I recently read Tommy Byrne’s (aided by Mark Hughes) autobiographical account of his ‘almost could have been’ F1 career “Crashed and Byrned: The Greatest racing driver you never saw” over a few airport lounge sessions. For the uninitiated, Tommy Byrne was a promising young Irish driver during the early 1980s as the British Formula Ford and F3 champion. Of course, there was also a very promising young Brazilian driver around the same time also learning his trade in the British racing scene. So the book’s main appeal to F1 fans is the ‘rivalry’ between the 2 young chargers in Tommy Byrne and Ayrton Senna.
Crashed and Byrned is basically a story in 3 parts. The first few chapters charts his rise from the backstreets of Dublin to becoming the 1980 British Formula Ford champion, 1981 British Formula Ford 2000 champion and 1982 British F3 champion. The next chapters deal with F3 team politics with Ayrton – all backroom speculation off the race track, ‘throttle’ testing with McLaren and taking an F1 seat with backmarkers Theodore Racing. The final chapters cover Byrne’s move to the US Indy Lights racing scene and his F3 escapades in Mexico.
Byrne’s honest commentary about his brief time in F1 with Theodore, behind the scenes relationships with other F1 drivers and later struggles with drugs and depression is good reading.
The book also throws in some choice interview comments from fellow Irishmen Garry Anderson and Eddie Jordan who were involved with Byrne’s early career.
This book is another e-book candidate – it only contains 6 somewhat grainy black & white photos.
Wow Factor or the Money Shot: Its hard to think of any particular wow factor with this book other than Byrne’s quirky personal insight into the pressures, dynamics and team boss personalities surrounding F1 driver tests in the early 80s.
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