The image above might look like a fairly interesting painting of some old Mercedes-Benz grand prix cars getting, but in reality, it showcases far more than just paint on canvas. To celebrate this year’s 80th anniversary of its Silver Arrows racecars, Mercedes commissioned some very talented digital artists to craft a series of 12 depictions of important moments in the company’s racing history to display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Silver Arrow legend starts with Mercedes showing up for the 1934 German Grand Prix with its W25, a car that weighed 751 kilograms – a kilo over the 750-kg (1,653-pound) maximum. Team boss Alfred Neubauer told his mechanics to strip the paint of the cars, leaving them in gleaming bare aluminum in order to shed a little weight. Apparently, it worked, because one of the Mercs took victory in the race and the look became part of the company’s legacy.
What makes anniversary project’s artistic process so intriguing is that each of these celebratory images is a composite of real-world photos of extras in period-correct dress and digital recreations of some of the cars and venues. As this video shows, it all starts with line drawings that remind us a lot of that iconic ’80s music video, Take On Me by A-ha. All of these disparate techniques were eventually combined together to create these fascinating, hyper-realistic pictures of the past.
The video below takes you behind the scenes to show just some of the incredible work required to create this unique look. If you want to learn more about how all of this was done, there’s no need to go hunting high and low, Mercedes has a website with additional reference images giving a deeper view of the process.