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The only thing better than photographing high-performance cars for Dr Quang Tran of Smile@Norwest in Baulkham Hills, NSW, is to get behind the wheel and drive them.
“When I first became interested in photography, I used to love shooting landscapes and nature. I’ve always liked fast cars and I have a lot of connection with people who own nice vehicles. It’s been a natural drift in my photography to beautiful high-performance cars. These days, it’s mostly about motorsports.
“I bought an Audi RS4 in 2007 and I would take it to the racetracks to meet my friends there. We would spend the whole day driving around the track as fast as we could. I had the Audi until 2012 then I bought a BMW 1M coupe, which is a bit of a cult car in the BMW scene. Currently, I own a BMW M2 Competition. I tend to own cars that are highly regarded and win awards.
“In 2017, I competed at the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally. A friend of mine offered me the opportunity to be his co-driver and I jumped at the chance. It lasted for a week and we did lots of racing on twisty Tasmanian roads. It was awesome.
“I was very fortunate to join MotorTrend magazine in California for a week of the Best Driver’s Car competition. Initially, I was there to assist photographing the event but I was invited to compete in the World’s Greatest Drag Race. It’s held at Vandenberg Air Force Base with a dozen powerful cars like McLaren Senna, Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and more. I was driving a BMW M2 Competition, the same car as I own in Australia. I love taking photos of cars but if I ever have the opportunity to take the wheel, I jump right in.
“So far, I’ve never crashed or injured myself on the racetrack or at tarmac rallies. And I’m hoping to keep it that way. The thrill of motor racing is that you want to push your car and your abilities to the limit. I guess it’s an adrenaline thing.
“When you’re motor racing, you’re so completely concentrating that you can’t think about anything else. You just focus on your driving skills and the next corner. Every time I thought I was going to lose it, that I was going to crash, I’ve managed to hold it together and keep the car on the track. I find it very enjoyable and very therapeutic.”