One of the greatest motorsports photographers of the 20th century has left us. This time, no magic was involved.
Pete Biro was born in Oakland in 1933. An uncle gave him his first camera. In high school, he worked for a guy who performed magic on the side. So began Pete’s two great passions.
During the 1960s and ‘70s he shot races for all the top magazines: Sports Illustrated, Car and Driver, Autoweek and more. Equally in demand in the magic world, he worked bills with Seinfeld and Leno, and was invited to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
He brought a magician’s mindset to his photography. That shot of Andy Granatelli bussing Mario at the 1969 Indy 500? Pete. Looking up at Jim Hall through the steering wheel of his Chaparral? Pure Pete prestidigitation.
In recent years we collaborated on the award-winning Can-Am 50th Anniversary. Our next, F1 Mavericks, comes out in June.
After his passing, condolences poured in throughout the racing world from Hall, Andretti, Sam Posey, Jackie Stewart and countless others. All spoke not only of him as a photographer, but as a warm and special friend.
Rest in peace, Magic Man. —George Levy