Book Review: 'Sports Car Racing In Camera 1970-79'



“The crowded start of the Spa-Francorchamps 1000Km, and already Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodriguez, in their 917s with the larger 4.9-litre engines, are giving no ground.” Yes, there’s plenty of this in Paul Parker’s latest book of mainly unpublished period colour photography.

We reviewed Parker’s other work in the series, covering the previous decade of World Championship two-seater action, last year. It received an unqualified thumbs-up. I can’t be quite so enthusiastic this time, perhaps due to the many influences (political tinkering with regulations, the fuel crisis, and Ferrari’s concentration on F1 to name but three) which contributed to the sport's decline as soon as JW Automotive returned the 917s to Porsche and brought out its own 3-litre Mirage DFV.

However, working with the material in hand, the author does another good job. Each year has a foreword outlining rule changes and significant developments, with each race then described in short paragraphs alongside the appropriate photographs. There’s an annual synopsis, too, of teams, drivers and results.

I love the accompanying photograph to Alain de Cadenet’s foreword. It’s a nicely set scene of the amateur racing driver with his 1977 Tate & Lyle-sponsored Le Mans entry in Queens’ Gate Place Mews (probably just outside the premises now occupied by Classic Driver dealer Fiskens).

Next up, facing the author’s introduction, is a garage tableau from Le Mans 1970. Two Gulf mechanics are working – in conditions that wouldn’t be out of place in a Guatemalan bus garage – underneath a powder-blue 917, the most advanced sports car the world had seen.

Priceless.

There’s the odd error - BMW would be mortified to think the early introduction of its iconic ‘M’ pink/turquoise/blue colours was confused with that of the Martini drinks company - but, all-in-all, it's another good one.

The book (hardback, 280 x 230mm, 240 pages, 280 colour illustrations, ISBN: 9781844254712) is available by mail order direct from the publishers HERE at £30.00 plus carriage.

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Haynes - Strictly Copyright


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