Le Mans

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1988 Le Mans 24 Hours by Christian Moity and Jean-Marc Teissedre. 13×91/2″. I98pp. (Autotechnica Publications, 14-15 Peartree Business Centre. Stanway, Colchester, Essex CO3 5JN £25.90).
The Cat Pounces – Jaguar’s Triumph at Le Mans by Michael Cotton and Jan Briggs. 12″ x 81/2in. 120pp. (Menoshire Ltd, 49 Churchfield Road, London W3 6AY . £14.95).
Jaguar—Victory ’88 by Ken Wells. 125pp. 12″ x 81/2″ . (First Avenue Publishing Ltd, The Coach House, 90 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3E7. £14.95).

Each year a comprehensive record of the world’s most famous motor race is put together by the French with the official sanction of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. For somewhat obvious reasons, the celebrated 1988 event has provoked at least two British-based competitors.

All three have separate chapters on scrutineering, practice and race which make extensive use of both colour and black-and-white photography, and the Autotechnica and Menoshire offerings include informative team-by-team analyses of the entire entry and devote pages and pages to tabulated results and statistics. The First Avenue title leads the way in terms of background features, with each publication placing predictable emphasis on TWR and Jaguar.

Which version you buy depends on the extent of your requirements and your means.

Moity/Teissedre and Cotton/Briggs clearly intend their works to endure as sources of reference, but each is pitched at a different level in the market. If you are prepared to fork out twice as much, you will be rewarded with greater pictorial variety, an interesting hour-by-hour picture/caption treatment of the race itself and some Le Mans history thrown in for good measure, but also with some awkward English glaring through in translation. Both represent a fully comprehensive record for historians and modellers. Wells’ is more of a story book, with extra chat but fewer stats. But his is the most interesting selection of pictures (all in colour), which will render this a welcome aide-memoire for Jaguar fans who are not put off by an occasionally tabloid style of rhetoric.

So there is no clear “winner”. You pays your money, you takes your choice. GT

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