1989 Le Mans 24 Hours

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1989 Le Mans 24 Hours by Christian Moity and Jean-Marc Teissedre. Published in the UK by Autotechnica, 14 Peartree Business Centre, Colchester, CO3 5JN. 197 pages in full colour. £23.90)

Fifty thousand Britons cannot be I wrong! The 24 Hours of Le Mans is much more that a motor race, rather an established part of the British racing calendar, and it has become an annual party that doesn’t really end until the official book appears.

In past years we’ve had to wait until January for the official history of the event, but this year the ACO, the authors and publishers have made a huge effort to produce the book well in time for the Christmas list. It is expensive at £23.90. This and Autocourse are going to set the serious motorsporting person back the best part of £50.

Whether you did or did not go to Le Mans this year, the 24 Hour book is a superb souvenir of the occasion. Patrick Tambay writes a good preface about his new-found fascination for the race, Paul Frere’s technical summary is as fine as ever and there is an excellent guide to Mercedes’ previous outings, starting with the awesome SSK driven by Rudolf Caracciola and Christian Werner in 1930. The photography, almost entirely in colour, lifts the annual to the highest level. Bob Wollek, red-eyed, looks fit to fall asleep on the reader’s lap. How cool Kunimitsu Takashi looked after jumping out of that fireball! Was Hideki Okada really not even scratched in that terrible accident? Nothing of importance has been missed by the photographers, and at the beginning of the book the ACO’s argument for the special nature of the event, in the face of FISA’s demands, is presented eloquently. It is, as Raymond Gouloumes states, “a magic formula which has fascinated lovers of car racing

for now.”