Woman reading a book
Motorsport

On Your (Book)Marks: Top Reads For Motoring Fans

Need to scratch your motoring itch when the races are over – read a great book about cars.

By Shell on Oct. 13, 2020

Here are five must-reads (in no particular order) offering a mix of history, great names, industry gossip, technical appreciation and good old-fashioned car perving. Let the arguments begin!

1. Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile – DK Publishing

Summing up the automobile’s 130-odd year history and evolution in a single book is a tough task, but this lavishly presented page-turner goes close, delving into more than 2,000 cars from every era with stunning photography, technical illustrations and stories of their cultural impact and the people behind them.

2. Winning is Not Enough – Sir Jackie Stewart

There are loads of racing-driver autobiographies kicking around, but if you’re going to read just one it’s hard to go past this thrilling tome from Scottish Formula 1 revolutionary Sir Jackie Stewart, who succeeded in and survived one of the most romantic and dangerous eras of the sport, the 1960s and ’70s.

3. Car Guys v Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business – Bob Lutz

Want to learn about the deepest, darkest corners of the car business? Then this ruthlessly honest book from Bob Lutz – a serial car-company CEO in his day, and a man behind many great cars – is a must-read, detailing his time at General Motors and the corporate forces that led to its decline.

4. How to Build a Car – Adrian Newey

This memoir from racing-car designer, engineer and aerodynamicist Adrian Newey is a tad workmanlike when it comes to life details. But when he starts talking about the technical concepts of the cars he’s designed you really get a handle on the outside-the-box intellect responsible for more F1 world championship-winning cars than anyone else in the last 30 years.

5. My Greatest Defeat – Will Buxton

Glory tends to get all the attention in sport. This book, contrastingly, explores the toughest challenges of 20 top-line racing drivers, including Mika Häkkinen, Sebastien Loeb and the late Niki Lauda. Fascinatingly, it’s not just about when things went wrong on the track – many of the stories cover different facets of their lives and are intensely personal. 

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