by Bob Judd, 238pp. 9 1/2″ x 6 1/4″. Pan Books Ltd, Cavaye Place, London SW10 9PG £13.95
Novels about motor racing have been few and mostly undistinguished. Apart from the schoolboy sagas of oily-overalled mechanics making good in fabulously fast cars of the Twenties after graduating from the village garage, what have there been? Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies touches on racing. The Earl of Cattenham had a stab with two motor racing novels, but nothing really got to grips with it in this form until Pierre Fisson gave us Speed Triumphant (English edition, Putman, 1951) based on the Gordini team’s activities reduced to fiction.
Bob Judd has since written Formula One (Pan Books, 1989) already reviewed by MOTOR SPORT and which earned high praise from BBC commentator Murray Walker and was referred to by Jackie Stewart as ‘A Dick Francis on Wheels’. Judd should know about the motoring scene, as the chap who wrote and produced more than 30 films with Jackie Stewart, compiled some of Lee Iacocca’s commercials that saved Chrysler, and was responsible for Ford’s European advertising. His latest book uses the world’s fastest and greatest spectator-supported motor race, the Indianapolis 500, as its theme, carefully researched with drivers like Al Unser Jr and Bobby Rahal, and other experts at the American Speedway. So here is a novel in which the hero-driver really shows the reader what it is like to race at Indy, — “all you have to do is put your foot down and turn left” is scarcely the whole story! — interwoven with an exciting look at the power that controls the media and the banks, in a plot to sell a multi-million dollar satellite to a rogue character. The book is also powerful on sex and has the approval of Murray Walker, who says Judd has done it again. It is written in the modern racy idiom; the expression ‘f….g’, man and woman, is used at least 32 times. I mention this so that if it turns you on you will buy the book even more avidly; if not, you have been forewarned. WB.