Book reviews, November 2003, November 2003

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Willy Mairesse — Le Chevalier Meurtri
By Christophe A Gaascht
ISBN 2-930277-09-2
Published by Nostalgia Editions, £26 approx.

Willy Mairesse was an enigma, both on and off the track. Blessed with indefatigable enthusiasm and deep self-belief, the Belgian all-rounder was often described as too brave for his own good. A racing cv punctuated by numerous accidents bears testament to that.

This well-researched and illustrated work — written in French but with an English translation — charts Mairesse’s rise and fall, from his humble beginnings in local rallies in a WWII Jeep through to the Ferrari F1 and sportscar successes towards the end of his career.

A complex character like Mairesse deserves this tribute — it’s a fascinating book that ends, naturally, with his suicide in 1969. Surely an ironic twist to a tale about a driver so brave and determined. HH-F

* * *

Lotus 78 and 79 — The Ground-Effect Cars
By John Tipler
ISBN 1-86126-586-7
Published by The Crowood Press, £19.95

With several original technical drawings and detail photography, the latest work by John Tipler — a renowned Lotus expert — explores the history of arguably the sport’s most ground-breaking family of racing cars.

Inspired by the innovation and creative genius of Colin Chapman, Lotuses 78 and 79 broke the mould in Formula One and racing car design.

As a former John Player Special Motorsport press officer, Tipler has used his knowledge, enthusiasm and contacts to tell a warts-and-all story, giving the reader a behind-the-scenes insight of a golden era of Formula One. With anecdotes from the engineers, designers, drivers and mechanics, this book is an essential addition to the library of any Lotus and/or F1 fan. HH-F

* * *

‘Hawkeye’ — A Biography of Paul Hawkins
By Ivan McLeod
ISBN 1-899870-67-9
Published by Motor Racing Publications, £15.99

Little-known Australian Paul Hawkins enjoyed a very colourful lifestyle and racing career.

This long overdue biog of the man known affectionately in motorsport circles as ‘Hawkeye’ pays tribute to a much underrated driver — in 1967, he drove for all three of the major factory sportscar teams: Ford, Ferrari and Porsche.

He was also an all-round good bloke. With off-track antics to match his abilities behind the wheel of a racing car, Hawkins’ endearing personality comes to light in this amusing and often entertaining tale.

His untimely death at the wheel of his beloved Lola 170 during the 1969 Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park robbed Australia and the international stage of a talented, energetic and outspoken character — and I mean outspoken — who, as those quoted in the book remind us, is missed by all who counted him as a friend… or a rival. HH-F

* * *

ADAC 1000km Rennen, 1953-1991
By Jorg-Thomas Fodisch & Michael Behrndt
ISBN 3-89880-240-X
Published by Heel Verlag GmbH, £27.95

THE 1000km race at the fearsome 14-mile Nurburgring was one of sportscar racing’s blue riband events — a marathon battle of nerves, wits, bravery and speed played out over some of the most treacherous Tarmac the sport has known.

The creation of any book dedicated to nearly 40 years of such a great event is a mammoth undertaking and this German language tome appears to have been just that.

With a year-by-year analysis of each event, archive photography and results, it paints a colourful picture of the battles won — and lost — around this great German circuit.

The only let downs to what is an important reference work are the lack of English translation and questionable artistic layout. It’s not always clear where you are, thanks to the liberal use of coloured text boxes. HH-F

* * *

Formula A and Formula 5000 in America
By Wolfgang Klopfer
ISBN 3-8330-0842-3
Available from Motorbooks, London, £32

American Formula 5000 married home-built specialist chassis with 5-litre Chevrolet V8 grunt to provide spectacular-looking and -sounding cars. Despite hard and fast racing, and a field of serious teams with talented drivers, the series didn’t live up to expectations in North America.

Not unlike Wolfgang Klopfer’s book, in truth. Undoubtedly a very useful reference tool with the results of every race from the 1968-76 era, it falls short of telling the full story, although it does not pretend to be the definitive series history.

With a few soft-focus photographs at the back as a seeming afterthought and a high cover price, there isn’t enough bang for your buck. Quite unlike the exciting series to which it relates, in fact.

For availability, contact the author at [email protected] HH-F

* * *

Formula 1 Technical Analysis 2002/2003
By Giorgio Piola
ISBN 88-7911-304-6
Published by Giorgio Nada Editore, £20

Looking at racing cars through Giorgio Piola’s eyes makes you feel woefully inadequate — from an artistic point of view, at least This latest book from the Italian freehand genius breaks down the barriers that lie between ardent anorak and/or technophobe and the F1 pit garages, so accurate are Piola’s visual representations of all the (almost) current machines.

To look at the cutaway drawings of even the most inaccessible areas of a modem grand prix car is to feel as though you are actually there.

Each of the 10 teams is treated in exhaustive detail, with every minute change illustrated.

The chances of you ‘undressing’ a Formula One car are extremely slim, but Piola’s craft and conscientiousness does the job for you. HH-F

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