Reviews, September 2008

917 Porsche
Sketches of Success
Reynald Hézard

A book on the Porsche 917 has to do justice to what some believe is the greatest racing car ever built. A tall order.

Happily, this new book from France lives up to expectations – at least most of the time.

Published by the company behind Le Mans Racing magazine, this work stands out for the quality of its photographs and the author’s beautifully executed illustrations of not only every chassis, but every configuration and colour scheme. The drawings alone are a marvellous achievement.

The publishers could not have presented a better selection of archive photographs, while 917 ace Vic Elford offers his authority by writing the foreword. The book is split into chapters dedicated to every chassis built. The words (in French and English) are perfunctory but full of detail. Unfortunately, we did find one big error here: the English copy for chassis 917-004 has been repeated over the page for chassis 917-005. A flaw in an otherwise lovely book. DS
Published by Le Mans Racing, ISBN 978 2 951 873742, 40 euros

Race to Win
How to Become a Complete Champion Driver
Derek Daly

A book called Race To Win with Heidfeld on the front cover, who has yet to win a GP at the time of writing, certainly raised a few eyebrows.

But Derek Daly is well placed to write such a book and provides an invaluable insight into what it takes to achieve in one of the hardest-fought sports. With analysis of drivers such as Stewart, Schumacher and Jeff Gordon, as well as direct and informative prose on the aspects that make up a champion, any budding racer would be well advised to give it a read.

If nothing else, it tells it like it is: “Nobody owes you anything. You get what you deserve, and you reach heights using steps on the ladder that you yourself created.” EF
Published by PGUK, ISBN 978 0 7603 3185 9, £16.99

Jim Clark
Grand Prix Legend
Andrew Tulloch

It’s a slight shame that this one comes after the flurry of Jim Clark anniversary events, and it has a bit of an uphill task given the amount already written about the Scot.

Tulloch, however, is curator of the Jim Clark memorial room in Duns and thus has access to a good deal of memorabilia and family material to embellish his book. It’s nicely presented with a generous supply of photos, and if the text does not offer much in the way of new insights, the off-duty photos of Jim at various events in Scotland or on the farm add some fresh colour.

The parade through the local lanes after his championship win is especially impressive. There’s a warm foreword by Sir Stirling Moss. GC
Published by Orion Books, ISBN 978 0 297 85440 1, £25

The Fast Stuff
Mat Oxley

OK, an admission. As Mat Oxley is a columnist for this magazine, we’re already signed-up fans of his work. But who cares? This is still a crackingly entertaining book, full of great stories.

Even for those with only a passing interest in bike racing there is something here to keep you hooked. The two-wheeled world is a little more unhinged than we are used to in these parts, as the riders and the machines they straddle continue to prove. Oxley has seen it all, and crucially has done it all too. The first story is his account of riding in the 1989 Suzuka Eight Hours, on the same track as Rainey, Schwantz, Doohan and Gardner. It’s riveting stuff from there on.

If you’re not into bikes, you will be by the end of this book. DS
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 496 5, £18.99