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20 Best Books About Racing: Motor Sports

Best Books About Racing: Motorsport, motorsports, or motorsport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive sporting events which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition.

Best Books About Racing

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans by A. J. Baime

The epic story also told in the film FORD V. FERRARI: By the early 1960s, the Ford Motor Company, built to bring automobile transportation to the masses, was falling behind. Young Henry Ford II, who had taken the reins of his grandfather’s company with little business experience to speak of, knew he had to do something to shake things up. Baby boomers were taking to the road in droves, looking for speed not safety, style not comfort. Meanwhile, Enzo Ferrari, whose cars epitomized style, lorded it over the European racing scene. He crafted beautiful sports cars, “science fiction on wheels,” but was also called “the Assassin” because so many drivers perished while racing them.

Go Like Hell tells the remarkable story of how Henry Ford II, with the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned engineer, Carroll Shelby, concocted a scheme to reinvent the Ford company. They would enter the high-stakes world of European car racing, where an adventurous few threw safety and sanity to the wind. They would design, build, and race a car that could beat Ferrari at his own game at the most prestigious and brutal race in the world, something no American car had ever done.

Racer by John Andretti, Jade Gurss

John Andrettis life was driven by family and fueled by a passion for racing. In Racer, Andretti candidly recounts how these powerful forces shaped a diverse professional driving career. The honesty and character that defined Andrettis life offer a behind-the-scenes look at racing at all levels full of lessons in racing and life supplied by this fiery and fiercely competitive driver. John is a wonderful storyteller, and the book is comprised of a series of Johns stories as told to bestselling author Jade Gurss (Beast, In the Red, Driver #8). The book opens with Johns memories of growing up as a member of auto racings famous family. His father, Aldo, is the twin brother of Mario Andretti. The book offers an intimate look at the interplay between these two men, and how their intensity and integrity shaped Johns life. John was one of the worlds most versatile race car drivers, and Racer includes Johns remembrances of scoring wins in the NASCAR Cup series, IndyCar, IMSA sports car racing, and in sprint cars and midgets on dirt ovals across the country. 

Ayrton Senna (Little People, BIG DREAMS, 49) Part of: Little People, Big Dreams

From the moment his father gave four-year-old Ayrton Senna a go-kart, he was in love with racing. Showing promise from an early age, Ayrton would go on to take the Formula One world by storm, winning championship after championship and becoming one of the greatest drivers in the sport’s history. Off the track, he championed education for the underprivileged in Brazil, his home country. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the superstar driver’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

My Greatest Defeat: Stories of hardship and hope from motor racing's finest heroes by Will Buxton

My Greatest Defeat is a collection of honest and revealing insights into 20 of the greatest living racing drivers, legends of the worlds of Formula 1, Indycar, NASCAR, Le Mans and Rally. Interviews conducted specially for this book are with (in alphabetical order) Mario Andretti, Derek Bell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Jeff Gordon, Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill, Jimmie Johnson, Tom Kristensen, Niki Lauda, Sebastien Loeb, Felipe Massa, Rick Mears, Emanuele Pirro, Alain Prost, Carlos Sainz, Jackie Stewart, Bobby Unser, Ari Vatanen and Alex Zanardi. Here are five highlights…

  • Dario Franchitti — The Indycar champion talks of the deaths of the friends that book-ended his career in racing, the heartbreak that each caused and the aftermath of accidents that affected the physical functioning of his brain.
  • Jeff Gordon — One of the all-time NASCAR greats, he looks back on his many championships, admitting that today he cannot view a single one with anything but regret as family relationships were soured and stretched to breaking point.
  • Jimmie Johnson — One of the greatest stock car drivers in history, Johnson was at one time considered a reckless outcast. He reflects on the little-known crash that almost killed him and changed his mindset forever.
  • Niki Lauda — A racer who needs no introduction, Niki Lauda discusses the loss of one of his aircraft over Thailand in which all on board were killed; for eight months he fought to clear the name of his pilots and change aircraft safety forever.
  • Alex Zanardi — In a deep and revealing conversation, the Paralympic gold medalist, who lost both legs in an Indycar accident, discusses how we decipher between our passion and our ambition and how childhood dreams affect our adult decisions.

Ultimate Speed Secrets: The Complete Guide to High-Performance and Race Driving

Professional race driver and coach Ross Bentley has raced everything from Indycars to World Sports Cars to production sedans, on ovals, road courses, and street circuits around the world. His proven high-performance driving techniques benefit novice drivers as well as professional racers. Ultimate Speed Secrets covers everything you need to know to maximize your potential and your car:

  • Choosing the correct line
  • Overtaking maneuvers
  • Adapting to new tracks and cars
  • The mental game and dealing with adversity
  • Finding (and keeping) a sponsor.

The pages are filled with specially commissioned color diagrams to illustrate the concepts described.

Whether you are a track-day novice or a seasoned professionalUltimate Speed Secrets will arm you with practical information to lower your lap times and help you get the best out of your vehicle—and yourself. It’s the ultimate high-performance driving tutorial!

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Racing Mustangs: An International Photographic History 1964-1986 (Made in America) by Steve Holmes

Virtually from the moment of its launch in April 1964, the Ford Mustang has been a favorite among road racers. From the Tour de France, to production sports car racing, the SCCA Trans-Am series, regional and national A/Sedan competitions, and international and domestic sedan championships in Great Britain, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, the Mustang has enjoyed a following like few other models.

Racing Mustangs is a photographic celebration of road racing Mustangs throughout the world. It focuses on production-based cars, rather than the heavily modified tube-frame silhouette machines that began appearing in the late 1970s. Included are images of big-budget factory-supported cars competing in the Trans-Am series, right through to low-buck independents, and cars competing throughout the world.

Racers: How an Outcast Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Challenged Hitler's Best by Neal Bascomb, Jon Lindstr

The heart-pounding story of an unlikely band of ragtags who took on Hitler’s Grand Prix driver.  

In the years before World War II, Adolf Hitler wanted to prove the greatness of the Third Reich in everything from track and field to motorsports. The Nazis poured money into the development of new race cars, and Mercedes-Benz came out with a stable of supercharged automobiles called Silver Arrows. Their drivers dominated the sensational world of European Grand Prix racing and saluted Hitler on their many returns home with victory. 

As the Third Reich stripped Jews of their rights and began their march toward war, one driver, René Dreyfus, a Frenchman of Jewish heritage who had enjoyed some early successes on the racing circuit, was barred from driving on any German or Italian race teams, which fielded the best in class, due to the rise of Hitler and Benito Mussolini. So it was that in 1937, Lucy Schell, an American heiress and top Monte Carlo Rally driver, needed a racer for a new team she was creating to take on Germany’s Silver Arrows. Sensing untapped potential in Dreyfus, she funded the development of a nimble tiger of a new car built by a little-known French manufacturer called Delahaye. As the nations of Europe marched ever closer to war, Schell and Dreyfus faced down Hitler’s top drivers, and the world held its breath in anticipation, waiting to see who would triumph.

Formula One: The Pursuit of Speed: A Photographic Celebration of F1's Greatest Moments by Maurice Hamilton, Paul-Henri Cahier

From the charismatic rivalries of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss and the highly competitive Championship battles of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, through to the historic tales of Monaco’s winding course and the atmospheric crowds of Monza, the adrenaline-fueled, high-octane world of Formula One has created some of the greatest moments in sporting history. With over 300 photographs – from the 1950s to the present day and many previously unpublished – this stunning book is the ultimate celebration of Formula One. Chronicling both the changing face of the teams and their cars, from Lotus and Cooper to Williams and Ferrari, and of course the legendary drivers who have pushed their machines and themselves to the limits, these incredible photographs are from the archive of   Bernard Cahier and his son, Paul- Henri who have been trackside capturing the drama of the Formula One Championships since the 1950s. Brought to life by Formula One correspondent Maurice Hamilton, they tell the story behind the infamous circuits that have played host to intense rivalries which have produced moments of tragedy and triumph that read like a film script. This new updated version includes photographs from Rosberg’s winning and retiring year, and new images for US and French Grands Prix. 

Racing to the Finish: My Story by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It was a seemingly minor crash at Michigan International Speedway in June 2016 that ended the day early for Dale Earnhardt Jr. What he didn’t know was that it would also end his driving for the year. He’d dealt with concussions before, but concussions are like snowflakes, no two are the same. And recovery can be brutal, and lengthy.

When NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from professional stock car racing in 2017, he walked away from his career as a healthy man. But for years, he had worried that the worsening effects of multiple racing-related concussions would end not only his time on the track but his ability to live a full and happy life.

Torn between a race-at-all-costs culture and the fear that something was terribly wrong, Earnhardt tried to pretend that everything was fine, but the private notes about his escalating symptoms that he kept on his phone reveal a vicious cycle: suffering injuries on Sunday, struggling through the week, then recovering in time to race again the following weekend. For the first time, he shares these notes and fully reveals the physical and emotional struggles he faced as he fought to close out his career on his own terms.

Collecting Drag Racing Model Kits by Tim Boyd

Relive the golden age of drag racing through this exhaustive volume covering the best drag racing model kits of the era.

Model expert Tim Boyd, author of Collecting Muscle Car Model Kits, turned his attention to the fantastic drag racing model kits available from the late 1950s through today. Some racing model kits were actually 3 in 1 kits, where the builder assembled the drag-race version of the car in lieu of the street or custom version. Boyd starts by covering the options, collectability, variety, availability, and value of these wonderful kits and then concentrates on the highly detailed drag racing-only kits that became available starting in the mid-1960s through today. He also shows the differences between original kits, older reproduction kits, and new reproduction kits that many enthusiasts find at swap meets and through online sources today.

Many of these great kits were from the 1960s, an era when building model kits was a widely popular, serious hobby, similar to video games today. Not only was it fun to build the kits but it was also a great way to learn about all the different race classes and categories because there wasn’t regular TV or online coverage during that era. The artwork on those kits was fantastic, and many collectors today seek original kits largely because of it.

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How to Drive: Real World Instruction and Advice from Hollywood's Top Driver by Ben Collins

Here’s the ultimate guide to being the best—and safest—driver possible. And an absolute must for everyone with a learner’s permit. Former Top Gear Stig and professional driver Ben Collins shares expert skills culled from a twenty year career as one of the best drivers in the world, famous for racing in the Le Mans series and NASCAR, piloting the Batmobile, and dodging bullets with James Bond. Refined over thousands of hours of elite-level performance in the physics of driving, his philosophy results in greater control and safer, more efficient and fun driving for all skill levels.

Modified Stock Car Racing of the '60s and '70s: An Illustrated History Featuring the Drivers, Cars, and Tracks of the No (A Photo Gallery) by Steve Kennedy

Never before has a national publication featured a collection of photos of the Northeast’s favorite stock car racing’s division – the modifieds. The author brings together photos and text of the region’s best-loved drivers and their cars, as well as the “also-rans,” during the ‘60s and ‘70s when modifieds were built in backyards by local mechanics utilizing junkyard parts, no two cars looked alike, and there were so many tracks to race at. See them now as they were!

Chrysler's Motown Missile: Mopar's Secret Engineering Program at the Dawn of Pro Stock by Geoff Stunkard

Relive Mopar’s skunkworks racing team and its rise to dominance in this fascinating history!

The drama of 1970s Chrysler Pro Stock drag racing unfolds in this new book, which focuses on the racing and technological evolution of the legendary Motown Missile and Mopar Missile racing programs from 1970 to 1977. Unequaled by any other drag racing development program, this was a huge undertaking in term of time, money, and effort.

The 1970s saw great change in Detroit and in auto racing, with Pro Stock being a huge draw for fans. Chrysler racing historian and author Geoff Stunkard presents a chronological recollection, drawing from many interviews and summaries of the actual technical efforts that the factory accomplished and includes both rare/unpublished technical and personal images from the team members and some of the most dramatic images taken by the sport’s best photographers.

Learn How To Master The Art Of Kart Driving: Command your kart, dominate your opponents and grow your self-confidence with advanced driving techniques and winning strategies used by the pros. by Terence Dove

Terence Dove Spills the Beans on Driving a Racing Kart at the Elite Level.
Learn how to command your kart, dominate your opponents and grow your self-confidence with advanced techniques and winning strategies used by the pros. Discover the secrets Terence has learned from working with World Champions, European Champions and British Champions on how to take a racing kart to the absolute limit.

  • Build your confidence to champion levels
  • Develop your own powerfully effective driving style
  • Brake right on the limit
  • Race like a driver in total command
  • Use your eyes like a guided weapon system.
  • Master wet driving
  • Nail your starts time and again
  • Apply secret techniques to find more speed

Learn from a master of karting technique with 15 years of coaching experience how you can become a formidable kart pilot. Includes step-by-step instructions on developing the most essential driving techniques that Terence uses to help his clients reach their maximum potential.

Drag Racing in the 1960s: The Evolution In Race Car Technology by Doug Boyce

The 1960s were a fascinating decade on the race scene. Relive the memories today through this wonderful new book.

Drag racing has a long and storied history. Many have said that the first drag race happened shortly after the second car was made. While that may or may not be true, racing prior to World War II was mostly centered around dry-lake activities and top-speed runs. After the war, drag racing became organized with the forming of the NHRA, and during the 1950s, many tracks were built across America to accommodate the racers. Technology in the 1950s centered on the manufacturers updating old flathead designs into newer overhead-valve designs, and the horsepower race really started to heat up.

As with many forms of racing, the 1960s brought a technological evolution. The decade began with big engines in even bigger stock chassis and ended with purpose-built race-only chassis, fiberglass bodies, fuel injection, nitro methane, and blowers. Quarter-mile times that were in the 13-second range in the beginning of the decade were in the 7-second range by the end. New classes were formed, dedicated cars were built for them, and many racers themselves became recognized names in the sports landscape.

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The Fastest Show on Earth: The Mammoth Book of Formula One by Chicane

In the quest for ultimate speed, Formula One combines human drama, cutting-edge technological innovation and high-stakes finance in a thrilling global circus watched by half a billion avid fans.

The Fastest Show on Earth brings the FIA Formula One World Championship vividly to life for everyone from first-time race-goers to avid fans wanting to delve even further into the Fastest Show on Earth. Experts from within the industry share their insights into the effect that recent revolutionary changes to regulations have had on engines, tyres, brakes, aerodynamics, fuel, safety and the use of data in a whole new era of racing. Races, rule changes and drivers are brought up to date in a comprehensive guide to the world’s most viewed sport.

This book is a superb technical guide, including circuit diagrams, team histories, driver profiles and a comprehensive glossary that offers fascinating insights into the inner workings of a world that offers everything from tragedy to thrilling triumph.

From the cut-throat intrigue of the Piranha Club to the unsung heroism of pit lane, every aspect of Formula One is covered in compelling detail.

Much more than just a sport and far more than 

A Man & His Car: Iconic Cars and Stories from the Men Who Love Them by Matt Hranek

Discover actor and director Ed Burns talking about his 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, a model he’d been dreaming about since his days pumping gas. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, whose favorite cars are trucks—he loves the wow factor of an International CV Series 6.6. Or Jay Leno on his 1955 Buick Roadmaster, big enough for him to sleep in while trying to make it as a comic. Filled with stunning photographs of the whole cars and of the exquisite details that make car lovers’ hearts beat just a little faster, as well as more than 80 personal stories, it’s a joy for every reader who knows that a car is never just a car.

Drag Racing's Warren "The Professor" Johnson: The Cars, People & Wins Behind His Pro Stock Success by Kelly Wade

Go behind the scenes for a look at Warren Johnson’s path to becoming The Professor of Pro Stock.

This new book illuminates the life and career of one of the most prolific engine builders and racers ever to compete in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock category, drag racing’s most technologically advanced class.

Warren Johnson navigated the world of factory hot rods for more than 45 years, devoting himself to full-time racing in 1975 and relentlessly pursuing horsepower and victory from the driver’s seat and the engine room. Johnson’s devotion to research and development opened the door to a long-standing relationship with Oldsmobile and GM Performance, beginning with the birth of the Drag Racing Competition Engine (DRCE) that is still used by every competitive team in the class.

He excelled when it came to outthinking the competition and was outspoken on matters that he deemed vital. Johnson embraced thinking outside the box and pushed boundaries to affect change in terms of both safety and the advancement of the class, but he also knew when it was appropriate and necessary to put on a good show for the fans.

The Cars of Trans-Am Racing: 1966-1972 by David Tom

This softcover edition of The Cars of Trans-Am Racing is unique in that it focuses on the cars used in this legendary series. These vintage Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, Barracudas, Firebirds, Cougars, and Javelins all are extremely popular with collectors and enthusiasts today. Seeing them in their “full-competition” versions when they were new will bring back many fond memories for those who were fans of this series. In addition, enthusiasts who enjoy these cars today look to the Trans-Am Series cars for styling inspiration and performance hints as part of the growing Pro Touring trend.

Many of these historic cars have been restored to race-ready condition. Additional insight and interviews from the original builders and the teams that maintained the cars provide an insider’s viewpoint never before seen in print.

The Art of the Racing Motorcycle: 100 Years of Designing for Speed by Phillip Tooth and Jean-Pierre Praderes

A lavishly illustrated and definitive look at the design evolution of the racing motorcycle. The dynamic between competition and design has always fueled the evolution of racing motorcycles and inspired astonishing feats of design and engineering. This book traces the development of the sport bike, from the earliest French motorcycles to the dominance of British machinery in the 1930s, the exotic Italian motorcycles of the 1950s and 1960s, the influence of American racing in the 1970s and 1980s, and today’s Japanese superbikes. More than fifty classic motorcycles—from Harley-Davidsons to Peugeots, Velocettes, Moto Guzzis, BMWs, Kawasakis, and Ducatis—are presented chronologically illustrated with stunning studio photographs that present the machines as works of art and wonders of design in themselves, accompanied by rare and beautiful archival images that place the subjects in the contexts of classic races, rallies, and motorcycle shows, and accompanied by essays revealing the legends behind the machines. Some of the championship motorcycles featured include the 1902 Manon, the 1922 Harley Davidson 8-valve, the 1935 Terrot 500, the 1948 AJS Porcupine, the 1954 Moto Guzzi V8, the 1965 Honda GP 250, The 1976 Suzuki RK67, the 1986 Cagiva GP, and the 1990 Ducati Supermono.

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