NART, A concise history of the North American Racing Team 1957 to 1983
36847 04787 0
I enjoyed this work by Terry O’Neill, but not as much as I’d hoped to enjoy it. I’d question whether a £60 book can be called a ‘concise history’. For that money, I’d expect a really detailed history.
There are some interesting details, but I was left wishing for more. The time period creates problems: how many of NART’s drivers are left? But although the likes of Sam Posey do provide some fascinating quotes, I’m sure more could have been elicited from the surviving wealth of talent who drove Luigi Chinetti’s cars.
What about Dan Gurney, for example? And what about some sidebar material to explain a little about the careers of those who drove for NART?
Then there’s the biggest omission in my view: no input from Chinetti Junior. There are some mildly interesting figures here, for the sums that pro drivers were paid for driving for NART, but so what?
Chinetti Sr’s dispute with the ACO, in 1975, is dealt with in some depth (not concise at all) – but when I turned to 1970, all of a sudden NART was racing probably the most significant car in its history, the 512S, but with no explanation as to how or why, or what the team expected to achieve.
The team’s overall win at Le Mans, in 1965, is dealt with in some depth, but again, I was left wishing for more. The author makes quite a lot of the fact that Ed Hugus did drive the winning Ferrari, early on Sunday morning (Masten Gregory was having eyesight trouble in the darkness) but that fact had previously been covered by Janos Wimpffen, in Time and Two Seats. I asked Janos how he knew that Hugus had driven the car: “He told me before he died,” came the reply.
Jochen Rindt was ‘determined to drive the 250LM to the limit, then if the car broke he could leave early’, writes the author, perhaps understating what really happened. I was always under the impression that Rindt and Gregory thrashed the thing mercilessly, fully expecting to retire it in a cloud of smoke. They became the most unlikely winners of the 24 Hours, the last to do so in a Ferrari.
The text is well supported photographically, but I was left wanting a little more (for £60).