For Richard Pardon, the gift of a toy Porsche 911 would trigger his future dreams. As he pushed his cherished model along the carpet at his childhood home, he would not have realised that a passion for Porsche had been ignited within him that still burns brightly to this day.
He still has the toy car in question – an Amethyst Purple 964-model 911, similar to the car that Will Smith drove in the 1995 Hollywood movie Bad Boys. These childhood memories were so imprinted on his consciousness that they were the impetus behind his latest Porsche acquisition. He is now the owner of a beautiful 964, just like the one he played with as a kid.
This is actually Richard's fourth Porsche. He previously owned a 981 Cayman S and two 981 Cayman GT4s. But that urge to own a 911, to fulfill that lifelong dream, was just too tempting when the car in question came up for sale in the summer of 2021.
It was a dream that was 30 years in the making. “I still can’t believe I’ve got one. It genuinely makes me happy,” said Richard of his passion for Porsche. “When I get out of it I look back at it, smile, and think, ‘yeah, that’s my car’.”
As the official photographer for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team, as well as a Formula One and automotive photographer, Richard spends a lot of time travelling. But when he comes home to the United Kingdom, his way to wind down is a drive in his classic 911 through glorious English countryside.
A reward for the senses
“It’s very involving, and driver focused,” he said of the experience of driving his classic 911. “Every input matters. It’s an extremely rewarding car to drive and that means you can have more fun at slower speeds. If I want to go and buy a pint of milk and I take my run around car, I come back and I don’t even remember the drive. But with the 911, I will look for any excuse just to drive it.”
Enchanted by the power of Porsche
For Richard, the shape of a 911 is one of the prime factors behind his passion for Porsche. “I love the timeless, iconic design. It’s an unmistakable silhouette,” he adds. “But I also love the sound and the driving experience, and its connection with Porsche’s rich motorsport heritage. The 911 is attainable, unlike so many other sports or supercars.”
Motorsport is Richard’s life. He studied motorsport engineering at university, raced in Formula Rotax and Formula TKM (winning a championship in 2001), before forging a successful career as an automotive and motorsport photographer. It’s a job that has allowed him to combine his four big passions in life: cars, watches, motorsport and photography. Completing the circle of his passions, Richard is also an aficionado and collector of TAG Heuer watches.
Again, it’s his passion for motorsport that inspires his love for TAG Heuer, but he’s also got a deep respect for the engineering that goes into them. “TAG Heuer watches don’t have a lot of frills – they’re very classy but understated watches. I see the same kind of qualities that appeal to me about my 911. I love the intricacy of my watches’ details and the build quality. They’re very sophisticated.”
His first TAG Heuer was a Monaco, the motorsport-inspired watch that was originally created in 1969 and adorned the wrist of Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans. “It’s just so iconic,” adds Richard. “It was the first square-cased automatic chronograph and is instantly recognisable because of its shape and styling. You immediately know it’s a Monaco. It’s like the 911 in that respect.”
A passion for expert engineering
His daily timepiece, however, is the TAG Heuer Monza. Again, it’s another watch with a rich motorsport heritage, a chronograph released in 1975 to mark the achievements of Formula One great, Niki Lauda, at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza that year. “It’s a really nice bit of engineering,” explains Richard about his purchase of a Monza. “It’s been well thought through."
As an engineer by education, Richard is fascinated by how watches work and he has a real appreciation for the work that goes into them. "It’s fascinating how much technology goes into such a slim bezel, for instance, as well as the superiority of the materials. It’s a fine instrument, a precision tool.”
For Richard, his work as a professional automotive and motorsport photographer is more than a job. It’s a passion that has soaked into so many aspects of his daily life – a love for TAG Heuer watches and Porsche cars that is genuine and infectious. “The Formula E job is an absolute dream. It not only combines two of my passions – photography and motorsport – but allows me to play a tiny part as Porsche history is made,” he says with a smile.