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The Power and the Glory

Century of Motor Racing


The Power and the Glory is the compelling story of a century of motor racing. Published by BBC Books, Ivan Rendall wrote it as a companion to the highly-acclaimed BBC2 series of which he was the originator and Executive Producer. The book is international. It illustrates how motor racing developed differently in Europe and America and how the F1 World Championship, Indianapolis oval racing and stock car racing have developed in different ways.

The idea behind the book and the TV series was to combine the technical story with the human story. Centre stage were the heroes, the drivers, but the book shows the contribution of designers, engineers, fixers, mechanics, wives, team owners, promoters, advertisers and above all the fans. It shows how they turned a mainly amateur sport at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries into a brash, multi-billion pound global industry based on super-competitiveness.

That competitiveness, and the spectacle that goes with it, was perfect for television especially when A list celebrities, luxury brands and very high technology were made part of the mix. It’s no surprise that only the Olympics and the Football World Cup get bigger global audiences, and they are four years apart. The F1 World Championship has become the most competitive sporting event internationally. At its heart is the nakedness of human rivalry: personal, between drivers and Team Principals, national, between drivers and their governments who vie to have their home Grands Prix, and commercial, between car companies, tyre manufacturers, high tech manufacturers and banks.

It tells one of the epic stories of the twentieth century.


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