7 Car Racing Books Every Car Enthusiast Should Read

Race track for cars.

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The automotive industry isn’t known for being well-read and intellectual, but these amazing pieces of literature are the exceptions. Here are seven car racing books every car enthusiast must read, whether you’re interested in racing or the mechanical side of things.

How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Formula 1 Designer

by Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey is one of the most important figures in the racing world today. He is the Chief Technology Officer of the Red Bull Racing Team in Formula 1 and a highly accomplished aerodynamicist. His book “How to Build a Car” is the most comprehensive guide to the assembly of racing vehicles that you can find. It’s also Newey’s autobiography, taking you through the crucial life events that led him to become an elite racecar engineer.

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The Mechanic: The Secret World of the F1 Pitlane

by Marc Priestley

While F1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen get most of the praise, this book shines the spotlight on the sport’s unsung heroes: the pitlane crew. Marc Priestley talks about his personal experiences as a pitlane mechanic and the crucial roles that each crew member plays in the average F1 race. 

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How Not to Be a Professional Driver

by Jason Plato

Most car racing books talk about the must-haves of being a racecar driver, but Jason Plato takes the opposite approach. The former F1 driver discusses all of the bad decisions he made during his racing career, giving you an indepth look at a driver’s thought process while moving at 150+ miles per hour. It’s humorous and brutally honest in all the right places.

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Formula 1 All the Races: The First 1000

by Roger Smith

History buffs will especially love this book, which discusses the first 1000 F1 races in great detail. You’ll read about each race’s winners, crashes, dramatic storylines and everything in between. It also provides a unique perspective on the development of the F1 racecar, popular tracks and other racing traditions that still continue today.

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Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

by AJ Baime

If you’ve seen the 2019 film Ford vs. Ferrari, you’re familiar with the story of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. However, unlike the film, this book equally covers both Ford and Ferrari’s rise to racecar immortality in the 1960s. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in car racing books that discuss the revolutionary post-World War II racing period.

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High Performance: When Britain Ruled the Roads

by Peter Grimsdale

While auto manufacturers from many countries are relevant today, there was a time when Britain was the undisputed king of the sportscar scene. Jaguars, Aston Martins and other British models dominated tracks around the world during the 1950s and 60s. This book also shows how people, places and historical events influenced Britain’s rise to racing supremacy.

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Earnhardt Nation: A Full Throttle Saga of NASCAR’s First Family

by Jay Busbee

NASCAR fans are no doubt familiar with the Earnhardts, the first racing family in the sport. This car racing book tells the story of family patriarch Ralph Earnhardt, his son Dale Sr., and the third generation, Dale Jr. Of course, the most well-known story is Dale Sr.’s tragic death at the 2001 Daytona 500, which changed the racing world forever.

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Grow Your Racing Knowledge

Reading will always be one of the best ways to expand your knowledge on any subject, not just automobiles. These car racing books are both educational and inspirational. If you want to learn more about vehicles, be sure to check out Modded’s Car Page for all kinds of how-to’s, vehicle profiles and other helpful resources.

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