If you tried to sell a screenplay about a Grand Prix racing driver who turned into a spy for the British government during World War Two, you might expect to be told that your imagination had run away with you.
But that is exactly what became of “W Williams” – the driver who won the first ever Monaco Grand Prix in 1929.
Any driver who tackled the beasts that were pre-war Grand Prix machinery were by definition exceptionally brave. Willy Grover was no exception – but he used that bravery to serve a higher purpose when war broke out a few years later.
Originally a chauffeur, Grover became a racer for Ettore Bugatti’s team. He retired from the sport years before the onset of war.
He later joined the Special Operations Executive and spearheaded a resistance movement based in Paris, to sabotage the German occupation forces.
“The Grand Prix Saboteurs” is the product of 18 years research by Joe Saward, former editor of Autosport and the man behind Grandprix.com. Impeccably detailed and imaginatively told, the plot develops at a rapid pace set within an illuminating historical context.
The astonishing tale has taken time to come to light because of the hitherto paucity of material about secret service operations during the war. Denial of the existence of the SOE was maintained for a long time.
Now the truth has come to light and Saward has more than done justice to the endeavours of Williams and ally Robert Benoist (another former driver) in this exceptional work. Don’t miss it.