Review: Autocourse – Grand Prix Who’s Who
Do you think you know about every driver that has ever raced in Formula 1? Think again. The fourth edition of Autocourse Grand Prix Who’s Who will fill in any missing gaps from 1950…
There are so many things to say about Steve Small’s book. Firstly, there the amazing quality. Second is its depth, and third, if you are contemplating buying weights to lift to keep fit, buy the book instead – and you can learn the history of Formula 1 and build biceps all at once!
Frankly it is massive. At 832 pages, it details every driver to have started a World Championship Grand Prix since 1950, not just with biographies and race results… It goes down to retirement reasons, car/engine raced, and even the car number!
Autocourse has long been a record of not only Formula 1, but also worldwide motorsports. And then along came Motocourse that did for bikes what Autocourse did for cars.
Now I will be honest here… My roots from a young kid were with Autosport magazine that I read religiously, every Thursday (and still do) since 1974. And I became editor of it.
Christmas presents for kids are supposed to be a surprise, but no matter what toy I was given on Dec 25, deep down I knew that the parcel in the corner was the Autocourse annual. My first copy is from 1978, and that is a rare one due to a warehouse fire.
A friend of mine helped me out massively recently, and as we chatted he mentioned that he’d seen my 1978 edition. So as a gift to say thank you I went to ebay to see if I could get him a copy of it. I won’t go into numbers, but I got him a copy, and I have never spent so much money through ebay…
The reason for telling that is the respect that Autocourse has. It is the only book to cover F1 every year from 1951 (which covered 1950 too). And now, with the latest technology, they are digitising their archive. So far eight copies of Autocourse, and eight Motocourse are digitised.
They are available, as ebook editions, and well worth it… A LOT cheaper than I spent getting the 1978 one for my friend! The 1978 edition isn’t digitised yet, but here is another favourite of mine. It will take at least two years for them all to be made into ebooks, but it will take you twice as long to read them!
If you are a bike fan, then Motocourse started in 1976, a golden era. The first edition is scanned, (and if you are interested that copy is on ebay for £400) then each year up to 1981.
But back to the Grand Prix Who’s Who. If you want to win a pub quiz on F1 knowledge, then this is the book for you. (Although I know a few people who would do bloody well if you went head-to-head…)
Here are a few page examples… Remember that every driver to have started a World Championship Grand Prix gets this treatment…
Special thanks to Steve Small, Bryn Williams and all at Autocourse.