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Book Reviews: BRM - Racing for Britain

book on brm

Book of the Month, Octane, August 2022

'This all-new book comes with the reassurance of being co-authored by two of the best names in the business and has further benefitted from being designed by Martin Port...'

'So you get the best of all possible worlds: in-depth yet engaging text, authoritative captions – we detect the hand of Doug Nye in these – and an imaginative layout, which makes best use of some fabulous photos. The print quality is excellent, too.'


The Automobile, August 2022

'Chances are, if you're a motoring bibliophile, you will already have Doug Nye's three-volume BRM history somewhere on your shelves. Widely regarded as on of the most exhaustive and informative single-marque histories yet published, the history of the British team is told in detail over more than 1000 pages – and there is still a planned fourth volume on the horizon.'

NZ Classic Driver, July-August 2022

'As with the Vanwall book reviewed in the last issue, Porter Press has produced another superb looking publication. With 304 pages and measuring 31 x 31cm, the fabulous photographs can be seen to their full potential. The text is authoritative and eminently readable. As well as the races, cars and drivers, the people behind the scenes get their due too. Sir Alfred Owen quite rightly receives full credit for his unwavering support for the team over many years. Others like Tony Rudd and Tony Southgate and the hardworking mechanics feature, as does Sir Alfred's brother-in-law, Louis T Stanley (a controversial character, although he deserves credit for his crucial support for the GP Medical Service). 

The Owen family took the hard decision to auction the cars and various other assets in 1981. Fortunately they retained the intellectual property, archives and other key elements and in 2021 the current generation was able to experience the superb re-creation of a V16 at Goodwood. That moment is captured at the end of the book, rounding out a brilliant marque history.'

Classic and Sports Car, July 2022

'Following the square format of its superb reworked Vanwall history (Book of the month, April), Porter Press has teamed up with the Owen family for this vivid BRM celebration. Primarily a pictorial history using the extensive family archives, this 300-page title covers the highs and lows of the historic team. Ian Wagstaff's highly readable text and extensive captions complement the photographs, drawings and ephemera, superbly packaged by designer Martin Port. Pull-out stories help to break up the text, focusing on the badge design, which Mercedes initially objected to; the team's Maserati 250F purchase, and four wheel drive. The Rover-BRM gas-turbine sports cars are extensively covered too, including the banter between the Le Mans team drivers Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart. The images are the highlight of this sumptuous book, particularly the large workshop studies. A shot of Tony Rudd's Rover going through customs with a Grand Prix V8 in the boot contrasts dramatically with modern F1.'


'...this passionately written book captures the team's true spirit, and its legacy. The superb words are backed up by beautifully presented images and excellent material from the BRM archive, including fascinating letters between management and drivers. A true treasure trove of information and visual splendour, this comes highly recommended.'

Motorsport News, May 2022

'And BRM's story is an important one. In the 'British invasion' of post-war motorsport – the legacy of which still lives today – BRM is central.'

'At £120 it's not a frivolous purchase, but it is the likely definitive work on the team.'

Racing Spirit

'The text by respected author Ian Wagstaff and motor racing historian Doug Nye takes us on a journey from the birth of the V16, through to that first World Championship victory at Zandvoort in 1959 with Jo Bonner, the elation of the World Championship titles in 1962, the V12 era and ending when backing from the Rubery Owen Organisation finished at the end of the 1974 season. The sports cars are not forgotten with a chapter devoted to the Rover BRM Le Mans gas turbine cars and the Can Am machines. There are also sections on special projects, the 4-wheel-drive car and the F2-engined cars.'

'...what really makes this book are the photographs, many of which, coming from the BRM archives, have never been seen before and are reproduced to a high standard. The many copies of documents, letters and telegrams also help to tell the story. With forewords written by Sir Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill and Nick, Simon and Paul Owen. This is a must for any enthusiasts' bookshelf.'

Retro Speed

'If you put co-authors Ian Wagstaff and Doug Nye in the same room, they only need one typewriter and five minutes before they've written the motorsport equivalent of Shakespeare. Put simply this could easily become my 'Book of the Year'.

'Thoroughly recommended. Five plus stars.'

Review by David Tremayne

'But the great news is that Doug has been working with fellow indefatigable author Ian Wagstaff (whose excellent BRP book we reviewed in Issue 321, Saudi Arabia) to create a long-needed stand-alone history of the marque for Porter: BRM – Racing for Britain. It coincides nicely with the 60th anniversary of the Bourne team's World Championship success, and the creation of new V16s.

For all the criticism aimed at it over the years, BRM was a genuine leading contender in the early Sixties, and had Mike not perished in 1968, or Pedro and Seppi in 1971, who knows where things might have led? At a time when those new V16s are coming, and interest in the marque is reviving, this 300-page tome with its 400 images is packed with stories and complemented with archival material to create a timely and insightful reminder of just what the team did achieve, and not just how some of the lofty dreams of the colourful characters behind it failed to reap their promise. It comes highly recommended.'


VSCC Bulletin

'...this volume is not a coffee table book. It is a serious history which is refreshing in its presentation and penetrating in its analysis. There are appendices covering race results, chassis listings and key modifications. There is also a proper index. This is a truly admirable work.'