Reviews, February 2013
50 Years of Formula 1 photography & sports-car racing 1962-1973
By Rainer Schlegelmilch
You wait this long for a Rainer Schlegelmilch book to come along, and then…
The German photographer specialises in mighty tomes most the approximate weight of a Cosworh BDA and all stand apart in terms of content and value.
The latest releases, one from a tightly defined period in endurance racing history, the other broader in scope, adhere to a familiar, altering template. The older images naturally have the unfair advantage of context, because it was almost impossible to take a duff shot during the Targa Florio and drivers (all right Kimi, not you) paid less attention to what they said and did, or when they did it. Back then, the PR constabulary was light years from invention.
It matters not, though, that the formulaic nature of modern paddocks creates fewer opportunities for the imaginatively inclined. Many of the more recent Fl shots underline that the art of candid portraiture is alive and well in Schlegelmilch’s mind. He has been doing this kind of stuff since 1962: long may he continue.
Both books are exquisite and the most expensive costs about half as much as it would to brim a Ford Focus with unleaded.
Remarkable, in a word. SA
Published by Könemann, (F1) ISBN 978 3 86407 0563, €49.95;
(Sportscar) ISBN 978 3 86407 057 0, €29.95
By Pierre van Vliet
A flame-scarred Bell Star hangover from his 1970 Spanish Grand Prix clash with Jackie Oliver is a stark, strange choice for the cover of an illustrative essay spanning the racing life and times of Jacky lckx. It has its place within the book certainly, but a defining career image? Hardly.
The bits in the middle pursue a more logical course, respected writer van Vliet weaving a narrative between some fine photographs that track lckx’s rise from motorcycle trials rider to Ferrari lynchpin and Le Mans maestro, before continuing to post-pinnacle diversions such as Paris-Dakar.
Unlike some of the cars he raced the Porsche 956/962 series, for instance lckx has hardly been exhausted as a literary subject, and much of the content is unfamiliar. There is also an interesting opinion piece, reproduced from Automobile Year 7958, in which lckx’s father, Jacques Snr, outlines his distaste for motor racing… and its absolute right to exist as a sport.
A curio, then, but good with it. SA
Published by Cannibal Publishers,
ISBN 978 9 49137 614 6, €45
One Glorious Hour
The Mike Hawthorn Story, By Don Shaw
Novels woven around historical events aren’t uncommon, but are rarely about motor racing. The action in this one, though, is entirely fact, the fiction element being the mental processes and private conversations of the dramatis personae, viz Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorn and their circle during that tragic year of 1958, when Britain won its first F1 titles.
Read as a putative interpretation of factual events it’s bound to be conjectural. But as a novel, while waving a colourful veil of guilt, revenge and obsession around the deaths of Musso and Collins, it’s on thinner ice.
We experience Hawthorn’s mental agonies about whether his ‘mon ami mate’ killed himself trying to protect Mike’s title chances, but with a known storyline and no ingenious McGuffln theory to pitch facts on their head, it remains one man’s guess about the contents of another’s head. GC
Published by The Derby Books Publishing Company Ltd.,
ISBN 978 1 78091 0437, £12.99
Pauli. Henri &Harri, Finland’s fastest family, By Esa Illoinen
It’s Henri that you think of when someone says ‘Toivonen’. But there’s much more to the family story than his great rallying success and his tragic death in the 1986 Tour de Corse.
Father Pauli was European Rally Champion in 1968 and brother Harri had some racing success, finishing ninth at Le Mans in 1991. Some of you might remember that astonishing save when his Porsche 962’s suspension collapsed.
Henri, of course, is the big story and rightly he is the focus of this personal German/English account by Esa Illoinen, which charts the Finn’s rise from karting to Group B through Formula Vee and the lower ranks of rallying.
Thanks to help from Henri’s family, this is more than just a career overview: it’s a must-read for any rally fan, if you forgive the occasional translation error. EF
Published by Mc Klein Publishing,
ISBN 978 3 927458 61 €49.90