LE MANS: THE OFFICIAL HISTORY 1980–89
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From about 215mph (345kph) at the start of this unforgettable decade, top speeds on the world-famous Mulsanne straight exceeded 250mph (400kph) for the first time in 1988. These were the fastest racing cars on the planet.
This decade’s radical new FIA Group C regulations challenged motorsport engineers to achieve race-winning engine performance while saving fuel. This was a formula that was ideal for Le Mans, embodying as it did the original rationale of this historic event as a proving ground for emerging automotive technologies. It accelerated the development of control electronics and aerodynamics, and soon the increasingly sophisticated racing coupés were setting new standards in on-track performance.
The 1980 event was uniquely won by Jean Rondeau, a Le Mans resident, with a car of his own manufacture. After seven impressive Porsche successes, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, both returning to motorsport after long absences, won in 1988 and 1989. By the end of the decade, Le Mans was contested by Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota.
This was the decade when the Le Mans 24 Hours really began to rock. Already established as a world-class event, the ACO’s annual race scaled new heights during the 1980s, a time of spectacular transformation in top-flight sports car racing.
- UK price: £45.00
- ISBN: 9780992820930
- Format: 280 x 230mm
- Jacketed hardback
- Page extent: 384pp, colour throughout
- Illustration: 450 photographs, mainly colour
- Word count: 90,000
Quentin Spurring entered motorsport journalism on the editorial team of Autosport in 1966. He became the weekly magazine’s deputy editor but left in 1970 to try his hand as a freelance, also serving two years as the media officer of the British Automobile Racing Club and the editor of its monthly publication.
He was the launch editor of Competition Car magazine in 1972–74, and the press officer of Graham Hill’s Formula 1 team in 1975. He returned to Autosport in 1976 as its editor, and served in this capacity or as its executive editor until 1988.
On April Fool’s Day, ‘Q’ left to form Q.Editions, a specialist contract publishing company, which was successful in Formula 1 and high-end sportscar racing. Q.ED clients included the FIA, Asprey, Castrol, Jaguar, Marlboro, Mercedes-Benz and Shell, as well as professional Group C teams such as Brun, Schuppan and Spice.
Having originally learned his trade on Civil Engineering magazine, he saw the need for a trade and technical periodical serving the global motorsport industry. In 1992, Q.ED launched Racecar Engineering magazine, for which he subsequently received individual achievement awards from both the UK’s motorsport industry trade bodies, AMRA and the MIA. He sold the title late in 1996 and quit as its editor in 2000 to edit two internet projects, F1i.com and RaceAccess, Marlboro’s extensive motorsport media website.
In 2008–09, he edited The Paddock, a monthly magazine focusing on the business of professional motorsport. He has been the European Motorsport Correspondent of the US publication, AutoWeek, since 1982.
His first book, Formula 1 in Camera 1980–89, which featured the photographs of Rainer Schlegelmilch accompanied by a detailed commentary, appeared in 2005, published by by Haynes Publishing. Other titles followed on Jim Clark, Gilles Villeneuve and Ronnie Peterson. With David Bull Publishing he wrote Grand Prix: Images of the First 100 Years, which won an award from the American Publishers Association (APA).
His long-held passion the Le Mans 24 Hours – he has reported from the race 26 times – made him the ideal author for a new project detailing the history of the race decade by decade in individual volumes. Published by Haynes in collaboration with L’Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), organisers of ‘The World’s Greatest Motor Race’, the first four volumes were launched in the order 1960–69 (2010), 1970–79 (2011), 1949–59 (2011) and 1980–89 (2012). Evro Publishing then took over the series, introducing the fifth volume, 1990–99, in July 2014.He is married with two children (and five grandchildren), and lives in south London.