Whether it’s Felipe Massa racing karts in Brazil during the off-season or Robert Kubica sampling a rally car, it’s always great to see Grand Prix drivers tackling different categories.
A pity it happens so infrequently. In the early years of the championship F1 drivers regularly entered different disciplines in between Grands Prix – sometimes even on the same weekend.
This new book chronicles Stirling Moss’s entire racing career, covering almost 600 races in F1, F3, touring cars, sports cars, rallies, time trials and more.
Best of all, the commentary on the races is supplied by Moss himself (co-written by Alan Henry). And although, by his own admission, his 80-year-old memory doesn’t serve him quite as well when it comes to recalling his earliest races, it is rich with interesting anecdotes.
He is frank and direct about his cars – and his driving – in a way modern drivers simply aren’t. Speaking of the Maserati 450S Zagato he drove in the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours he writes: “This was a genuinely bad car, though I suppose I have to take a slice of [the] responsibility.” Roughly translated into modern F1 driver-speak that would come out as “For sure we are not where we want to be but we are working very hard and the boys have done a fantastic job so we will see what happens in the next race. For sure.”
The entries are accompanied by a wealth of contemporary pictures, newspaper clippings and race programmes, building up a detailed record of Moss’s career.
The first thing that strikes you is just how much racing Grand Prix drivers did in his time. The F1 calendar may have included a dozen races or fewer, but Moss was making multiple starts almost every weekend of the season.
And his win rate was simply staggering – around 40% of the races he took part in, he won – and this was in the days when reliability was far worse than it is today.
In among the litany of great races from the Monaco Grand Prix to the Targa Florio are oddities like a publicity stunt to drive a new Jaguar non-stop at an average speed of over 100mph for a week. Yes, a whole week…
The book concludes with Moss’s career-ending crash at Goodwood in 1962. His subsequent comeback for Audi in 1979 in touring car racing are mentioned only in passing and, in truth, is best left forgotten anyway.
The £30 price tag is a bit steep, and if you already have a copy of “My cars, my career” on your shelves you might find it surplus to requirements.
But I enjoyed the format very much and would like to see it repeated with some more of F1′s great drivers.
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