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Off Topic: When racecar engineering is a puzzle to be solved

(Or some of the very best motorsport books I've ever read.)

"Those who can, do," motorsport's most famous enthusiast Murray Walker used to say of his vocation in typically modest fashion, "those who can't, talk about it." Taking that adage further still, some of us are just happy to read about it, and ever since I fell in love with cars driving in circles fast I've read everything I could lay my hands on on the sport and those who pursue it. In parallel with my love of video games, enabled and enhanced by the words and articles of fellow fans in magazines or even on sites such as this, reading about motorsport and the fascinating stories surrounding it can be just as rewarding as heading to a race track itself.

Some books are better than others, and there are the staple reads I'm sure anyone with a passing interest in motorsport will have read already: AJ Baime's Go Like Hell, for instance, chronicling the war between Ford and Ferrari that was played out on the likes of Daytona and Le Mans in the 60s, or Michael Cannell's The Limit which so vividly paints a human portrait of motorsport's most brutal era.

There are recent masterpieces like Adrian Newey's How to Build a Car (something that does the unthinkable and makes Red Bull Racing, self-appointed villains of F1's new Drive to Survive reality TV era, actually quite likeable), underlining Newey's place in a lineage alongside the likes of Colin Chapman and Enzo Ferrari as one of the sport's all-time greats. Or if you want to read about some of those older legends there's fare like Brock Yates' Enzo Ferrari: The Man and Machine, if you want to find out more about Il Commendatore before it gets the Hollywood treatment via Michael Mann next year.

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Martin Robinson avatar
Martin Robinson: Martin worked at Eurogamer from 2011 to 2023. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.