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Le Mans: The Official History 1930–39

Officially licensed with the ACO, the organisers of the annual Le Mans 24 Hours race, this lavishly illustrated book is the seventh title in this decade-by-decade series. The series covers what has become the most important and celebrated endurance race on the international motorsport calendar, from its very beginning to the end of 20th century.

This particular title covers the nine races held in the 1930s, with no race being held in 1936, and overall honours during this time were shared between Italian, French and British motor manufacturers.
Having covered this great event myself for a number of years, it is so interesting to see how it used to be done in the decades gone by. Granted, this was the dawn of the sport of motoring, and you cannot but be awestruck at the lack of apparent safety measures with the wreckage of overturned cars, burnt out chassis and the like, left by the side of the track as the other competitors fly past.

This era also witnessed several early attempts at aerodynamics and while some manufacturers still held to the traditional vertical, flat radiator grilles, others experimented with streamlined bodies and fairings. The decade of the 1930s also saw the big manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Bentley, Aston Martin, Talbot, Delahaye, Peugeot and others rise to the opportunity of showing their prowess to the masses. 1930 saw Bentley secure its fourth consecutive victory. It is also interesting to see how the leviathans of the 1930s gave way to smaller, more streamlined racers at the end of the decade. Bentley won in 1930 but Alfa Romeo took the honours for the next four years. Lagonda and Delahaye secured a win each, while Bugatti took two victories to complete the nine races.

Each of the years covered begins with a complete table of competitors, race details, the starting official, a list of manufacturers entered and many other important facts. Each race is extensively covered with period photographs and commentary and the presentation of the content has been thoughtfully designed so as to be both appealing and informative.

The official status afforded this series ensures a number of unique features, including the reproduction of little-known photographs and full-colour race poster and brochure artwork from the ACO’s archives. Besides the entry list, complete data for each year includes technical regulations, circuit changes (with diagrams), full results and category awards.

The author

Quentin Spurring has reported from the Le Mans 24 Hours on 26 occasions. He has been editor of the British magazines Competition Car, Autosport, Racecar Engineering and The Paddock. His books have included six previous volumes of this Le Mans series (1923–29, 1949–59, 1960–69, 1970–79, 1980–89 and 1990–99), as well as the award-winning Grand Prix: Images of the First 100 Years.

If you are a Porsche racing enthusiast you will most likely also be fan of endurance racing, and this volume will provide you with an informed, well-presented and very well researched work on the early years of the sport. I can strongly recommend that if you are in a position to do so, that you indulge by acquiring the whole set so that you have a complete record of this great race. The full series would make an extremely valuable addition to your bookshelf.

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