NIKI LAUDA His competition history
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By Jon Saltinstall
Foreword by John Watson
When, during the tumultuous 1976 Formula 1 season, Niki Lauda nearly perished in a conflagration at the Nürburgring and then, severely scarred, courageously fought back to race again only six weeks later, the Austrian earned admiration and adulation world-wide. While the saga of that year, and the battle with James Hunt for the World Championship, has been told many times, the rest of Lauda’s racing has received less attention. This new book redresses that by documenting, race by race, his diverse driving career from 1968 to 1985. Through detailed dissection of each of his 316 races, in an eclectic mix of cars, a vivid picture emerges of a hugely determined and vastly talented racer who, despite many setbacks, left a remarkable legacy. All enthusiasts will treasure this comprehensive and richly illustrated examination of Niki Lauda’s entire competition history.
- Climbing the ladder: starting against his family’s wishes with a Mini in 1968, Lauda drove a Formula Vee Kaimann in 1969 and had a disastrous Formula 3 season with McNamara in 1970 before switching to a Porsche sports car; with progress stalling, he took out a loan to buy a Formula 2 seat at March in 1971.
- Faltering in Formula 1: he débuted with March at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix, then stayed with the team in 1972; he moved to BRM for 1973, still paying his way with further borrowing and some income from racing touring cars — but in all this time he had only one points-scoring Formula 1 finish.
- The Ferrari years: finally Lauda fulfilled his promise after receiving the call to Maranello, winning the World Championship twice in his four years there, in 1975 and 1977, but he left after tensions with the team arose in his final season.
- The Brabham years: Lauda famously won the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix in Brabham’s ‘fan car’, but thereafter the team’s competitiveness declined and he retired at the end of 1979, tired of ‘driving round in circles’ and focused instead on his new airline, Lauda Air.
- The McLaren years: tempted by a salary of unprecedented size, Lauda returned in 1982 after a two-year absence, silenced doubters by winning his third race, and in 1984 secured his third World Championship; at the end of 1985, with a career tally of 25 Grand Prix victories, he hung up his helmet for good.
Publication: 28 November 2019
UK price: £60.00
Format: 280x235mm hardback
Page extent: 376
Illustration: 500 photos, mainly colour
Jon Saltinstall grew up near Donington Park, where he witnessed his first motor race at the age of 12 after winning tickets in a local newspaper competition. Already fascinated by the sport and its history, he obsessively pursued his interest while following a career in banking. His admiration for Niki Lauda led him to embark on this book, his first, and after nine years, in 2019, he completed it a matter of weeks before his subject’s death. Married with two grown-up children, he lives in Leicestershire.
“There have been many books written by, and on, Niki Lauda. But none quite like this… This one is not a retelling of Niki’s life story and exploits. Instead, it’s an intensively researched work which covers his driving career chronologically, literally race-by-race… even the most obscure early events and venues in what has clearly been a labour of love… John Watson provides an amusing foreword recalling fondly his old friend and team-mate… and in a stroke of genius Niki’s first entrant and mentor Kurt Bergmann adds a lovely afterword… I loved all of the aforementioned facets, but I think the thing that appealed most besides the depth of Saltinstall’s excellent research was the originality and execution of the concept... Unquestionably, this is an essential tome for any enthusiast’s bookshelf.”
David Tremayne, GrandPrix+
“I have about 600 motor sports books, including about 100 biographies, but this book is by far the best biography I’ve ever seen… Chapeau, Chapeau, Chapeau!”
Christian Sandler, motorsport historian
“Most impressive is the sheer depth of research… Even the more obscure events that Lauda took part in (many of which I did not know about) are reported in detail, and the choice and quality of the accompanying images are outstanding… fantastic pictures abound… Perhaps most importantly though, it really is a well-written book. Concise and well-balanced, it is a joy to read… I was quite moved when I finished reading.”
Wolfgang Thomas, The Nostalgia Forum
“In the case of Lauda, I set the bar just about as high as it will go, and any book about him needs to do him full justice. I am delighted to say that this book, nine years in the making and completed mere weeks before Lauda’s death, is a worthy addition to the canon of Lauda literature… Reading Saltinstall’s meticulous reportage I was reminded of how much I have forgotten… Saltinstall deserves much credit for this book, and the huge amount of research that must have gone into its creation. Publisher Evro is also to be congratulated for producing a high-quality book that feels worth its considerable price. The book is a recommended read for everyone who followed Grand Prix racing in the 1970s and ’80s. But it is an essential read for those who already respect and admire Lauda.”
“What a treat… Congratulations to Jon Saltinstall and publishers Evro who have produced my favourite motor sport title of 2019.”
Martin Bull, The Nostalgia Forum
“There is a quality feel throughout this 376-page book, both in the writing and the colour image quality.”
“Comprehensive and richly illustrated… with a delightful foreword by John Watson.”