“Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory At Le Mans” by A.J. Baime
Auto Racing, business, endurance
January 1, 2009
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
The race known has the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most famous, testing the endurance of drivers, pit crews and cars alike. It was a very dangerous race, as it was once called “a four hour sprint races followed by a 20 hour death watch” by Car and Driver magazine. However, winning the race was also very prestigious for everyone involved. Two car makers waged an epic war in the 1960’s for this glory, Ford and Ferrari, and the battle is captured in this excellent book by A.J. Baime.
The book covers everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about what the two owners, Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II, did in order to ensure their cars were the best at the race. Ferrari cars had a head start, as in the mid-1960’s, they were the kings of Formula 1 and European racing, and Ford had some catching up to do. At first, it appeared to have a deal to work together on racing cars, but when that fell through, a bitter rivalry ensued.
While their business rivalry is well-documented, Baime writes about every aspect of the racing teams and what they did for their respective areas. Drivers such as Phil Hill, John Surtees, Carroll Shelby (who was also a designer), Bruce McLaren and Mario Andretti are all a part of the story. The scenes in the garage and the pits, starting from 1957 and Phil Hill driving for the Ferrari team up until 1966 when Ford finally won its first race, are described wonderfully as race fans of all interest levels will feel like they are either fueling the cars or speeding down the Mulsanne Straight at over 200 miles per hour.
Baime is a well-respected writer on auto racing and his research and writing for this book is superb. It is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the sport or in the Le Mans race.
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