a pain in the ass to deal with – after all, some drivers who have done far less with their careers seem to air on the side of arrogance. But not Olly.
I’ll often spot his long-legged stride and grinning smile walking through the IMSA paddock. Anytime I see him, it’s always a high five and a “Hey mate!”, followed by a quick catch up and a laugh, before ending with an always friendly “Have a great weekend!”
As I have covered more and more racing, travelling to more and more races in different places around the world, you end up getting to know this cast of characters like a family away from home.
My relationship with each driver is different. Some drivers are completely indifferent to photographers. After all, we just point lenses in their faces, so to some extent they’d rather pretend we didn’t exist.
Other drivers have a strong dislike for photographers – A certain British F1 world champion comes to mind when I think about that category. But others, well, when I approach Olly or his Corvette teammate Tommy Milner, I am usually greeted with a playfully obscene gesture, followed by a laugh, followed by stone cold seriousness, and then it’s back to regular business as usual.
It’s that playfulness that I appreciate most about Olly and drivers like him. Life is so serious sometimes. With the political atmosphere as volatile as it ever has been, the tragedy which we see on television every day, and the competitiveness and pressure we all live amongst in our day to day lives, it’s nice to see that even at the highest levels of sport, it’s ok to have a little fun sometimes. I will always be drawn more to those racers who can show that side of themselves over the ones who take themselves and this business far too seriously.
Jamey Price is a Charlotte, NC, based freelance motorsport photojournalist who has covered racing across the globe, including NASCAR, INDYCAR, MotoGP, IMSA Weathertech, World Endurance Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1. You can see more of his work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @jameypricephoto, and on the web at www.jameypricephoto.com.