The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing

by Adriano Cimarosti. 432 pp. 11 1/2″ x 9″. MRP, Unit 6, The PiIton Estate, 46, Pitlake, Croydon, CRO 3RY £29.95

What an ambitious idea! The full history of GP racing from 1894 to 1989 in one volume. The dustjacket claims that Cimarosti covers not only all those races but also the drivers and the race tracks. Moreover the book is interspersed with little technical drawings of mechanical details and masses of drivers’ signatures, even those in Japanese, in addition to the expected results tables, circuit maps, racing car specifications and an enormous number of drawings of racing cars through the years, and their engines, etc. Formidable indeed! No wonder Motor Racing Publications were keen to do an English translation by David Bateman, edited by David McKinney, of this Camel production. There have been complete motor racing histories previously, such as the pioneering work of Gerald Rose, up to 1908, the Grand Prix Car volumes by Laurence Pomeroy, George Monkhouse’s GP Racing, William Court’s analytical coverage and my own contribution by Macdonald (over which, regrettably, legal action is involved) etc. but nothing quite so all-embracing, perhaps, as Cimarosti’s, which might be termed the popular presentation of this enormous subject.

I am always a little worried about the accuracy of such reference works but am happy in this case to take John Blunsden’s word that he has known “Cima” for 30 years and endorses his profound knowledge of his subject, which Fangio, in the book’s Foreword, also refers to convincingly. I am always glad that history as well as the current motor sporting scene holds the interest of enthusiasts, and while the whole story of GP racing cannot be told even in these 432 big pages, here is all that mostly matters, for those students who seek it. There is also the reasonable price asked for all this intense information, apart from which, the really great wealth of excellent photographic reproductions, 386 in all — even if inevitably most historians will recognise many of them — and all those innumerable very clear drawings of historic cars from 1902 Paris-Vienna Renault to Type 101 Lotus-Judd, make this book rather unique.

There are also 48 good full page colour-plates. I notice one of a front cover of Speed, a magazine MOTOR SPORT absorbed, and that LAT has contributed to this photographic treat. If you buy this book it will save you money on many others! WB