Tag Archives: Book Review

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The Spa 24 Hours A History

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A new book has just been published, The Spa 24 Hours A History. Its author is David Blumlein, a regular on this website and an automotive historian of note. The subject matter is a comprehensive review of one of the world’s greatest endurance motor races, the Spa 24 Hours. It is the first such history written in English.

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This year marked the 90th anniversary of the classic race and the book traces the events down the decades and illustrates the changes that the Spa-Francorchamps has gone through from the earliest days.

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The chapters are arranged in a logical fashion to cover the races that were run to common regulations as the event has changed from Le Mans-type sports cars to Touring Car and now to GTs.

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Each chapter is enhanced by a selection of “Further Facts” which give detailed background information that might otherwise be missed. Similarly the photography seeks to show the more unusual aspects of the race such as the Ferrari Mondial of Keke Rosberg in 1989.

One of the successful Škodas at Eau Rouge in 1948. (Chpt 6)

There is a comprehensive set of Appendices detailing such subjects as those who lost their lives at the race, a profile of some of the more important Belgian drivers and, of course, the results. The author is candid about the conflicting records on the lower placed finishers and has attempted to use the most reliable sources.

Moskvitches lined up before the start in 1971 (Results)

There are forewords from François Cornélis (President of the RACB), Stéphane Ratel (CEO of SRO Motorsports Group) and Belgian drivers Pierre Dieudonné and Eric van de Poele who have eight victories in this great race between them.

Here is the Peugeot 806 People-Carrier!

There can be very little left to be discovered about the Spa 24 Hours that is not covered somewhere in this book.

2004 Spa 24 Hours

I must disclose a personal connection as I have supplied some of the photos used including the one above of Lilian Bryner at dawn on her way to victory in 2004 driving the BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello.

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Furthermore I assisted David in this enterprise in a capacity of Project Manager, so it would be fair to say that I am not objective about the book.

A view of the daunting Burnenville section on the old circuit. (Chpt?)

When David and I set out on this journey it was agreed between us that we should strive to produce something that we could be proud about and in my opinion we have done just that. It is a good read and will be a valuable reference work in the years to come.

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The design is clean and elegant, just what you would expect from Marcus Potts. There are many others who given significant assistance along the way and when you buy the book you will read of them.

The Publisher is Transport Bookman Limited and the book can be found at the link below.

Chaters Motoring Booksellers

26 Murrell Green Business Park,

Hook, Hampshire
RG27 9GR 

UK

T: +44 (0)1256 765 443
F: +44 (0)1256 767 992

E: books@chaters.co.uk

Price £39.99 or €52 plus postage

 

John Brooks, December 2014

 

911 Heaven

OK, before we get started I have a financial interest in this book. Showing rare taste and perspicacity the authors of this fine tome bought (and paid for!) some images from me. Of course the really good stuff comes from elsewhere but I am very pleased to be part of this book.

So my interests disclosed, I can now talk about this new volume. OK, the first question is do we need another Porsche history, another 911 book? Surprisingly the answer after reading this book is yes.

The authors, Michael Keyser and Bill Oursler (who also contributes on DDC) are Porsche experts of long standing. Michael raced a 911 with great success during the 70’s including a win at the Sebring 12 Hours. To most of the sportscar fans these days he is best known for his book “A French Kiss With Death”, the definitive story of Steve McQueen and his film “Le Mans”.

Bill Oursler is, well he is Bill. Anyone who has been receiving end one of his long phone calls knows about the passion, deep knowledge and understanding of all things Porsche. I doubt if he can even recall the number of books, let alone articles that he written over the past 40 years.

As to the subject matter, the competition history of the Porsche 911 in all its mutations and evolutions give a very broad canvas on which to paint a compelling picture.

Engraved Slip Case

 

The first thing that strikes you when you pick up the book is the quality of the production that oouzes out. The engraved slip case is typical of the high standards of reproduction that match the quality of the content.

Barth & Singer

 

The Forewords are written by two figures who have been central to the story of the 911 in competition, Jürgen Barth and Norbert Singer. This is supplemented by the story of Michael and his relationship with the Porsche 911, from 1966 to the present day.

Boost Control

 

The content follows on in a chronological order. I especially enjoyed the sections dealing with the early years. The opening double page spread showing Eberhard Mahle completely sideways on the Rossfield Hillclimb back in 1966 makes you imagine that you can hear the throttle, full on, no lifting. Another favourite is the chapter on the customer developments of the 935, which grew more radical with the evolutions of the “Moby Dick” concept.

Four Wheel Drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 959 programme is also covered with the various developments both on and off road as are the GT1 projects.

Wallpaper

The final chapters look at the recent 911 GT3-R Hybrid and another of my favourite pieces, 911 In Posters that are extremely evocative.

So if you are a 911 nut, this book is for you. Well written, well illustrated and well produced it has a place on any Porsche bookshelf.

Only 2,250 copies have been printed, so get your order in soon.

HERE

John Brooks, October 2011

Corvette Racing The GT1 Years

Buy This Book!

Since bursting on to the endurance scene in 1999, the Pratt & Miller built Chevrolet Corvettes have been an integral part of GT Racing both in North America and Europe. They have seen off challenges from ORECA Vipers and ProDrive’s 550 Maranello and DBR9 projects to earn the title of GT1 World Champions. The only car that might have contested this situation was the Maserati MC12, however as the Italian was ineligible to compete at Le Mans (too wide) the Heavyweight title fight never took place.

To back up the achievements of the factory, the C5R and C6R were also campaigned with great success by private teams winning several titles and 24 hour races.

The end of the line for the factory cars came at Le Mans in 2009 but the customer cars can still compete till their homologation runs out at the end of this year. So they still rumble on the FIA GT1 World Championship.

Time perhaps to reflect and celebrate the achievements of this American Iconic Racer.

Hold the Back Page

Step forward Nigel S Dobbie who is the author of this mighty tome “Corvette Racing The GT1 Years”

333 pages sounds a lot and yet considering just how much information there is contained between the covers, the book could be twice as thick. The story of the programme is traced year by year with commentary on each of the significant races that the Corvettes took part in . There are whole chapters dedicated to profiling the factory drivers, comparing the various liveries, tabling the results and recording the history of each chassis. I cannot imagine that there is a question about the Corvette GT1 projects that is not answered somewhere in this book. It is surely the standard reference book on the GT1 Corvette and is a work of considerable scholarship.

Oooh Look at the pictures………….

OK, time to declare my interest.

Nigel showed great wisdom and taste in contacting me to supply images from the early years. I was lucky enough to be at the first public test during the run up to the Daytona 24 Hours in 1999 and pounded the ALMS beat for the first few years. So perhaps there was some logic to that. However the majority of the photography in this well illustrated book is that of the author and it is of a highly professional standard.

In conclusion, if GT1 Racing or Corvettes floats your boat, you will want to buy this book. At £59.99 it is not cheap but for what you actually get it represents extremely good value.

Nigel has set up a website HERE where you can see other reviews and more importantly order a copy.

Go on you know you want to.

John Brooks, January 2011