Driving Ambition

By Doug Nye. ISBN n/a

Published by Virgin, £425.00

If you buy anew Mercedes you can visit the factory to pick it up. Now we have a book with the same personal involvement. Order the Limited Edition of Driving Ambition and you can collect it from the McLaren Cars base, and have a look at a real F1. But ironically, you'll learn more about the car by reading the book than you will from close up viewing.

We have already admired the extraordinary depth of detail afforded by the records kept by McLaren of their unsurpassed road car. Now, for £425, you can have the 'director's cut' — more pages, larger size, extra photographs, leather-look binding (only the first 100 get Connolly hide, and if you don't drive an F1, you can't have one), three fold-out technical illustrations, and a velour-lined slip-case big enough to fit a spare wheel in. Oh, and a metal 'chassis plate' showing which one out of the 1000 copies you have bought, and a data plate listing the F1's various race and record achievements. And did I mention the gloves? It comes with white cotton loves to prevent you smearing its crisp pages with the grime of real life. Each copy is signed by Ron Dennis, Gordon Murray, Mansour Ojjeh and Creighton Brown.

Goodies apart, there are 400 extra photographs on 170 new pages, added technical drawing overlays, and facsimiles of Gordon Murray's project notes tipped in. The sections on testing and racing have been expanded, and this time we have the story of developing the long-tail GT version to combat the quasi-prototype Porsche GT1. As mad indulgences go this is one of the more compelling: the ultimate tribute to the ultimate road car. GC