Award winning
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime
Driven to Crime

Driven to Crime

True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

Regular price$53.00
Author Crispian Besley
ISBN: 9781910505700

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People lie, cheat, steal and even kill for a variety of reasons, one of which is to go motor racing, a particularly expensive and egotistical sport. This intriguing book, the result of years of research, encompasses not just those who have been ‘driven to crime’ in order to pay for their sport but also characters within motor racing who have been involved in wrongdoing, sometimes through no fault of their own. Over 60 true stories cover webs of deceit and numerous crimes including drug trafficking, corruption, embezzlement, robbery, fraud, murder and money laundering. The author investigates misdemeanours at all levels, from drivers, designers and mechanics to team owners, entrants and sponsors. This book will appeal not only to motor racing enthusiasts and cognoscenti on both sides of the Atlantic but also to anyone who enjoys reading about crime.
Read extract
Winner, Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year (Overall), 2023

• Stories of motorsport chicanery from all over the world, including…

• Fraud: Southern Organs (lay preachers who faked suicide and hid on a remote Scottish island); Jerry Dominelli (a Ponzi scheme that funded top-level racing Porsches); Jean-Pierre Van Rossem (self-styled stock-market guru who bankrolled an F1 team); Dominic Chappell (serial bankrupt racer brought down after purchasing a British department store); David Thieme (the Lotus sponsor who vanished).

• Murder: David Blakely (the driver killed by his lover Ruth Ellis); Franco Ambrosio (F1 sponsor of Shadow and Arrows); Elmer George (American racer who married into Indy ‘royalty’); Ricardo Londoño-Bridge (Colombia’s first F1 driver); Mickey Thompson (1960s American drag-racing icon); Nick Whiting (casualty of the biggest gold bullion heist in British history).

• Swindles: James Munroe (accounts manager who embezzled his way to a racing McLaren F1 GTR); Lord Brocket (jailed for staging the theft of his classic cars, including Ferraris); Andrea Harkness (stripper who ripped off NASCAR).

• Drugs: Ian Burgess (sometime British F1 racer); Randy Lanier (drug-smuggling IMSA champion); John Paul Sr and Jr (talented son dragged into a racing father’s drug-running); Vic Lee (super-successful team owner with a dodgy transporter); the Whittington brothers (more misdeeds in IMSA circles).

• Other misdemeanours: Roy James (Great Train Robbery getaway driver); Bertrand Gachot (jailed after road rage in London); Juan Manuel Fangio (kidnapped by Cuban rebels in 1958); Colin Chapman (the unresolved ‘DeLorean Affair’); ‘Spygate’ (Ferrari design secrets passed to McLaren).

Format: 234x156mm hardback
Page extent: 480pp
Illustration: 100 photos, mainly colour

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“The best motor racing book I’ve read in years.”

“A hugely entertaining book… a riotous read.”

“Extremely carefully researched and very well written… an absolutely fascinating read.”

“A super read, and thoroughly recommended. If you can’t find a copy, try the prison library.”

“A belter of a book.”

“A remarkable book… this weighty tome is just £40, dare I say an absolute steal!”

“A truly wild ride… unusual, excellent.”

Photo extracts from the book

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Dominik Peikert
Vorfreude ist

Die grösste Freude…

Demetrios P. Mantzounis

- Original
- Well written with useful additions to main stories
- Comprehensive research but some chapters could do with a little trimming
- Nicely produced
- Considering the price, quality control leaves to be desired, as per photographs

Dear Demetrios, I am sorry about the creased pages. As you know, the books are sold sealed. While printers take care to eliminate these sort of faults some occasionally get through. Can you let me know from who you bought it? Best wishes Eric