The Pursuit of Victory 1963-1972
The second in Veloce’s unpretentious Pursuit of Victory series picks up where the previous volume left off, with contributions from Lotus mechanic Bob Dance accompanying the author’s snaps and memories.
Wyatt’s recollections jump here, there and everywhere, but the concept works since his time as a marshal gave him close-up views.
The best moments are often the surprises, such as when Wyatt turned up at Snetterton to be greeted by the day’s top stars racing GTs. That wouldn’t happen at any circuit in the 21st century. ACH
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978-1-904788-10-2, £45
Respected author Pritchard had only just delivered the manuscript for this limited-edition book when he passed away last autumn, a few days after being involved in a road accident. This useful reference work thus stands as an epitaph to one of our sport’s most dependable historians, although publisher Veloce eventually hopes to publish other, unfinished Pritchard books.
In Focus commences with a brief but detailed 250F development history, switches to a thumbnail, race-by-race account of the car’s competition career (covering everything from grandes épreuves to Formula Libre events at Crystal Palace) and concludes with individual chassis histories and technical specifications. Some suitably atmospheric images bind the whole together and there are first-hand reminiscences from various 250F alumni, including Moss and Fangio.
There are alternative 250F books – including David McKinney’s acclaimed history and another that Anthony wrote during the 1980s – but this contains all the useful bits in user-friendly format. It’s relatively expensive, with the initial print run limited to 1500 copies, but online retailers were offering generous discounts long before it was officially available. SA
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978-1-845845-63-6, £60
This is a book dedicated to an engine built for a single race, which was then promptly retired with a 100 per cent win rate. As subjects go, a bit thin perhaps? Absolutely not. Beast is a fascinating story inspired by great characters, and it’s beautifully told, too.
In 1993 Paul Morgan and his partner Mario Illien spotted an opportunity in USAC’s rulebook for an audacious new assault on the Indianapolis 500. Roger Penske needed little convincing to accept the challenge, as Ilmor embarked on designing and building a top-secret pushrod engine for the 1994 500. Badged relatively late in the day by Mercedes-Benz, Penske sprung its latest ‘unfair advantage’ on an Indycar world that never saw it coming, and Al Unser Jr delivered one of the great Indy victories.
The technical detail here is consummate, accompanied by crisp line drawings by Patrick Morgan, son of the late (and much-missed) Ilmor co-founder. But it’s the human-interest angle that raises this story to the highest levels.
A good motor racing book? No, simply a great book, full stop.
We urge you to read it. DS
Published by Octane Press, ISBN 978-1-937747-33-6, $29.95
My incredible life on two and four wheels
John Surtees with Mike Nicks
On page 100 you can judge for yourself the style of Surtees’ autobiography, in our exclusive extract. Although it’s co-authored, you can hear John’s voice: “I always pushed the bike, but I pushed myself more.” What’s unusual is the structure – concise two-page summaries of each few years, with highlights, events and trends, plus generous picture sections with explanatory captions. It works brilliantly: for his career, read the ‘chapterettes’; for colour and atmosphere, soak up the large pictures and John’s informative notes. How else would you learn that “I rode with the MV in the guard’s van and then wheeled the bike to the dockside”?
More painful is the section about Henry, where John talks about his late son and the Foundation set up in his memory. There is an Epilogue in which Surtees sums up his career and the people who counted, while forewords from both Rossi and Vettel reinforce his unique standing. This is a very personal work, frank and straightforward, and unexpectedly engaging. GC
Published by Evro, ISBN 978 0 9928209 2 3, £50