My Greatest Defeat
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Stories of hardship and hope from motor racing’s finest heroes
My Greatest Defeat is a collection of honest and revealing insights into 20 of the greatest living racing drivers; legends of the worlds of Formula 1, Indycar, NASCAR, Le Mans and Rally. Its purpose is to discover their weakest moment, the one time in their lives when they didn’t know where to turn or what to do next. To show that beneath the fire-proof suits and the helmets and beyond the heroics displayed on track, these great modern gladiators are fallible and breakable. The legends interviewed opened up completely. Honesty flowed as rarely seen and little expected. Mighty champions, men we’ve always seen as thick-skinned, macho, manly men, unburdening their souls. These are their stories. Their words. Their truths.
- Interviews conducted specially for this book are with (in alphabetical order) Mario Andretti, Derek Bell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Jeff Gordon, Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill, Jimmie Johnson, Tom Kristensen, Niki Lauda, Sebastien Loeb, Felipe Massa, Rick Mears, Emanuele Pirro, Alain Prost, Carlos Sainz, Jackie Stewart, Bobby Unser, Ari Vatanen and Alex Zanardi. Here are five highlights…
- Dario Franchitti – The Indycar champion talks of the deaths of the friends that bookended his career in racing, the heartbreak that each caused and the aftermath of accidents that affected the physical functioning of his brain.
- Niki Lauda – A racer who needs no introduction, Niki Lauda discusses the loss of one of his aircraft over Thailand in which all on board were killed; for eight months he fought to clear the name of his pilots and change aircraft safety forever.
- Alain Prost – Ayrton Senna’s great rival talks of the moral compass that guided his career and the slights he perceived against him, moments that shaped the development of his reputation as a cold, manipulative and divisive character.
- Ari Vatanen – The Finnish rally ace reflects on the accident that almost killed him and the depression into which he fell in convalescence, the dark recesses of his mind leading him to an unwavering belief that he had contracted AIDS.
- Alex Zanardi – In a deep and revealing conversation, the Paralympic gold medallist, who lost both legs in an Indycar accident, discusses how we decipher between our passion and our ambition and how childhood dreams affect our adult decisions.
- Striking portrait artworks come from a revered artist in modern comic book design, Giuseppe ‘Cammo’ Camuncoli, who is renowned for the dark, brooding style that has seen him become a staple in the Vertigo, DC and Marvel stables.
Publication date: 30 May 2019
Page extent: 320pp
Illustration: 20 portraits
A motor racing broadcaster, commentator and journalist, Will Buxton has had the rare pleasure of turning his great passion into something resembling work for the better part of 20 years. His career has taken him around the world countless times to report on everything from Formula 1 to World Rally to Indycar. While the happy mistake of falling into television as a Formula 1 pitlane reporter in the United States for the SPEED channel and latterly NBC, followed by his current role as the first Digital Presenter in F1 history, has made him one of the most recognised faces and voices in the sport, his first love was and remains writing. Will lives in Oxfordshire. This is his first book.
“These accounts are fascinating and packed with genuinely meaningful introspection and reflection… massively poignant.”
“A truly great work… My Greatest Defeat is that kind of book. It is as rare as it is insightful. It opens a window into the inner workings of a group of people most of us do not fully understand, and does so in a very engaging and fascinating way. I wouldn’t say this book is recommended reading. I say this is required reading.”
“I was moved emotionally by many of the testimonies, and those aren’t words I often use in the context of books on motorsport… a fascinating book.”
“For anyone who enjoys knowing about the real people who are the heroes of motor sport, and their personalities, hopes and fears, this book gives a first-rate insight into those behind-the-scenes challenges they have faced.”
“Buxton remains respectful but softly tenacious throughout, getting to the core of every driver’s psyche. An utterly fascinating book.”
“Emotionally charged and thought-provoking… Alex Zanardi talking about losing his legs, Sir Jackie Stewart about the death of François Cevert and the late Niki Lauda talks openly about the Lauda Air crash. Some of you may say you’ve read about these stories before, but I guarantee you’ve never heard them told in such a unique way. An excellent book, which when you start reading you find difficult to put down.”
“As ever with everything published by Evro the book itself is immaculate, produced to the highest quality.”
“Each of the stories that Buxton expertly elicits is both interesting and intimate… every story here is unique.”
“This book is a great read and something that is really quite different.”
Area Auto Racing News
“While I am well aware of some of the subjects’ stories, not least those of Ari Vatanen and Alex Zanardi, it is always valuable to take another spin from a first-class author, especially one possessing such a fine journalistic history in the field of motorsports. This is a fantastic read.”
“Gives a new perspective on motorsport legends about whom you probably thought you knew everything.”
Classic Car Weekly
“One of the best books about sports and competition I’ve ever read… deeply moving and compelling… Great stories. All of them.”
The Coventry Cat