Vote for Motor Sport's best cover from the past 100 years

100 years of Motor Sport

As we publish our 100th anniversary issue, vote now on the best Motor Sport cover of the previous century

Motor Sport best cover montage

If you were looking for a quickfire history of racing, then browsing through a century of Motor Sport covers would provide the essentials.

We’re looking to find the best example from our 100 year history, with voting now open on our shortlist below.

Early Motor Sport covers featured illustrations of Brooklands leviathans, photographs of city-to-city endurance races and German slipstreamers. The bare drawings during wartime gave way to hillclimbs, speed records and the repurposing of Silverstone, followed by the advent of the world championship and the likes of Fangio, Moss, Clark, and their successors. We’ve traced each generation’s top talents up to, and including, Verstappen, Hamilton and Norris, while marking epic Le Mans feats and audacious rally winners.

As the “shop window” to each issue, covers typically monopolise the best pictures, design work and — for most of the past century — colour printing, making many artworks in their own right.

Today, each cover of Motor Sport remains the most scrutinised page of the magazine before it goes to press, as it always has been… save for the occasions when it was handed over to advertisers.

Scroll down for full details on each cover or click below to go straight to the voting form. Each entrant will be in with a chance of winning a three-car Scalextric set of legendary Ford saloons.

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November 1931

Brooklands closing meeting

Typical of the illustrations featured on the cover of early issues of Motor Sport, this artwork by noted motoring artist Ron Nockold depicts a furious battle between Sir Henry Birkin’s Maserati and Sir Malcolm Campbell in the Mercedes at Brooklands’ 1931 Closing Meeting. Birkin would pull away and go on to win the Mountain Championship race with a new lap record of 75.21mph.

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MS November 1931 cover

October 1949

Ferodo advert for brake linings

An artwork so good that it adorned no less than 24 successive issues, aided no doubt by a substantial Ferodo sponsorship deal. The generic grand prix car fluctuated between yellow, blue and green liveries during the course of those two years, highlighting what was one of our first full-colour covers, but the picture remained otherwise identical. Ferodo-sponsored covers continued in its wake, but this time they incorporated a TV, allowing us to include a photograph from that month’s racing scene on the screen.

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MS October 1949 cover

June 1955

With Moss on the Mille Miglia

The exhilaration and exhaustion is tangible as Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson celebrate a famous Mille Miglia victory with Mercedes engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who led development of their 300 SLR, which won at a record pace. Jenks’s report from his navigator’s seat is still the stand-out report from a century of racing coverage.

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MS June 1955 cover

November 1957

Jaguar victory at Le Mans

“Britain’s Greatest Le Mans” performance earlier in 1957 was marked by a full width cover image of the winning Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type with Ivor Bueb at the wheel. He and Ron Flockhart won at a record average speed of more than 113mph and was followed home by D-types in second, third, fourth and sixth places. A Denis Jenkinson feature highlighted the team-work involved.

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MS November 1957 cover

November 1959

Tony Brooks in 1959 Portuguese GP

A cover picture so compelling that even the green masthead was dropped. Tony Brooks may have only finished ninth in Portugal, but his Ferrari 246 Dino was a picturesque sight amid the leafy surroundings of Lisbon’s Monsanto Park. As Motor Sport said: “Where power alone counted the Ferraris were the victors, but they lacked the road-holding necessary on most circuits.”

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MS November 1959 cover

March 1983

Lancia 037 on the Monte Carlo Rally

The Lancia 037 was our cover star as the 1983 season got underway; Walter Rohrl’s Group B monster leaping precisely over the narrow roads of the Monte Carlo rally as spectators stand nonchalantly by. It’s a picture that conveys the glorious, dangerous Group B era, featuring the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship.

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MS March 1983 cover

December 1974

Evans vs Gethin

This picture doesn’t just speak 1000 words, you can practically hear the bellowing V8s at Brands Hatch in this cover image that captures the sensory overload of an F5000 start. Pictured, at the October 1974 Brands Hatch season finale, is the Lola T332 of Bob Evans as he blasts off the line alongside title rival Peter Gethin in a Chevron B28. While Evans retired, he still took the title as Gethin faded to third.

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MS December 1974 cover

September 1992

Mansell’s championship

The first British Formula 1 World Champion in nearly two decades, Nigel Mansell clinched his title at the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix, making him a shoo-in for the next Motor Sport cover. After near-misses in previous season, the exhilaration is tangible in this picture from LAT Images. Inside, we detail Mansell’s long road to becoming an F1 champion.

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MS September 1992 cover

November 2013

François Cevert

Have François Cevert’s blue eyes ever been more captivating than in Rainer Schlegelmilch’s picture from Zandvoort in 1970? It led our 40th anniversary tributes to the Frenchman, including a retrospective from Nigel Roebuck who also spoke with Sir Jackie Stewart about the dark day at Watkins Glen where his team-mate, Cevert lost his life.

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MS November 2013 cover

August 2021

Lando Norris

Lando Norris was well-established as one of the most promising drivers on the grid in 2021, when Jayson Fong took these photographs for Motor Sport at the McLaren Technology Centre. Norris gamely lay down in front of his McLaren, with his two trophies of the year so far either side. In the accompanying feature, he tells Damien Smith that he’s certain he can win with the team in future.

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MS August 2021 cover

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