The best Le Mans ever?

All right, that may be a bit too strong… So, maybe not the best ever but certainly the best in the last 10 years, then? Probably. The race had one of the most exciting beginnings ever, with lots of rain and drama. And after that, it was something or other happening all the time. Honestly, something happened every 15 minutes or so. Even so, the best part was Hypercar, hands down. Lead swaps occurred left and right, a VERY competitive race – so much better than the boring parades of the last five years. Moreover, the cars are absolutely gorgeous!

The bad part? A Ferrari won 🤣. Oh come on, it is bad – a Ferrari winning means that I’ll have to get an expensive Looksmart 😣. Yet, I’m NOT complaining – I was really dreading getting another boring white and red Toyota. And speaking of spending money, things will get expensive for the W-143 Garage: Ferrari 499P (Looksmart 🙄), Porsche 963, Peugeot 9X8, Cadillac V-Series.R, that Garage 56 Camaro, Oreca 07 #34 and the Corvette #33. And perhaps, because of the liveries, the “Dinosaur Porsche”, Nielsen Oreca 07 #14, a Glickenhaus and the Iron Dames Porsche. Oh yeah, the 2023 24 Heures du Mans will definitively be expensive.

Even so, all in all, and as expected, it was a FANTASTIC race! 🏆🏆🏆

Books – So-Cal hot rods

“So-Cal Speed Shop” – Mark Christensen

After World War II, many returning American servicemen turned their eyes onto motorsports. One such person was Alex Xydias, an ex-B-17 airman. Xydias opened his shop in 1946, in Burbank, California, initially selling parts for car owners to boost the performance of their race cars. With these cars achieving good results and breaking a few records mostly on the salt flats, the So-Cal brand became a trusted name among the land speed record community.

Christensen tells the story of how the So-Cal Speed Shop moved on from a small car parts shop to one of the most famous hot-rod brands. The book is a hardcover, and it’s chock-full of high quality photos, though most black & white. Unfortunately out of print, though you can find a used copy on Amazon. An easy and very interesting read, I’m sure it will appeal to the gearhead in general.

Onboard race footage with Fangio

A few years ago, I posted the link to a short video showing footage of Fangio testing a Maserati 250F in 1957 at Modena. The video is really cool, showing El Chueco deftly handling that beautiful car. I’m bringing up this again because yesterday I found out how they made that footage. When I first saw that video I assumed that the camera had been fixed to the rear of the car, and remotely triggered by Fangio himself. However, I was mistaken, and as you can see above, it was not shot using a GoPro either 😂. Well, I therefor conclude that if pilots at that time had balls of steel, cameramen had balls of adamantium. Even though it was Fangio at the wheel, holy cow! 😲😲😲

Donohue & Penske Documentary

Written by Brock Yates, I think “Four Hands on The Wheel” came out in 1970. The film is a 47 minutes look into the partnership between Mark Donohue and Roger Penske. Fantastic to see Penske’s blue and yellow Sunoco cars of the late 60s, from Camaros to Lolas. In other words, a must see for gearheads fans of vintage racing.

Books – Against Death and Time

“Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing’s Glory Years” – Brock Yates

Originally published in 2004, I got this book around 2006 or 2007. It was a gift from my friend Jeff, a fellow moderator at DiecastXchange, at the time the biggest 1:18 diecast forum on the web. Back then I was an avid 1:18 collector, trying to build a focused collection 🙄. I wanted to stick to Le Mans and Silberpfeile, and just a few road cars, yet in 1:18 those themes were scarce. And books like this didn’t help either. Brock Yates tells a great story about the 1955 Indy 500, and Bill Vukovich’s tragic accident. He also talks about the 1955 Le Mans tragedy and the aftermath. For both cases, it was VERY interesting to see how much a pilot’s safety (and life) was important. Or better said, how little that mattered. He also writes about the death of James Dean, in the last part of the book. However, being honest, that part was subpar compared to the rest. Being blunt, he could have stopped at Le Mans.

Even so, all in all a good book. To the point that I branched my 1:18 collection into vintage Indy racecars 😣. Despite the James Dean part, it’s a very good book. However, I looked it up at Amazon and it’s out of print. If you get a chance to get one, even if you’re not into Indy, it’s a good way to understand a little how racing was done in the 50s. Oh, Brock Yates also wrote “Enzo Ferrari: The Man and The Machine”.