Editorial, September 1999

You may by now have detected a mild Goodwood flavour to the magazine this month. I won’t bang on about the supplement on the back, its merit or otherwise is not for us to say; however I feel less diffident about the CD on the front, largely because a lot of the work which put it there was not done by us. Nick Mason’s car collection is world-famous but to be able to listen with digital clarity not just to the finest in the stable but also to Nick explaining why each is so special is a unique pleasure. Best is the BRM V16 which sounds more like a modern F1 car than some modern F1 cars. A close second is the Ferrari 512S. And if you are wondering what a 1970s sports-racing Ferrari is doing on a CD about a circuit which closed in 1966, the explanation is simple: I wanted it there. Hear it yourself and you’ll see why.

This month’s MOTOR SPORT also marks a fundamental change in the way each issue is bound. The magazine now has a square-backed spine and a proper binding instead of the staples of old. It means the result will not only feel better in your hand, it will also last much longer, a crucial consideration for a title such as this which so many readers keep and collect. It is true this is not without its drawbacks; you will not be surprised to learn the process is considerably more costly and there are some who will find it one radical change to the magazine too far.

For us the decision was quite easy. We were already at what we felt was the limit for stitching a magazine with staples and those of you who have complained of covers becoming detached will not disagree. If we are further to develop the title, we need the flexibility to use more pages and better paper, something the staples prevented. In the meantime we hope you feel the fact the magazine now not only looks and feels better but should also last longer makes this change worthwhile.

Regular readers will remember we ran a series last year called Track Tests. These were tests not of cars but of the great circuits on which they raced but which have now fallen wholly or partly into disuse. Armed with old photographs, a Jaguar and a great deal of film, we headed off to Rouen, Spa, Reims, Zandvoort and Goodwood to see what had become of these extraordinary circuits. The feedback from you, the readers, was so passionate and positive that we have been saving ever since to bring you a new series. Last year we visited only those tracks that were a few hours from Calais; this year we have imposed no such constraints on ourselves and have already docked up many thousands of miles all over Europe in our search. The new series of Track Tests kicks off at three figure speeds next month, where else but on the banking at Monza.