Shortlist of Contenders for RAC Motoring Book of the Year

The most spectacular sports cars – and two of Britain’s racing driver heroes – stand out among the subject matter for the Royal Automobile Club’s 2015 Motoring Book of the Year Award, which will be announced on Wednesday, 28 October.

 Royal Automobile Announces Shortlist of Contenders

Nominations for the Award have now all been received from the six independent judges, who review car-related books professionally for the most respected motoring publications in the country.

Major new works on the Porsche 917, the Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD and Alfa Romeo’s Grand Prix cars are in contention amongst superb autobiographies of Sir Stirling Moss OBE, and the late Jim Clark – in what’s turned out to be a truly vintage year for new titles.

Five titles are currently vying for the Award following the judge’s submissions. So the judges will meet to reach a unanimous decision on 2 October at the Royal Automobile Club, when one overall winner will be chosen.

‘This is exactly the kind of debate and interest we wanted to encourage by establishing the Motoring Book of The Year Award in 2014,’ said chairman of the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Committee, Peter Read.

‘Our Club’s motoring heritage and its unique Library open to members and researchers, mean we are avid about car-related books, research and publishing. And publishers who target motoring enthusiasts seem to be thriving, because our judges nominated almost 40 new titles from the 2014/15 period’.

‘Our Clubhouse is the official home of the Guild of Motoring Writers and the venue for their own annual Awards. Our Motoring Book of the Year Award provides an additional accolade – one that we would hope any motoring author would be proud to receive.’

As in 2014, the judges are Mick Walsh, Editor-in-Chief of Classic & Sports Car magazine; Gordon Cruickshank, Deputy Editor of Motor Sport magazine; Keith Adams, Editor of Classic Car Weekly; Henry Willis, former Auto Express magazine writer; Henry Hope-Frost, Autosport magazine contributor; and Octane magazine reviewer and contributor Richard Heseltine.

Each has compiled a list of their 10 best books published between September 2014 and August 2015.

The five titles in contention for the Award include The Magnificent Monopostos: Alfa Romeo Grand Prix Cars 1923-51 by Simon Moore (Parkside Publications), Stirling Moss: My Racing Life Stirling Moss with Simon Taylor (Evro), Porsche 917 – Autobiography of 917 023 by Ian Wagstaff (Porter Press), Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD by Philip Porter (Porter Press) and Jim Clark – Racing Hero by Graham Gauld (McKlein).

The judges are full of praise for the quality of these works.

“Just one car, yet every driver is interviewed to augment immense detail on the car and its time, technical data, drawings and a studio shoot …Impressive in every respect,” said Gordon Cruickshank of the Porsche 917 book.

Gordon Cruickshank was also enthused by the Jim Clark Racing Hero book commenting “it’s a story we know, but with the added insight that the author was a friend of Clark and took many of the photos inside, all presented in a quality volume”.

Speaking of both the Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD book and its sister title in the series Porsche 917, Judge Henry Willis said “An autobiography of a car is an odd concept, but both books pulled it off”.

Meanwhile, Mick Walsh expressed his admiration for Magnificent Monopostos: “Fanatical research and stunning selection of historic photographs all beautifully presented.”

The Award will remain a closely guarded secret until the evening of 28 October, when the presentation will take place in the Mountbatten Room at the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall Clubhouse.

The handover will come as the climax to an evening which celebrates motoring books in all their forms. This year’s features will include a panel debate on motoring memoirs scheduled to include contributions from Perry McCarthy, Tony Dron and Martin Gurdon, and an interactive demonstration of the iBook, as the founder of Monza Books talks about its first two titles on the Ferrari 250 GTO and Porsche 917 by Doug Nye and Ray Hutton respectively.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.