With the arrival of the latest Technology Issue of RACER magazine (No. 307 Fall 2020) to mailboxes and newsstands around the world, we decided to “pop the hood” of the issue and take a closer look at some of the inner workings.

Discussing technical regulation changes in Formula 1 and WEC/IMSA poses an interesting predicament visually – the cars don’t exist (well at least not publicly). So, the 2020 Technology issue features three original illustrations from RACER’s in-house artist Paul Laguette who, with the guidance and support of RACER’s Editor-in-Chief Laurence Foster, attempts to show the future of motorsport in a compelling and artful manner. We sat down with Paul to discuss the process of creating these stunning images.

Question: How did the idea for these latest illustrations originate?

Paul Laguette: From RACER’s editor-in-chief and my partner in crime, Laurence Foster. He knows what I can bring to the table creatively, so we’ll usually brainstorm a concept around his initial idea, and then I get to run with it — the fun bit!

For the actual execution, it’s just about how to schedule my time between the production cycles of RACER and Vintage Motorsport. I jumped on these as soon as I finished VM, so I had about 14 days to work on them.

Q: Was it always the plan to do the two story-lead illustrations and the cover?

PL: Yes, Laurence and I had discussed this a few weeks prior during a quick phone call to see what was doable in terms of my workload, post-VM production.

Q: The subject matter for these illustrations — 2022 Formula 1 cars and the upcoming Le Mans Hypercars and IMSA hybrid prototypes — aren’t driving around on racetracks yet, so is it difficult for you to conceptualize something that doesn’t really exist yet?

PL: No, and having the appropriate reference materials makes it a lot easier. Laurence always gives me a great “kit of parts,” as he calls them. That’s a very useful starting point, but it’s also important for the both of us to be on the same page on where I’m taking the ideas, too.

This far out from the new F1 and LMH/LMDh cars actually breaking cover, you’re taking whatever information you can find, making some educated guesses, and also having a little bit of fun adding some “real world” context. For example, we don’t have a definitive list of LMDh manufacturers yet, but wouldn’t it be great if Porsche was one of them? That’s why we went with Porsche styling cues and a factory livery on the LMDh — it was fun, it made it a little more real and, yes, it’s a bit of wishful thinking on our part, fingers crossed!

Q: What’s your approach to the process of making these illustrations?

PL: In recent years I’ve adjusted my approach to rely more on Adobe Photoshop as a starting point. Rough, lo-res comps are emailed to Laurence for feedback and approval, before diving into illustrating the final product in Adobe Illustrator.

Q: What was your goal with each of the illustrations?

PL: To give our readers a feel for what these cars might look like, to present it in a dynamic way — and to meet the deadlines! Time management is important with multiple illustrations. I wanted to give each one the appropriate amount of time, not cut corners, and end up with an illustration that served the story and felt “RACER,” if you see what I mean.

Q: What was the feedback process like with Laurence?

PL: LF and I are in constant contact. His feedback and enthusiasm are very important to the process, and to a degree showing him early iterations of my artwork inspires and motivates me to keep going.

I love doing these assignments for RACER. I approach them as frameable works of art for the RACER readers, so look for them in the RACER store!

Click here to purchase the new issue of RACER, and check out the gallery here for a preview of what’s inside.

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