This book was a disappointment for me, but then I was hoping for more than the usual picture book and racing history as suggested by development being included in the title. There were very few drawings or pictures of mechanical details. Honestly, how many side shots of the same car do we need to see? As many as the author had? Sorry, I don't mean to be nasty. But I regret the $$ I had to spend on this book. It was available locally, but comes wrapped so you can't preview it.
Let me be more specific. A couple of these cars are front wheel drive, and the knowledge of how to set them up is not widely known now, nor was it during the heyday of Super Touring - they felt they were doing pioneer duty (which of course they weren't, except for that they were unaware of or thought inapplicable the work of forerunners). About all the author shares with us is Tarquini's revelation that they understeer in the Foreword. No duh. Later reference is made to a trick diff (it's ALWAYS a trick diff!). Xtrac's VC unit got a lot of attention contemporaneously, but the text here suggests something homegrown and electronic inasmuch as on Pg 110 Tarquini is quoted saying that under braking it locked the front's together. Credit to the author for including in the quotation that that made trailing brake on turn-in about impossible. They might just as well have run a spool. Tarquini is not a genius for driving around this - plenty of club racers do too. Pity as they don't have to, and they forego the exquisite pleasures of the first phase of turning.
So if you know, or think you know, Anything about front wheel drive, you know that Understeer is the big problem. That there are things you can and must do about it are not discussed in Any detail in this book. On pg 176 Tarquini's at Barcelona and BAM! "We had found a good setup with some oversteer..." I know that these are Italians we're reading about, but is their development program really reducible to deus ex machina?
Another staple of race car setup is Stiffer or Softer, generally. On page 190 a 156 is driven by Englishman James Thompson, who wants it softer than Farfus had it. Again, a book with development in the title, but broaching a core topic is limited to the first tooth of the broach.
The concluding chapter of the book, has some comments by Roberto Giordanelli on driving examples of these cars. He doesn't appear to to be a "master front wheel drive jockey". He does mention stiff bar and springs at the rear, but mischaracterizes their role. And he gets it completely wrong on what happens when the track gets wet. Why even bother with this?
The author should have talked to engineers and crew and tried to pry loose their DEVELOPMENT experiences. But I have a feeling he wouldn't have known what questions to ask. So many teachable moments pass unrecognized and un-seized.
But it's fine if you just want a picture book and racing history.