A major 840 page, two volume book dealing with every facet of Cunningham, in both slipcase and suitcase, was launched at the Lime Rock, Cunningham event on September 1, 2013.
Details of the leatherbound edition are at the end of this article.
Shortlisted for the Publication of the Year for the 2013 International Historic Motoring Awards. Award ceremony. The winner will be announced .
Book background by Richard Harman:
Cunningham was a name which cropped-up in my earliest memories of Le Mans and as my interest in motor racing developed, I found the longer distance events for Sports Cars far more enticing that the increasingly shorter Grand Prix races. The Cunningham was just a car and I knew nothing about the man behind their existence until my knowledge expanded through an increasingly extensive library of motor racing books and magazines, of which I could never get enough.
The Briggs Cunningham story gradually emerged and fascinated me, as he was part of the emergence of road racing in his country. The similar development of road racing in Europe had taken place years before my time and was already well-developed when y interest in the sport began. The stories behind the great European races enthralled me, even though they were history, but in America the similar, often troubled beginnings of the sport, happened during my life-time. My thirst for more knowledge of these events was insatiable, but hampered by a severe lack of readily available information. In retrospect, the European press belittled American motor race events and considered them unimportant. Even the major motor races in the USA, some of which pre-dated many great European events, were virtually ignored.
With the advent of a functioning International Sporting organisation, World Championship events for Sports Cars and later Grand Prix races, gradually included the USA. Briggs Cunningham, among others, was eager take on the challenge of the European giants and grasped the opportunity of establishing America as a legitimate competitor. When the very first event of the newly-established World Championship for Sports Cars, in 1953, was won by a Cunningham car, America began to be taken seriously on the World motor racing scene, while the European press begrudgingly included coverage. However, Sebring 1953 was neither a fairy story with a happy-ever-after ending, nor the first time Cunningham had matched himself and his cars against the best that Europe had to offer.
He had witnessed earlier Le Mans 24-Hour races and was aware of the spasmodic appearances of both American drivers and even the occasional American car in previous races. Briggs believed Le Mans to be the ultimate challenge, for himself and for the cars of his country. It has been labelled by some as an obsession for him, but it never became a negative obsession. More accurately, it was a belief that his country could produce a car to match and emerge victorious against the best racing cars in the world. His faith also believed it could be done with American drivers.
The resources he inherited enabled him to pursue his passion for racing and promoting his country. They also enabled him to assemble the best possible people to join him and to provide the facilities for the design and construction of his series of cars. His quest for the ultimate success at Le Mans may have eluded him, but he had laid the foundations for an increased involvement of American cars on the International motor racing scene. He also gave nurture and opportunity to many American drivers who aspired and later achieved universal greatness.
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