Meet the man whose work has graced the covers and pages of every major publication worldwide and made him as illustrious as the Grand Prix drivers he photographs...

In 1962, a twenty one year old Rainer W. Schlegelmilch was studying photography in Munich when he shot his first motor race at the Nurburgring and, shortly after, his first grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Needless to say he was bitten by the motorsport bug and over 50 years later, Rainer Schlegelmilch is regarded as, quite simply, a legend on the Grand Prix circuit.

Since that first Grand Prix, Schlegelmilch has arguably created the greatest collection of motorsport imagery available anywhere in the world - the sheer depth and breadth of the archive is unparalleled. Containing a who’s who of Formula 1, Schlegelmilch has captured practically every driver, every team, every car and every race over the past five decades.

Rainer enjoys a unique position to document what it is to be a racing driver at the very pinnacle of motorsport. Through his fabled ‘Bernie Pass’ accreditation - given to him personally by Bernie Ecclestone in recognition of his services to Formula 1 photography - Schlegelmilch has been able to photograph behind the scenes, recording the highs and lows of the drivers and the teams around them.

These images offer a fascinating insight into what drives the world of Formula 1 and ultimately what makes a true champion, together with the glitz and glamour that surround the sport. From the exhilaration of victory to the despair of defeat, Schlegelmilch has managed to capture it all and the collection is as near to the complete story of Formula 1 as it is possible to be.

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Schlegelmilch’s work also features a stunning sports car collection, containing all the major marques such as Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari and Aston Martin, as well as coverage of other motor sport imagery including Le Mans.

One of the earliest adopters of colour photography in 1969, Schlegelmilch has built a collection of immense value in the world of motorsport - both on and off the track. The numerous industry awards and accolades bestowed on him bear testament to the fact that he is the photographic equivalent to the drivers he has captured over the past half century – be it Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark or Jackie Stewart.

Approaching his 600th Grand Prix and now in his seventies, Schlegelmilch’s passion for Formula 1 remains unabated and he continues to capture the very best of the action around the Grand Prix circuit. With the sport now being held in 19 countries, and with new circuits and races planned going forwards, the world of Formula 1 is a truly global phenomenon – one that Rainer W Schlegelmilch has helped document in every detail.

The Rainer Schlegelmilch collection contains over half a million original images and provides an in-depth insight into every aspect of motorsport. With many thousands of the very best of the collection now online and accessible worldwide, we are able to bring you the cream of his extraordinary body of work.

Watch Rainer W. Schlegelmilch.

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