Book reviews, March 2007, March 2007

Remembering Elio

Lorie Coffey

Elio de Angelis has a special place in the hearts of motor racing people, especially as his death was such a needless, scandalous waste of a great guy. Lorie Coffey’s tribute to de Angelis is well researched and illustrated, reminding us that the man was so much more than a racing driver, an artistic and musical man who raced because he loved doing it. The book has some nice little stories and anecdotes that you almost certainly won’t have read before and it rightly points out that despite the tragic events surrounding Elio’s fatal accident at Paul Ricard, at
least his passing spurred the authorities into improving safety at circuits. If you were a fan, it’s one for your library. RW

Published by Coterie Press, £34.95 (£75 limited edition). ISBN: 1902351266


Karl Ludvigsen

One heartening element of the anguished BRM V16 story was the loyalty of its supporters’ club, of which a keen schoolboy member was Karl Ludvigsen. We’ve read a huge amount about the V16 already so it would be unfair to expect this smallish book to include revelations, but it does widen the perspective on the project’s origins, drawing parallels with the ill-fated CTA-Arsenal, illustrating Pomeroy’s proposed ‘British Union’ V16, and discussing other designs. Being an engine specialist, Ludvigsen presents a lot of technical gen while keeping the track record concise, and includes many drawings. This is an excellent outline of one of Britain’s glorious failures, particularly if your interest is in the machinery. GC 

Published by Veloce, £17.99. ISBN: 1845840372

Porsche 917 – the undercover story

Gordon Wingrove

Another Porsche book, this time the story of the iconic 917, arguably the most dramatic sports-racing car ever built and certainly the pride and joy of the Stuttgart race team. Author Gordon Wingrove worked for John Wyer during the halcyon days of the 917 so he knows what he’s talking about, and his book is an insight into the mysteries and complexities of endurance race engineering. The book is technical, and very detailed, so one
for the 917 addict, perhaps, rather than the general reader. There’s a foreword by Hans Metzger of Porsche. RW

Published by PMM Books, £34.95. ISBN: 0954999029

Marquis de Portago – the legend

Ed McDonough

Ed McDonough broadens his range of racing books with this biography of one of the most colourful characters in the paddock. The Marquis de Portago epitomised the romantic, glamorous and dashing racing driver of days gone by, a reminder of times when drivers had lots of fun, both on and off the track. Alfonso Portago, or Fon as the Spanish aristocrat was known, made his mark in equestrianism and bobsledding as well as motor racing. and became a sports superstar in the 1950s. This book, with contributions from those who knew the man, is another story of a great motor racing character whose life ended in tragedy. A good read. RW 

Published by Mercian Manuals Ltd, £39.95. ISBN: 1903088275