Fill the motor sport void

Need to scratch the itch while racing is paused? Stay at home and dive into the past with The Racing Years and more

Jack Brabham leading the 1965 Italian GP

Jack Brabham leading the ’65 Italian GP, as featured on Amazon’s show

Grand Prix Photo

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The lack of live racing has left a vacuum in the weekend of motor sport fans and plugging the gap will be a serious undertaking.

Up steps Amazon Prime’s The Racing Years. The massive series documents every motor racing season from 1950-75, with amazing archive footage covering Formula 1, endurance racing, hillclimbs and rallying.

Shots of Mercedes’ 1954 F1 debut at the Nürburgring prove truly breathtaking and other vintage tracks, such as Pedralbes and Bremgarten, are covered in detail. Among other curiosities in the series is a non-championship F1 race at the Isle of Man TT circuit.

In early episodes, cars race at near 150mph inches away from spectators, lampposts and garden walls, which helps explain why motor sport was perceived so differently back then.

The multi-disciplinarian aspect of drivers’ careers is also emphasised. During the 1950s, Stirling Moss and Peter Collins raced in grands prix, endurance races and, to top it all off, a spot of hillclimbing. Somehow, you can’t quite envisage Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen sharpening their driving on the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb.

Pedro Rodriguez Brands Hatch

Pedro RodrÍguez’s famous and masterful drive in the wet 1970 Brands Hatch 1000km features

Getty

With YouTube footage inconsistent at best, Racing Years provides fine documentation of some of racing’s greatest battles.

Not only do we get to see highlights of the 1967 Italian Grand Prix – a race claimed by many to be the greatest of all time – but also Pedro Rodríguez winning the 1000km of Brands Hatch in his Porsche 917K, as well as Paddy Hopkirk taking the Mini Cooper’s famous first Monte Carlo Rally win in 1964.

It could be a long while before we see live racing on our TV screens again, but The Racing Years will keep any petrolhead occupied for at least a couple of grands prix distances. James Elson

Amazon Prime, £79 for one-year subscription 


A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story
Netflix, £8.99 per month subscription
With five World Championships during F1’s most dangerous period, Juan Manuel Fangio’s career made him one of the all-time greats. This documentary dives into his career, titles and his spells with the likes of Maserati, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz, as well as his legacy.


Esports & online racing
Youtube/Twitch
As race postponements racked up, F1 hosted its own official eSports races. Stars involved include Max Verstappen and Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. Other series are also entertaining its fans virtually. Head to your favoured series’s official channels for more.


DIRT Rally 2.0 – Colin McRae: Flat Out pack
PS4 / XB1 / PC, standard game costs £35
The second DiRT Rally revamp has proved to be one of the finest rally sims in recent years. With the release of the Colin McRae FLAT OUT Pack, the game adds further legendary icons. The Subaru Impreza S4, Legacy RS and over 40 new challenges are available.


Lego Audi Quattro S1

Lego Speed Champions: 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1
Lego.com, £17.99
Many of Lego’s automotive sets are sublime, even if the end result often captures the spirit, rather than the silhouette, of a car. When the inspiration for a model is as blunt as an Audi Sport Quattro, that’s no longer an issue.


Nick Fry: Survive. Drive. Win
Atlantic Books; £12.78 on Amazon
From the ashes of Honda’s withdrawal, Brawn GP rose and conquered the 2009 F1 championship, securing both titles. Nick Fry was part of the squad, leading the team alongside Ross Brawn, and his brilliant book tells a compelling underdog story.

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