From the Bookshelf - The Inside Track and its many camera angles

From the Bookshelf – The Inside Track and its many camera angles

From time to time, in all publishing spheres, a seminal work comes along that reports its time, and future-proofs it, in such a way that any reader or researcher who trails in its wake will find it an inestimable source of reference in that future. Just this month, one of those works came along in the form of Inside Track, which details Phil Hill’s fine racing career in full pictorial splendour. Consequently, this month’s From the Bookshelf is devoted entirely to one of those very rare events.

The work, comprising two volumes and amounting to nearly 1,000 pages printed on excellent quality art paper, is a long heralded, slowly maturing brain-child of Doug Nye and a seamless amalgamation of half a dozen contributors: the words and pictures of Phil Hill himself; Doug Nye, originator and researcher of the book’s historical continuity; personal interviews with Phil – who died in 2008 – and the curator of his photographs, Steve Dawson; research by Phil’s son, Derek; the book’s design and production is by Ian Lambot; and the whole project backed by racing privateer Paul Vestey.

When Phil Hill wasn’t driving, he was snapping photographs on beautiful and visually yielding Kodachrome film, and with the best of cameras – a Leica 35mm. That golden era is captured with early America’s racing, Phil’s Le Mans successes and other French races filling much of volume one, 1951-56, while, Formula 1 World Championship races in Europe occupy a large part of volume two, 1957-62. Joyful, too, are the informative captions that accompany the pictures, with many personable recollections garnered through many hours of interviews.

Being such an accomplished driver and, with it, enjoying the unrivalled access to the subject-matter it consequently brought, combined with the photographic skill to record those opportunities, has enabled the writers to produce a rare combination – and it is manifestly successful here. This truly is a Tutankhamun-sized-tomb of motoring treasures and, if you’re lucky enough to own a copy, it will surely be a great investment, too. The reference copy is available to view in the Club Library now.

Phil Hill with Doug Nye et al., 2017. Inside track: Phil Hill: Ferrari’s American world champion, his story, his photography. Alresford, Hants.: GP Library. ISBNs: vol. 1: 9780995473911; vol. 2: 9780995473928 (2-vol. set, collector’s edition)

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