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Arsenio Locsin: Giving Motorsports His Best Shot

ProFormance’s official photographer has a knack for catching the excitement of the track in his lens.

If you’re in the habit of plying the turns of Pacific Raceways, you’re bound to spot a figure off to the side, aiming a Panasonic Lumix G9 at the action. His name is Arsenio Locsin, and he’s the man who documents the accomplishments of the amateurs and pros who hone their skills at ProFormance Racing School, as well as those who compete in races in the Northwest. The job is a natural fit someone whose passion for fast cars goes back to his teen years.

From Pro to Amateur

A young Arsenio (2nd from left) at the Portland Rose Cup Trans Am race

“At about age 13 I got it into my head that I wanted to be a professional race driver,” Arsenio says. That was about the time he moved to the USA from his native Philippines. Shortly after high school he hooked up with a professional racing team. “Usually you drive as an amateur, and then get with a pro team. I did it backwards – I started with a pro team.” He raced while working and going to college. By age 24 he’d gathered the funds to Winfield Ecole de Pilotage, the historic French racing school that spawned champions like Alain Prost and Damon Hill.

“What attracted me to Winfield was that if I was the best student I’d get a fully sponsored ride in the Formula Renault series. Plus, if I crashed the car I wasn’t liable!”

Shifting to Photography

Chasing a dream at École de Pilotage Winfield in France

Arsenio claims that he didn’t do that well until the last session of the five-day course, “… when I threw everything out. I scared the living daylights out of the instructor going through the second-fastest corner sideways. That’s when I realized I didn’t want to do this for a living.”

Back in the USA his car connections led to work on pit crews. And all the while, photography was part of his life. “I’d drag my camera with me whenever I got the opportunity, at events like the July 4th Historics, for example.”  Born into a family of prominent journalists, Arsenio has been doing photography since the age of 10.

ProFormance Steps In

How Arsenio gets his speed fix nowadays: Track Day at The RIdge. Photo: Vaughan Tanner

When Covid hit and there were few motorsport events to shoot at, Arsenio decided that taking pictures at the ProFormance track would be a good way to fill time. Chief of Operations Donna Porada-Kitch agreed, so long as he didn’t compete with Karl Noakes, who was then ProFormance’s official photographer.

The requirements were stringent: “Donna said, ‘sign the release, tell me where you are, and don’t get hit.’” Arsenio did that and more, impressing ProFormance clients with his vivid images and gaining a following of his own. Reluctant to start a business, he donated his fees to charity as he honed his craft.

The Right Mentor

Arsenio gives credit to Karl Noakes for helping him up his photography game by offering advice and tips on catching cars and drivers at their best, challenging him to slow down the shutter speed and pan to keep the car in focus, for example. “Karl makes me up my photography game,” he says. “I try to emulate his techniques to make my photographs more unique.”

Arsenio’s images proved unique enough that when Karl moved on, Arsenio was asked to step up and be the house photographer.

Tricks of the trade: panning, shooting through barriers for motion and visual interest.

The Don and Donna Factor

Apart from Karl Noakes, who provides artistic inspiration, Arsenio cites chief instructor Don Kitch, Jr. and Donna Porada-Kitch as people he admires in racing.

“Everyone talks about how good Don is as an instructor, but he’s an amazing driver as well. He took me around on some laps once — I’d ridden with Trans-Am drivers, but never an endurance driver. The sprint drivers were violent: hard acceleration, hard braking. Don was so smooth, I could have fallen asleep!”

“They’re so passionate about the school, and the sport in general. They spend all this time at ProFormance. And what do they do on vacation? They go to Formula 1 circuits just to drive them!”

And what racing is to Don and Donna, photography is to Arsenio Locsin. “I can’t stop doing it,” he says. And with his steady supply of motorsport action at ProFormance, he won’t have to.

Follow Arsenio Locsin on instagram and at imagesbyarsenio.com

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