While nothing could ever match the enjoyment of actually driving the iconic Ferrari 250 GTO, author Doug Nye’s newly released iBook, “The Racing Car: Ferrari 250 GTO,” offers a fascinating look at the world’s most sought-after motorsport car – and does it in a way in which print and paper can’t compete.
Nye, one of the world’s leading auto racing historians, combines text with dozens of photos, videos and audio clips to create a unique multimedia presentation chronicling the development, construction and racing history of the 39 GTOs built from 1962-64.
The first installment of Monza Books’ electronic-book “The Racing Car” series, “Ferrari 250 GTO” offers an interactive experience that doesn’t minimize the written word but enhances it. For instance, Nye doesn’t just write about the car’s features, he shows them to you. In one video, he explains that the pedals in the GTO’s already cramped driving compartment “are slightly off to the left-front corner” because of the large central box for the clutch housing. And, he says, the need for soft leather driving gloves “is not an affectation” but a necessity because the car’s wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel “is very, very slippery.”
Nye’s 128-page book is divided into 10 chapters – three of which chronicle the GTO’s racing success during the 1962, ’63 and ’64 Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) seasons – and includes eight pieces of “enhanced content.” There is also a GTO Chassis Register with race history.
Nye not only tells the story of the GTO, but of Ferrari and its legendary founder. Enzo Ferrari, whose childhood dream was to become an opera singer, sports writer or race car driver; who began his racing career as a test driver for Costruzioni Mecchaniche Nazionali CMN) following World War I; who had a long-lasting relationship with Alfa Romeo before severing ties prior to WWII.
Enzo Ferrari built a slew of impressive race cars prior to the 250 GTO, but few capture the public’s imagination quite like the GTO does. Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, who has owned a 250 GTO for nearly 40 years, can certainly vouch for that. An interview with Mason is among the book’s enhanced content, which also includes a discussion of the GTO’s aerodynamics, a close-up look at the car’s famous V-12 engine, and exclusive video from the driver’s seat during an actual race.
As Nye questions Mason about his GTO, which competed in the 24 Hours of LeMans and also chauffeured both of Mason’s daughters on their wedding days, Mason reveals his amazement that the car continues to skyrocket in value. “Possibly,” he jokes, “it has ideas above its station.” Mason warns that purchasing a GTO is not for the faint of heart – or light wallet. “You can’t buy it as an investment because the value is always a bit more than what looks like a sensible decision. So everyone who’s got a car has sort of had to take the deep breath and tell the accountant, or whoever it is, that they’re just going to do this.”
While the book’s multimedia features are definitely valuable, watching the videos without reading the copy would be a mistake. Nye is a talented writer who knows how to create a picture in the reader’s mind, and he is at his best whenever he ventures inside the car. Nye’s passion for the GTO and his vivid memories of driving it are obvious. “At 6,000 rpm the GTO’s tail feels tucked down, although in fact the hard suspension and firm damping allow little real squat. You’re accelerating like fury and there are still two and a half thousand revs to go … The tacho needle is swirling round, past six-five, then seven …”
You’ll want to read on, and you should. The book is best digested by reading the text in each chapter before enjoying whatever video or audio content is available. “The Racing Car: Ferrari 250 GTO” iBook takes you beyond your imagination for a multidimensional look at a rare and coveted Italian automotive icon.
The book is available for $13.99 in all 50 Apple iBooks stores worldwide (http://bit.ly/1w7MiJj).