A Typical year in Review

What a year …


Luke Munnell automotive motorsports photography year in review collage



In terms of workload, this year came in like a lion and went out just the same.

From mid-January through December, I don’t think there was a single week I wasn’t with my cameras. From traveling with Street Driven Tour through our third year of nationwide events to shooting my first IMSA races, working on commercial productions, inking editorial features, shooting products, or snapping a couple dozen grassroots events in California and abroad, this year has been a beast.


It’s been a fun year, a tiring year, a year of great people and awesome memories, but I am happy to be leaving it feeling better than when I started, and looking forward to the long and winding road ahead!


Here are some of my favorite moments from the year, and some of what I have planned for next year:



luke Munnell Motorsports photography IMSA COTA Lamborghini Super Trofeo overhead pan blur stars and stripes


I’ve been shooting enthusiast and grassroots motorsports for a while, but aside from one Pirelli World Challenge race in December of 2016, I’d never ventured into professional sportscar racing.


I finally changed that this past May with a trip to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX, for IMSA competition, and after four days of shooting alongside the talented motorsports and media professionals at the very top of U.S. sportscar racing, I was hooked.


luke Munnell Motorsports photography IMSA COTA Acura NSX Mercedes AMG Chevy Corvette racing


Other work kept me away from the bulk of the year’s remaining races, but I did manage to sneak in another IMSA round at a rainy/sunny Watkins Glen in New York, and get out to Laguna Seca and Fontana to shoot some impressive machines from racing’s past.


Simply put: I loved everything about it. Professional motorsports photography will be a priority of mine this year.


luke Munnell motorsports photography IMSA Watkins Glen 85 JDC Miller Motorsports Oreca prototype racing with spectators in foreground watching

luke Munnell motorsports photography IMSA Watkins Glen 44 AVE Motorsports prototype challenge racing wide pan blur

yellow and green luke Munnell motorsports photography Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Manthey Racing Weiss 85 racing at Laguna Seca in California


Formula Drift, Global Time Attack and some occasional Global Rallycross (none this year, sadly) have long been in my motorsports photography comfort zone, so of course I snagged some opportunities to shoot some of that as well.


luke Munnell motorsports photography Formula Drift Irwindale Worthouse Nissan S15 Silvia Piotr Wiecek in smokey drift

luke Munnell motorsports photography Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle Chris Boersma Honda Civic sparks motion racing

luke Munnell motorsports photography Ford Mustang Road Atlanta time-attack racing by Paul's Automotive Engineering


Commercial Content

Luke Munnell automotive photography Soul Red Mazda CX-5 front driving headlights on


For all the excitement that comes with motorsports photography, the planning and polish of commercial productions is something I’ll never tire of.


This year’s commercial work began with an awesome two days in Santa Cruz with expats from Mazda USA and The Enthusiast Network, and led to lots of other fun, productive shooting days for Genesis, Mother’s, Konig, Maserati, Ebay, and others.


Luke Munnell automotive photography Genesis G80 interior with steering wheel and LCD display and dashboard

Luke Munnell automotive photography Mother's Detail Guide Chevy Corvette with Mother's car wash bucket and hose

Luke Munnell automotive product photography bronze Konig Ampliform wheel shot in the studio against white background


Second to professional motorsports, I’m looking forward to partnering with more brands and agencies to produce exclusive automotive photography and copywriting content for their print, digital and social media marketing initiatives in the coming year.


Editorial Features

Luke Munnell automotive photography R34 Nissan SKyline GT-R race car rear shot for Super Street magazine


I got my start in automotive photography and copywriting by working as a technical editor and associate editor in the enthusiast editorial world, so shooting and writing features for contemporary automotive titles will always feel close to home.


Some of my favorite features this year were published in Super Street, European Car, and Street Trucks magazines, C10 Builder’s Guide, and in various branded-content publications along the way.


Luke Munnell automotive photography yellow Autotuned widebody Scion FR-S front shot for Super Street magazine

Luke Munnell automotive photography blue Honda Civic EP3 front shot for Super Street magazine dual feature

2015 Ford Mustang GT body Paul's Automotive Engineering time trial and time attack race car

Luke Munnell automotive photography RB26DETT swapped Midnight Purple III Nissan S15 Silvia front shot for Super Street magazine


Though the media landscape is changing, as long as automotive enthusiasm continues to grow there will be an increased demand for quality content. And I’ll remain equally enthusiastic about taking on opportunities to produce it.


Editorial Events

Luke Munnell motorsports photography FF Battle group track shot at Willow Springs for Super Street magazine


One of the coolest aspects of working with editorial titles and brands is all the fun events they throw. For as long as I’ve been a freelance photographer and writer, I’ve had the privilege of covering The Enthusiast Network’s popular year-end track events and enthusiast automotive competitions.


This year, that included Super Street magazine’s FF Battle and Show-Car Shootout at California’s Willow Springs Int’l Raceway, their Odd Swaps Challenge and annual Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow Raceway, and European Car magazine’s Tuner GP across the desert at the über-posh Thermal Club.


Luke Munnell motorsports photography Nissan 350Z Mercury Auto racing in Super Street magazine Show Car Shootout

Luke Munnell motorsports photography J30 V6 swapped NA6 Mazda Miata racing in Super Street magazine Odd Swaps Challenge at Buttonwillow Raceway


While European Car recently announced that it will be transitioning to an exclusively digital format, I hope that leads to working with the TEN teams on more of these experiential activations that have become some of my favorite events of the year.


Luke Munnell motorsports photography European Car magazine Tuner GP BMW group shot at Thermal Club raceway


Enthusiast Events

Jeff Le Rad Industries Blue JZA80 Toyota Supra drift dirt rocks


The budgets may be small, corporate sponsorship scarce and commercial opportunities nil, but enthusiast track events will always be a blast for me to be a part of.


This year capped off three memorable years touring the nation with Street Driven Tour’s entertaining blend of bash-style drifting; took me to more pro-am drifting, racing and show bouts in the South, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest; and included over a dozen trips to local CA raceways, parking lots, show venues, and more.


I’ve made too many good friends along the way to count, and I hope to see them all (and embarrass myself by failing to remember their names) again!


red Honda S2000 VTEC Club time attack racing Buttonwillow Raceway

BMW M6 with Marlboro livery at Bimmerfest Auto Club Raceway Fontana CA


To wrap it up …

There have been many long days, lots of hard work, tons of fun organizing schedules and budgets (sarcasm), but I loved doing it even more than getting it done. And I can’t wait to do it all again.


Here’s to a happy new year ahead for all of us!


25 Hours of Thunderhill NP01 sunrise

Sunrise at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill


Comments: 6

  1. TRAVIS CARROLL 9 Jan 2018 Reply

    Love these shots man, Looking forward to seeing what your 2018 looks like!!!!

    • admin 10 Jan 2018 Reply

      Thanks, duder! Likewise and with what you’re going to turn out this year. 😉

  2. Clint Davis 16 Jan 2018 Reply


    • admin 17 Jan 2018 Reply

      That is kind of how I looked at the end of the year, not gonna lie … 😉

  3. Luke Weyant 11 Jul 2018 Reply

    Hey man, your photography is monstrously beautiful. What type of camera/editing software are you using? I’m blown away of how damn clear these shots are! Just bought a Nikon D750 and really having some fun with motorsport photography as well.

    • admin 30 May 2020 Reply

      Hey Luke! So sorry to be getting back to you on this so late, but everything here was shot with either my D3s or D810s. I’ve since sold them all and moved to D850s, and haven’t looked back. Love them. The D750 is also a really solid body. All editing was done in Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop.

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