Michael Turner was born in Harrow, Middlesex, in 1934. Raised in the suburbs of London during the Second World War, he was inspired by the exploits of the R.A.F. and developed an early talent for aircraft recognition, drawing aeroplanes in his school exercise books to the chagrin of his teachers. This enthusiasm for aviation found a parallel passion in the thrill of motor racing after a holiday visit to the Isle of Man in 1947, where he chanced to see the first post war revival of the British Empire Trophy Race.
In the 1950's, Turner's drawings decorated the legendary Steering Wheel Club in London and graced numerous enthusiast magazine and book covers. In the 60's and 70's his work appeared on the official posters for such prestigious races as the Grand Prix of Monaco, Sebring, LeMans, Nurburgring and many other Grand Prix and World Championship sports car events. He is perhaps best known to American fans for his series of Watkins Glen event posters, beginning with the 1969 US Grand Prix and continuing on through the final GP at The Glen in 1980.
urner also designed the familiar logo for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd. and the paint scheme for the team's first Formula One car in 1966. That design was changed before the Monaco GP when the producers of the film 'Grand Prix' wanted to cast the McLarens in the white and blue livery of the fictional 'Yamura' team as they incorporated actual race footage from the '66 season into the epic Cinerama production. On the upside, three Turner paintings were commissioned and featured prominently in 'Grand Prix,' serving as a valuable billboard for his considerable talent.
Turner is as well known in the aviation art community as he is amongst racing fans. He serves as President of the Guild of Aviation Artists in England and has had several books of his aircraft paintings published over the years. His reputation has brought him several invitations to fly with Britain's 'Red Arrows' demonstration team and his work has been featured in exhibitions at the RAF Museum at Hendon, the US Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB as well as the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum.