Twice Around the Clock: The Yanks at Le Mans by Tim Considine
Theme: A multi-volume, unapologetically chauvinistic personal history of the more than 320 American drivers and the American cars that have participated in what National Geographic in their 10 Best of Everything book has called “the world’s greatest sporting event,” the oldest, longest, most challenging and most famous road race of all, the epic 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Overview: Beautifully illustrated and spanning from the first “Grand Prix d’Endurance de 24 Heures,” in 1923, to present day, Twice Around the Clock – The Yanks at Le Mans is told primarily from the point of view of America’s motorsports heroes, as much as possible in their own voices, from interviews conducted over 25 years. These personal stories are framed by a narrative to set the stage, year by year. Obviously, it would be impossible to tell every participant’s story in detail, but each and all are included and the depth of attention given, determined as much by entertainment value as historical importance.
There are many books about Le Mans, good books, but they rightly concentrate on the races and results. Twice Around the Clock – The Yanks at Le Mans complements these accounts and adds to the body of history with untold personal stories of American drivers, team owners, mechanics and witnesses – like the American soldiers stationed in Europe who often ended up helping the teams. These volumes are about their experiences at Le Mans, on and off the track. And, oh, the stories!
Frank, sometimes blunt, personal accounts make history human –
and these volumes unique. Each is close to 120,000 words in length with approximately 300 black and white and color images from around the world, interspersed throughout – many never seen before.
While the narrative stresses the personal, there are many new details for aficionados, and for historians and academics, comprehensive appendices with complete statistical records for every American driver, car and engine ever to compete at the Sarthe, as well as citations for every quote and photo credits.
• Research and interviews conducted for 26 years, written over the last six years.
• Photographs, many never before seen, from the great photographers over the ages, and personal pictures from the participants. Even those published before have never been seen as presented in Yanks, often with captions by the participants.
• Personal stories from hundreds of American drivers,
owners, crewmembers, from the first American to drive at Le Mans
in 1929, to the most recent competitors – some famous, some not – all heroes for competing in the world’s most important endurance race. It’s the personal stories that are the heart of Yanks and make it unique. They add humanity – and a fair bit of profanity – to history.
Some quite surprising – the night before the 1966 race, the driver of America’s first overall winning car stood guard as a confederate broke into the Ford garage to make unauthorized adjustments.
Some downright controversial – an American team member claims he relieved a famous Yank driver for several pre-dawn laps on the race winner that year, grounds for disqualification if discovered.
Some poignant – one of America’s best pulled into the pits in tears after believing he’d just hit the dead body of his friend who’d crashed and been thrown back onto the track.
And many just plain funny – a U.S. champion, unbeknown to anyone, blind in one eye, tells of his panic when the female medical examiner at Le Mans clapped a paddle over his good eye before he could read the chart. What to do? American ingenuity – he reached out and grasped the back of her leg. “Monsieur!” The paddle dropped just long enough for a glimpse.
• Complete results tables after each chapter, with American drivers, cars, engines and teams in bold to stand apart.
American Drivers – listed alphabetically, with vital statistics, races entered, co-drivers, cars and results
American Cars/Engines – listed alphabetically, with years entered, drivers and results
American Participants – listed by year, including drivers, cars, engines, teams and results
Citations – given for every quote
• Full Index