BOOK REVIEW: A passion for racing that left rivals seeing red

Scarlet Passion Anthony Pritchard Haynes, pounds 35
WHEN ONE thinks of Ferrari, the name of the most famous Italian- built racing cars is linked inextricably to that of Michael Schumacher and his extraordinary run of successes in the Formula One World Championship. But there was another world in which the cars with the prancing horse motif dominated. This was in the golden epoch of sports prototype and sports racing cars when, from 1962-1973, victories in the prestigious long-distance races were recorded by Ferrari as prolifically as Schumacher gathers Formula One points nowadays.

In Scarlet Passion, Anthony Pritchard traces the development of the 246SP, 250GTO, 250LM through to the 330P4 and thence to the glorious 312PB prototypes and their successors the fabulous 512S and 512M Group Five sports cars. Pritchard witnessed many of Ferraris great triumphs at first hand and tells a compelling story. Six successive wins at Le Mans from eight attempts, the World Championships, the battles with Porsche and the might of the American GT40 Fords are all covered in detail. Also included are insightful portraits of the leading drivers, like Phil Hill, Willy Mairesse, Englands Mike Parkes, Ludovico Scarfiotti, and John Surtees, who between them achieved so much for the marque's owner, the tyrannical Enzo Ferrari.

There are interviews with Surtees, former technical director, Mauro Forghieri, and Lancashire's Brian Redman, and much more in this comprehensively-researched book, which contains 200 monochrome photographs, and 32 pages of colour shots; many of which have never before been published. At pounds 35 Scarlet Passion is hardly an inexpensive buy. But no student of motor racing can afford to be without it.