This is the time of year you might be looking for something special for that person who is caught with the car bug, especially someone who yearns for track days and autocrosses.
Here are two books that I can highly recommend:
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This is an outstanding novel that will win your heart and amaze you with its insight. Through the perspective of a dog, Enzo, you will come to understand the racer’s mind as it deals with life on and off the track. I just hope they don’t screw this up by trying to make a movie out of it. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and a set of CD’s so you can listen to it on your long commute.
Mark Donohue – Technical Excellence at Speed by Michael Argetsinger
I have read Unfair Advantage and have a copy autographed by Mark. I remember clearly when Mark’s name started showing up in racing coverage and how it was always tied so closely with Roger Penske. The two of them changed the attitudes and approach to the sport of auto racing at a time that technical change to the sport was coming quickly nationally and internationally. Mark was certainly a great driver, but his unique personality stood out from a host of great drivers. I remember a racing friend describing how Mark was so different from the highly emotional contemporaries of the racing elite. He told me of a time a Lime Rock when Mark’s Trans Am car’s transmission failed and he was forced to pull off the track. Most drivers would have been seen kicking their car and throwing their helmet to the ground in frustration, but Mark went over and thanked the corner worker for being their in case he needed help.
Great drivers can be complex people with inner workings that we cannot hope to understand, but with the chronological narrative this book provides you can live the life and times of this great racer.