Smashed-Up Race Cars Look Weirdly Awesome

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The entire point of banger racing is crashing. This particularly European form of motorsport encourages smashing, bashing and flipping cars, and most of them are a mangled heap at the checkered flag. The beaten race cars are oddly beautiful, says Sophie Green, who has created an entire book of close-up photos of the crunched cars. “The scratches and textures are made completely by chance,” she says. “I love that randomness.”

Dented Pride, 2016

Green discovered banger racing by chance two years ago while riding her bicycle through London. She heard the roar of engines at Wimbledon Stadium and ventured inside, where she found drivers in oil-stained driving suits going around and around a track. Each car started with shiny paint—and, in some cases, neatly stenciled nicknames and notes to girlfriends—but was soon a dented, battered mess. “I became totally obsessed with the textured, scratched and dented surfaces of the car exteriors,” she says.

Green attended races throughout the UK while shooting Dented Pride and the broader documentary project Bangers & Smash. She would hang out at tracks, wandering the pits—where drivers resuscitate damaged vehicles between races— with her Nikon FM camera and keeping an eye out for dents and gashes where drivers had swapped paint. “I would be like, ‘Woooooow the damage on this—nice scratches!’” she says. “And the drivers would be like, ‘Huh?’”

You can see their confusion. After all, it can be hard to see the beauty in a car crash. Until you see Green’s bright, colorful photos, that is. Then it’s all you see.

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