Just when you thought an excellent racing photo cannot be any better, you meet the woman from A.U.N.T.
The photo depicts a blonde model kissing the helmet of Sir Stirling sitting in a Maserati 250F Formula 1 car. It is not only great in composition, but also tells a myriad of stories apart from being pleasant to the eye. This is the kind of image I would like to print on a mug, covering Sir Stirling’s face with my thumb - imagining it was me - while, well, gently sipping coffee in the morning. White coffee with lots of milk, that is.
The heroics of Sir Stirling Moss and the Maserati 250F are fairly known and I always wondered who the model on the picture was. The name of the lady was never mentioned anywhere, apart from being referred to as “the blonde model”. She sort of turned into a mysterious femme fatale in my mind.
A few days ago I stumbled upon the image again as it was shared by one of my LinkedIn connections and I set out to find out who the fascinating “Blonde” is in the triangle.
I am not much familiar with the modelling world, or at least I wasn’t until I was invited to the Amber Lounge fashion show in Monaco earlier this year. Supermodels and racing cars somehow walk hand in hand, even if Monaco itself took the initiative to give birth to the “grid boy”.
So where I was supposed to start? Well, Neill describes an event titled “GP Live” set at Donington Park four years prior the post. He also noted, though, that it was supposed to be a series of events, a “Goodwood Light” if you will, bringing together old and modern racing cars - predominantly Formula 1 cars - to celebrate tradition and progression, but apart from the first event it never got to fruition.
It didn’t took much time to discover that said event took place in May, 2007. From archived news I managed to yield a link that pointed to the - once - official website. Eight years following the closure of the event I wasn’t suspecting any live web pages. It didn’t work of course, but thanks to Wayback Machine, I could trace back the website hoping to find out which modelling agency was in charge of supporting the ladies.
After a brief browsing it turned out a company called Premier Model Management was the institution in question. Googling, then, “Premier Model Management” and “GP Live” immediately spat out a Wikipedia page.
Cross-referencing “Jacqui Ainsley” and “GP Live” then confirmed my suspicions. Although I tried to reach out to the agency for additional confirmation, I have yet to hear back from them. An abundance of images popped up from a calendar made for “GP Live”.
Jacqui Ainsley is of course better known as Jacqui Ritchie since 30th, July this year after marrying famed British film director, Guy Ritchie. Yes, THE Guy Ritchie of The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Rocknrolla and the Sherlock flicks.
Guy is yet to present his latest movie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - an action-comedy Cold War spy flick set in the 60s - and if you watched the trailer, you will spot something.
Yes, back to the “Goodwood” theme the movie includes a scene set at the Goodwood Circuit during - what appears to be - a Formula 1-ish race.
This made some alarm bells going off in my mind as I remembered another spy movie from the Cold War itself that also included a Formula 1 scene, which was A Dandy in Aspic from 1968.
The scene was filmed at the AVUS circuit in Berlin - one of the fastest racing venues in the world until its closure in the mid-90s, during the height of the German Touring Car Championship.
For the record, the track hosted the Formula 1 German Grand Prix only once in history, in 1959, which was the last time a front-engined F1 car won a race. The year 1968 - when the movie was released - was also the penultimate year when Maserati took part in Formula 1 as an engine supplier for Cooper - also applied into the T53 at one point -, but the 3-litre V12 powerplant wasn’t developed further into 1969 and ran one race each both in ‘68 and ‘69.
And now we have come full circle with the Maserati 250F Sir Stirling Moss is sitting in on a photo, where a young model - later a mother of three - lands a kiss on the top of his helmet and to all racing fans and adolescents throughout the world.
Jacqui, Neill, Stirling, Maserati brothers, thank you for the truly Greatest Photo of Boyhood Dreams.
You can learn more about my stuff on my LinkedIn profile: hu.linkedin.com/in/gaborvajda1984/