Pilote de legende
by Jacqueline Cevert-Beltoise/Johnny Rives
Some worthwhile subjects have too much dedicated literature, others none at all. Once in a while, though, book-shaped cardboard packages open to reveal something genuinely different — and, in this instance, most welcome. The text has been compiled by Francois’s sister Jacqueline (wife of former racer Jean-Pierre Beltoise) and respected journalist Johnny Rives, who covered F1 during Cevert’s heyday and was present at the 1973 United States GP when his compatriot crashed fatally.
The nuts and bolts of Cevert’s life story are all here — and beautifully illustrated, with everything from family holiday snaps to a comprehensive resume of his career via shots of his stint in national service — but it’s his sister’s personal touches that add particular poignancy.
Following the accident at Watkins Glen, a photographer friend returned some personal effects to Europe — one of them being Cevert’s briefcase. Jacqueline couldn’t bear to look inside and it remained closed for almost 40 years, tucked away at the family’s countryside retreat, before she finally opened it for the book’s sake. Among the contents was a key for the hotel room to which her brother never returned.
For now the prose is available only in French — and if you don’t yet speak it there has rarely been a better excuse to learn. SA
Published by L’Autodrome Editions,
ISBN 978 2 910434 335, €39
1973 onwards (all marks) Owner’s Workshop Manual
Following Haynes’s excellent Lotus 72 manual comes this study of McLaren’s equally long-serving M23. Beyond the expected technical breakdowns, Ian Wagstaff delves into the car’s deep history; there’s much more to it than Fittipaldi and Hunt’s championships.
From Tony Trimmer’s Aurora series success to John McCormack’s bulbous Can-Am conversion, the M23’s resume is incredibly diverse. Interviews with most surviving drivers and team personnel give an impression of the car as a beloved, adaptable workhorse, a view shared by historic racers.
For the less technically minded, the many anecdotes will make this a page-turner, vividly illustrating the bubbly personalities of the team’s pre-corporate era. ACH
Published by Haynes Publishing,
ISBN 978 85733 312 4, £21.99
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