Updated: 4 February 2019
A great way to learn in the off season is to hear about how other people approach racing. There are many great books written on motorsports and racing. Here are some I have read over the years. Books approach the topic of racing from different perspectives; the car, the driver or a general overview of motorsports. I highly recommend Speed Secrets and Going Faster as great starting points offering detailed information on the art of driving a car at the limit. Reading these book off track can help you be faster on track.
Ultimate Speed Secrets: The Complete Guide to High Performance and Race Driving
A fantastic book. It pulls together the various Speed Secrets books into one great volume. I personally bring it with me to the track in my gear bag. Ross covers a large variety of topics including driving techniques, mental preparation, fitness and how to improve your performance on the track. Each sections include great short summary tips "Speed Secrets" that you can use to remember and focus on your driving performance.
Going faster! Mastering the Art of Race Driving
A great description of driving techniques it also includes explanations of the basics, building on the fundamentals, race craft and racing techniques. The great thing about this book is it includes detailed descriptions, mathematics and data analysis to flush out the subject matter. For anyone interested in understanding the dynamics and physics of racing this is a great book. As an engineer I really enjoyed being able to look at the physics, the analytical analysis and the reasons behind the various topic elements.
Drive to Win: Essential Guide to Race Driving
The final book in the Carroll Smith "to Win" series. This book focuses on the driver. It covers topics like tires, braking, cornering, how to approach the different types of course and safety. I like the book but prefer Going Faster. But it offers a different perspective which is great as you can see the different approach the author takes on the same subject matter. I find having multiple perspectives, helps me better understand the information.
The Technique of Motor Racing
This book can be hard to find and most likely can be picked up at a specialty local or online used book store. The forward is by Juan Manuel Fangio which should be an indicator of how great this book is going to be. Some of the information can be a bit dated (safety gear has come along way) but the book also has fantastic photos of classic race cars. The detailed breakdown of various corners is fantastic and it provides an excellent perspective on racing.
Inner Speed Secrets
This book focuses on the mental aspects of racing. There are lots of great techniques to help your driving performance both on and off the track. Ross has researched and taught many drivers how your brain works, the benefits of sensory input session and how to use mental imagery. He also provides skills and techniques to develop your belief system and regain focus quickly. This book covers the topics in greater detail beyond the Ultimate Speed Secrets book.
Secrets of Solo Racing: Expert Techniques for Autocross and Time Trials
A great book on car control and driving techniques. It covers a lot of different topics including steering, braking and shifting. It also explains tire fundamentals, preparations and modifications for your car. Great sections include how to work an autocross course, auto crossing schools and some tips for becoming an instructor. Not only does the information work for autocross it also provides great insights that are relevant to wheel to wheel racing.
Go Ahead Take the Wheel
The book provides a lot of great information about how to get involved in motorsports and racing. In particular it focuses on racing for the budget minded individual. It covers a wide variety of topics including costs, safety, volunteering, race school, race cars and transportation. The book is a great starting point for anyone looking to go racing and get a basic understanding of each aspect. There is also an SCCA specific version of the book but either will work or apply to the amateur or club racer.
Bob Bondurant on High Performance Driving
Bob Bondurant with John Blakemore
The authors share some good insights and tips about driving a car at the limit. Not as detailed or exhaustive as some of the other books but it provides another perspective. There are some good sections about seating position and how to shift correctly to avoid missed shifts. It is geared towards someone not very familiar with performance driving. I would only recommend this if you are trying to expand your viewpoint beyond some of the other books.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
"Make the car do something" just one of the great take away messages from this book. The book is a great read for anyone even if they aren't into racing. Great racing tips are weaved throughout the story. I really enjoyed this book as a racer but lots of people enjoy this book even if they know nothing about motorsports or racing, It has long be rumored that it will be turned into a movie.
Motorsports Marketing and Sponsorships
Fantastic starter book on the business of racing and sponsorships. Written by Alex Striler, Director of Sales and Marketing, Team Lucas it provides a great insight into the minds of marketing executives and what companies are looking for when they sponsor you. Talks about the different types of companies and provides examples on how to assign value to your assets that can be leverage for sponsorship.