Book reviews

Formula Ferrari by Umberto Zapelloni ISBN 340 83471 4 Published by Hodder &Stoughton, £20

'The first official inside story of the most successful team in the history of Formula One' trumpets this book on its front cover. And that is exactly what you get. Respected Italian journalist Zapelloni begins in 1991 when Luca di Montezemolo takes over at the helm of the struggling company, and follows the F1 team's rise to dominance. A familiar tale, of course, and as this is an official Ferrari publication, it is clearly biased. But to the author's credit, the narrative is more than just a glorified press release. It is an enjoyable read with plenty of zest. But most of all it's Michel Comte's photography that really makes this book stand out. His candid shots from Fiorano tests are particularly eyecatching. Well worth the money. DS

Porsche & Mille Miglia by Andrea Curami ISBN 88 7911 320 8 Published by Giorgio Nada Editore, £20

The Mille Miglia was an important early chapter in Porsche's competition story. From 1952 until '57, when the event was run for the final time, the young German marque cut its racing teeth on the tortuous Italian roads.

This book, in Italian with a parallel English translation, recounts Porsche's successful six-year assault on the open-road marathon. Its 356 took numerous class wins right from '52, while the 550 contributed more victories from '54 on.

Evocative photographs pepper a book that is a little short on running text. But detailed captions for each picture provide greater depth of information, while Porsche's own posters and adverts celebrating class victories add vibrant colour. One of these stylish posters, from the final event in '57, adorns the cover.

The author widens the context by reporting how the cars fared in Italy's other races. A full list of Porsche's Mille Miglia results is also included. DS

Porsche 911: The Definitive History 1977-1987 by Brian Long ISBN 1 903706 36 Published by Veloce Publishing, £29.99

The Porsche 911 is an automotive icon, and a model which remains one of the world's most desirable sportscars into its fifth decade. After half a century of R&D as a road-going and racing car, it is deserving of this five-volume study.

The first three books are available now, covering the years 1963-71, 1971-77 and 1977-87. The 1987-97 volume will be launched this summer and the final book, which brings the car's colourful story up to the present day, is due at the end of the year.

Porsche gave its full co-operation to this work and it shows. Each of the volumes is packed with superb archive photos to complement the author's thorough narrative, written from a mind-boggling amount of research. Essential for true Porsche fans. DS

An official tribute to Ayrton Senna www.Senna.tv 190mins Published byDolphin Media/EMI, £16.95

How wonderfully arrogant. It's 1983 and Ayrton Senna has just tested a Williams at Donington. He is asked by the interviewer about a race deal Senna explains he'll only drive for a team that pays him what he is worth. The guy's not even an F3 champ yet.

The footage of his first test days for Williams, McLaren and Toleman in 1983 are highlights of this superb DVD. The two-disc set is made up of three documentaries: The Right To Win, including an interview with Senna's great nemesis Alain Prost; The Lifestyle of Ayrton Senna in Brazil, a revealing film of his life away from the sport; and Racing is in My Blood, made in '91. The latter is the only part with F1 racing footage (presumably a tiresome rights issue), but this is still Senna's most complete visual biography. DS

Formula One 1980 produced by Brunswick Films, 52mins cat code DMDVD 3790 Published by Duke, £16.99

Before 1981, when Bernie Ecclestone began the drive towards huge wealth in Formula One by taking over its television rights, London based Brunswick Films captured great footage of a decade of grand prix racing. Now for the first time it is available on DVD.

The first release from an impressive archive is a review of the 1980 season. The 1970s are to follow.

It is sure to be an invaluable collection to fans of the era, although if the other releases follow the trend set by the 1980 review don't expect to get the full story. Here the season is picked up at the Brazilian GP rather than at the first round in Argentina, seemingly because there is no footage of this race. Even then track action at Interlagos is limited to the start only.

Other races are also missing. But the holes in the coverage are made up for by the quality of what Brunswick has captured. The pit and paddock scenes are superb, while an onboard lap of Brands Hatch with John Watson's McLaren is a real treat DS

Works Rally Mechanic by Brian Moylan ISBN 1-904788-18-1 Published by Veloce, £16.99

Brian Moylan joined the new BMC competitions department in 1955, and stayed there for 22 years. That meant he prepared and serviced everything from MGAs and Rileys to the roistering TR8. More significantly, he was involved with the big Healeys and the mighty Minis in their great days, and his behind-the-scenes tales add plenty of colour to the well-known rally stories.

The "raw Berkshire lad" who started in the workshop didn't expect to end up in Nairobi or Santiago, but that is where events like the World Cup and London to Sydney rallies took him, and there's a tale in all of them. He's frank and often amusing — in particular about breaking the boredom of record-breaking at Monza. Many unseen, and relevant, photos too. GC