Motor Racing: The Records

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Bald statistics have always fascinated many a motor racing connoisseur, and no doubt always will. If the sport has long been awaiting the Guinness Book of Records treatment, this heavy, soft-cover volume provides the nearest thing no far.

No sooner is any such work published, of course, than it is out of date— which means this offering (complete to the end of 1986) has to be more useful than any forebears. But that is not to say it is fully comprehensive.

Top-six finishers, pole position and fastest lap are given for every Grand Prix since the introduction of the World Championship in 1950, though cross-referencing of driver and marque records is no more thorough than that previously published in yearbooks by such as John Player and Marlboro. Details of earlier Grands Prix, junior single-seater formulae, spot-swat-n, Indianapolis 500, Mille Miglia and Targa Florio have greater rarity value.

But some of the information frankly seems out of place. Tasman and Can-Am series attracted many top-class drivers in their day, but the entire history (both years) of Formula 3000 in tabulated form has little historical consequence at this point. The inclusion of Race of Champions. British Formula Three and Grovewood Award sections gives this book of international records a notably British slant.

Narrative interludes on specific subjects (famous drivers, races, circuits or technical themes) are brief, and there are insufficient exciting or colourful photographs to make this a coffee-table tome.

But while it could not be described as “reading material” in the usual sense, its hours-of-engrossment-to-cost ratio defines it as a bargain for the enthusiast/statistician. GT