by James Page.
2019 review by Peter McFadyen
In motor sport, it is often said, only winners are remembered and those who finish second are quickly forgotten. On that basis, while victory in the 1965 Le Mans is readily recalled as having gone to the NART Ferrari 250 LM of Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory, what of the car which finished second and which had led the race for ten hours until a puncture on the Mulsanne and consequent bodywork damage had cost it five laps on the Sunday morning? If it does nothing more, this book, the seventh in Porter Press International’s Exceptional Cars series, restores the balance by telling in fascinating detail the story of that car, another LM chassis number 6313, entered by the Belgian team Ecurie Francorchamps and driven by Pierre Dumay and Gustave Gosselin. But in fact it does more, much more.
The rear-engined 250 LM was introduced at the Paris motor show of 1963 at a time when motor sport authorities were struggling to define Grand Touring or GT cars and distinguish them from out and out racing sports cars or prototypes. Ferrari tried unsuccessfully to pass the LM off as a development of the (front-engined) GTO, itself a development of the 250GT, and therefore a GT car despite its strong resemblance to the 250P prototype. The opening chapter of the book recalls the period and the efforts of not just Ferrari but also Aston Martin, Jaguar and Porsche to circumvent the rules. Despite having to race as a prototype, however, the LM would achieve considerable success of which Le Mans was the pinnacle. Chapter two is a technical analysis of the 250 LM.
Part two deals with the major races of 1965, one chapter per race of which there were six, before the third part takes up the story of this particular LM’s later life, including its mistaken identity and how this was resolved. The book finishes with a set of outstanding studio photographs of the car which has recently been restored to better than new condition.
The author is an experienced and accomplished writer and while following the thread of 6313’s racing career he recalls a fascinating period of sports car and GT racing in a very readable and authoritative manner, backed up by an excellent layout and high quality presentation of the colour and black and white photographs, many reproduced full page.
At just £30, the book represents excellent value for money and is well recommended. It is soon to be followed by a volume on the Ferrari 250 GT SWB which will be an interesting companion.
Publisher: Porter Press International Ltd. www.porterpress.co.uk
Description: Hardback (275 x 240 mm, 10¾ x 9½ in), 128 pages, copious illustrations in black and white and colour.