There are few things that could be included in a beautifully composed Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition photograph that would draw eyes away from the natural beauty of the models, swimwear and exotic locations that are part of the issue’s trademarks. The Lexus LFA is definitely one of those things, and it was an integral part of the 2011 edition.
tapped photographer Yu Tsai to put together a series of images that would impress into the minds of readers the grace and vitality of the 552-hp Lexus LFA supercar. Contrasted against the beauty of supermodel Rianne Ten Haken, Tsai elected to capture the fury of the LFA in full flight, a daring proposition that he achieved thanks to the skill and composure of noted stunt and race driver Rhys Millen and the trust of his model.
Yu Tsai put together his shot – which would eventually end up as a featured four-page spread in the swimsuit issue – not on a sunny beach, but rather within a dramatically lit hangar. Rianne Ten Haken was asked to stand at the center of what would become the focal point of a four-wheel LFA drift. As Ten Haken stood completely still, Millen fired up the LFA’s V10 engine and ran a series of “donuts” around her unwavering pose.
The tire smoke and wind blowing Ten Haken’s hair made it onto the Sports Illustrated page, but the screaming symphony of the LFA’s highly tuned, 4.8-liter motor was reserved for the video shoot that went along with the photo session. If you are curious to find out more about the planning and inspiration behind the pairing of Lexus’ most beautiful automobile with some stunning photography, view the short video documentary produced by Lexus to commemorate the event.