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Peter Fenelon

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Ford in Touring Car Racing
Ford in Touring Car Racing
by Graham Robson
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries to do too much in too little space, 30 Aug 2003
Ford have often been the backbone of touring car competition in Europe - everything from the Zephyr to the Mondeo via assorted Anglias, Capris, Taunuses, Escorts, Sierras and Fiestas have turned up on the circuits, plus an assortment of Americana including Galaxies and Falcons...
Robson tells the story of the cars and the people crisply enough and has unearthed some very good photos, but this doesn't really hang together as a book for me - the relationship between the different racing programmes and the degree of tacit or overt works support some of them enjoyed isn't made particularly clear, and there isn't really a clear narrative thread running through the story.
There are really two four-star books in here struggling to get out - one of them covering the 60s to the early 80s (up to the end of the Capri in international competition) and another up to the present day with the Sierra and Mondeo. Both stories need more room to breathe.

The Porsche in Motorsport: Fifty Years on Track (In Motorsport)
The Porsche in Motorsport: Fifty Years on Track (In Motorsport)
by Peter Morgan
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of Porsche racing history, 30 Aug 2003
Rather than trying to give a race-by-race and model-by-model account of Porsche's epic racing history, Morgan chooses to concentrate on some of the seminal Porsche racing machines and use their stories to link together the company's history - thereby making a concise, readable and entertaining work of history, with excellent illustrations and lots of first-hand comments from Porsche insiders.
The impression the reader's left with is the overwhelming thoroughness of Porsche's approach to racing - constant testing, every race seen as a way of improving some part of the car...
Covers all the key models (550, 718, 804, 904, Carrera 6, 908, 917, 935, 936, 956/962, WSC-95 and 911GT1) in words and rather excellent pictures.
Handsome, readable, nicely laid out and rather surprisingly neglected when it first appeared - accessible to the general motorsport reader, and certainly sufficient detail for all but the most passionate admirer of Zuffenhausen.

CAN-AM Racing Cars (Brooklands Books Road Test Series) (Brooklands Race Preview)
CAN-AM Racing Cars (Brooklands Books Road Test Series) (Brooklands Race Preview)
by R. M. Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great compilation of articles on mighty cars!, 30 Aug 2003
The Can-Am cars of the 60s and 70s were true behemoths - almost unlimited sports-racers, with a mix of huge American V8s, Ferrari V12s and Porsche flat-12s. This compilation of magazine articles on the cars describes the chassis, the engines, the drivers - all the background to one of the most technically fascinating racing series ever.
Right from the early days of the Lola T70 and McLaren M1 to the ultimate 'Panzer' turbo Porsches vs the eccentric Shadows, all the cars are here.
If McLaren, Chapparal, Lola, Porsche, Autocoast, Shadow mean anything to you you'll want this super little book.
Brooklands also publish two companion volumes on the races - worth picking up too.

by Chris Nixon
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary book about extraordinary people, 30 Aug 2003
This review is from: Rosemeyer! (Hardcover)
Bernd Rosemeyer was one of the most heroic drivers of the Thirties, his brief career on bikes and in cars spanning only a few tremendously successful years. Yet Elly Beinhorn, the remarkable aviatrix he married, was initially much more famous than her husband.
This remarkable book, Nixon's expanded re-translation of Elly's original 1938 work, is a wonderfully vivid account of two remarkable people -- Elly's flying career and Bernd's racing combine as the biography describes their years together, which ended with the tragedy of his death during a record attempt in early '38. As a memoir of an extraordinary age, and of two unusual people and their relationship, this book is unmissasble.

Life at the Limit
Life at the Limit
by Damon Hill
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read by a great driver, 30 Aug 2003
This review is from: Life at the Limit (Hardcover)
More than any other World Champion, Graham Hill worked hard to get to the top. He couldn't even drive until his mid-20s; after getting hooked by a couple of laps of Brands in an F3 car he scrimped, saved (and occasionally conned) his way into racing, constantly improving his technical and driving skills.
Graham is frank and funny about his early life - for once this is an autobiography that doesn't start with the beginning of his racing career, there being much about his childhood, Navy years, and apprenticeship.
He goes on to tell the story of his racing career from his debut in F3 (he led off the start line, and then wasn't quite sure what you did next...) to being hospitalised after his 1969 Watkins Glen accident.
Along the way there are various lewd and occasionally printable anecdotes - Graham did seem to spend more time three sheets to the wind dancing on tables with his trousers off than most modern F1 androids do! - but above all the story of a man determined to reach the top in his chosen sport by virtue of hard work and application of his brain to the task at hand.
Graham was a splendid raconteur and the easy, conversational style of the book makes it splendidly readable.
He's still missed to this day; this is a fine memoir of a true British Great.

Strictly Off the Record
Strictly Off the Record
by Louis T. Stanley
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-congratulatory and occasionally downright nasty., 30 Aug 2003
Louis Stanley (mis)led the legendary BRM team for many years, the volume of his proclamations generally in inverse proportion to the team's success.
He also wrote a series of Grand Prix annuals in the 60s, from which a lot of this material appears to have been adapted.
His commitment to improving racing safety is entirely admirable - the "Stanley Passion Wagon" ambulance certainly saved many lives.
His book is somewhat odd. Attempts to justify BRM's decline mix uncomfortably with gory accounts of accidents - and inexcusable photographs from fatal incidents.
I found it difficult to finish - the strident self-congratulatory tone and flowery prose combined with some grotesque photography put me right off.

Holman Moody: The Legendary Race Team
Holman Moody: The Legendary Race Team
by Tom Cotter
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could've been much better, 30 Aug 2003
Contains a lot about stock car racing and almost nothing about Holman, Moody, and the often turbulent relationship between them. As such, it's a fairly good season-by-season racing history, but you get very little feel for how and why the team became as formidable as it did and built its relationship with Ford. The tale is fairly bland in the telling, but the pictures are pretty good.
I was hoping for a lot more about Holman-Moody's involvement in the Ford Le Mans programme...
A nice try, but could've been longer, more insightful and less NASCAR-oriented.

McLaren: Grand Prix, Can-Am and Indy Cars
McLaren: Grand Prix, Can-Am and Indy Cars
by Doug Nye
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive early history of the team - excellent., 30 Aug 2003
An excellent history of McLaren up to the end of the 1987 season, with a slightly unusual approach - talks about the men behind the team (Bruce himself, Teddy Mayer and Ron Dennis), then discusses designers, the early history of the team in sports car racing, and then the racing history of the cars themselves in three formulae. This slightly odd organisation means there's some repetition and a little discontinuity, but it means that each 'thread' of the story has a chance to develop well.
As ever Doug Nye mixes nuts and bolts, reportage and anecdotes brilliantly - it's a supremely readable book.
There is still not a better general work on the team's first couple of decades - highly recommended to anyone who wants to understand how McLaren became the team it is now.

50 Years of British Grand Prix Drivers
50 Years of British Grand Prix Drivers
by Peter Scherer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and informative, 30 Aug 2003
Does what it says on the cover, really - provides brief biographical, statistical and photographic (and often autograph!) coverage of every British driver to have started a GP up to the time the book was published (so don't go looking for Firman or Davidson!).
Scherer has quite a bit to say about the drivers' pre- and post-F1 careers too, and the selection of pictures is good.
Typography, layout and picture reproduction are all good, and there are very few obvious errors.
The book's organisation is a bit eccentric, grouping drivers roughly by their debuts and then alphabetically! - rather frustrating if you're trying to use it as a quick reference.
Recommended, particularly as a reference on the more obscure drivers - contains more background on them than Steve Small's 'Grand Prix Who's Who".

Formula 1 Fanatic
Formula 1 Fanatic
by Koen Vergeer
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish and irritating, 30 Aug 2003
This review is from: Formula 1 Fanatic (Hardcover)
This is essentially a couple of hundred page essay on "why I am an F1 fan".
As such, it's not going to tell the dedicated F1 fan anything they don't know already, and as history it's too subjective, too fragmentary and too personal to be at all interesting.
I don't know whether the book was written in English as a second language, or whether it's been translated, but it reads oddly and the proofreading and fact-checking are both very shaky.
File with 'Fever Pitch' as something to read on the train as an alternative to falling asleep.

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