A good coffee table book can elevate the décor of your entire room. If you have frequent visitors, they are excellent conversation starters, especially if they are fans of the material. Keeping a neat and well-designed stack on a table in the living room, placed by a bed, or lovingly nestled on a prominent shelf tells your guests, “Yes, I am a car nerd.” Each book can serve as a beautiful centerpiece and elevate you beyond a casual fan to an elite gearhead, serving as a testament to your nerdery. Any of these would make a fantastic gift for the garage guru in your life, too. Especially now, we made sure to get all the motorsports enthusiasts in on this, not just the Formula 1 die-hards! Just some food for thought with the holidays fast approaching.
These Owners’ Workshop Manuals are such a nice touch to have out in your home. Instance cool points. This McLaren M23 book is currently on my coffee table. These are great because you can build your own set, as there are many out there from different decades and constructors. Each book is a comprehensive guide to the history of the car and its era within F1.
Outside of just being very well put together, each of these manuals has an encyclopedic look into builds and tales of both the liveries and the teams. There are quite of few floating around, so start your pile today. Buy the McLaren one above, or try out the Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull, and/or Brabham editions! You’ll definitely get a complete view of where car tech was at each of the timeframes of the books, as well as where F1 was in motorsports history.
This has certainly been a year of anniversaries for motorsports, and NASCAR hit its 75th birthday. I grew up a huge NASCAR fan (there are serval Polaroids of me in Dale Jarret gear). I was so excited when they announced this book. If you know anything about NASCAR, its origin is interesting, to say the least. If you’re a ’90s baby, there is no way you didn’t remember the rise of Jeff Gordon with the dominance of Dale Earnhardt. You didn’t have to watch to know who they were and their impact on American culture.
The alluring archived photos are meticulously placed amongst some of the most thrilling stories from the last 75 years. Given the growing interest in motorsports and IndyCar within the US, this is a lovely representation of an organization that I hope is on the upswing again.
Another entry plucked straight from my coffee table. No matter who you are a fan of, there is no doubt Schumacher is the greatest driver to step into a Formula One car. Given his current health, having a book of his history in his own words and memories is something to covet. Schumacher was the undisputed king of F1 and broke almost every record in his time in the sport. Seeing his life within motorsports through his eyes is special, especially for newer fans.
This book takes you right up to the tale end of his World Championship supremacy, for time reference. And if you are a Mick supporter, there are plenty of adorable snapshots of the blonde-haired babe growing up. A dynamic career marvelously preserved, the legacy Schumacher is leaving behind makes for the perfect book for any F1 fan’s coffee table.
Le Mans hit its centennial race this year back in June, and Porsche is well a part of that story. With over 19 Le Man wins, Porsche’s prominence in France made perfect sense for an all-encompassing coffee table book. Earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to attend the screening of the documentary Racing With Giants: Porsche at Le Mans. I even interviewed Le Mans and Porsche veteran Patrick Long there.
Psst, give my interview a peep!
The history of this race and this team is rich and deep. Hundreds of photos were foraged from the very beginning in 1951 all the way to 2021. This coffee table book is a rich, sweeping history of Porsche’s victories and exploits at La Sarthe. Spyders, GTs, hybrids, oh my! Get first-hand stories from Le Mans legends like Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, and Helio Castroneves, to name a few. I highly recommend checking out the documentary and our article before getting cozy with this enticing book.
And now for something completely different! If you’re newer to motorsports and want to look at the history of different racing series, IMSA is a great one. The International Motor Sports Association was founded in 1969 and is the North American sanctioning body for all things sports car racing. If the name sounds familiar, that would be because they are actually a division of NASCAR.
This coffee table book covers the first 20 years and was compiled by the founders’ son. The prestige in that first-hand perspective presents such a magical look at one of the most accessible forms of racing in the US. If you’ve ever wanted to see racing in the States, this is a gateway, for sure. Flipping through, you’ll get a compelling visual story of design, politics, and how the management of this GT series’ lessons are still in practice today in motor racing worldwide.
While technically less of a book and more of a photo collage, you can still add it to any coffee table for heaps of extra personality! These look dope, and you don’t even need to be a fan. Just have working eyes! This large-scale issue is one of many from the publisher, and they are all fabulous. In the first series, the magazine focuses on legends of F1 (past and present). In collection two, they focus on our favorite constructors of Formula 1.
This issue centers around World Champions like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. Rainer Schlegelmilch opened up his archives to feature never-before-seen photos. Read about the evolution of the FIA from the ’50s to the present day. If you want one of these, I would suggest purchasing it as soon as possible, as these are not being reprinted.
If you’ve ever been curious about the statistics and records of each of the circuits in the history of F1, this is the coffee table book for you. Featuring all 77 circuits used in the many, many years of Formula One, discover hidden trivia and lesser-known tales from each. The book is laid out chronologically, starting with the first Grand Prix in Monza.
Keep an eye on 1978. That’s when my favorite track opens. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has quite the history and is one of the best races on the calendar. You also get bespoke digital maps of every course. A very nice touch, indeed.
I see BMW M gear all over when out and about. Like, literally everywhere I go. The M-Series stands for Motorsport, which first appeared in 1972 for the historic German manufacturer. This coffee table book celebrates the 50th anniversary and deep dives into the range of famous M models that have been designed over the decades. This is an excellent gift to surprise a Bimmer fan with.
Or just that one poser kid who really likes the M clothes to go with their 335i M Sport.
As aforementioned, we celebrated 100 years of Le Mans this year. The world-renowned race of 24 Hours at Circuit de la Sarthe is a sight and experience to behold. The fact that we have preserved a century’s worth of races, personalities, triumphs, and heartbreaks is nothing short of mesmerizing. We know you’ll recognize the usual favorites like Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin, Mercedes, McLaren, to name a few. But learning about how lesser racing “brands “have contributed to not just the track’s history but the sport’s metamorphosis is just as rewarding. The innovation that comes from Le Mans is hands down my favorite element about this storied race.
What was always a bit confusing that this coffee table book does a good job of touching on is the different classes. All the classes that have run are explained, and favorites are spotlighted. So you’ll get a full breakdown of the Le Mans Prototype and GT categories. This alone is so helpful in understanding where the race standards currently are.
10) Formula Ferrari: The First Official Inside Story of the Most Successful Team in the History of Formula 1
Another fine specimen from my exhibit! This book is a superb telling of the story of the world-renowned and beloved prancing horse brand. It is a bit older than other books on the list but still full of juicy Prancing Horse tidbits. I’m a sucker for old motorsport photos, especially from the ’80s and ’90s when everything was a little grainy and the antithesis of 4K resolution. It gives a lot of oh-so-delightfully nostalgic charm to them.
This book sits atop my Schumacher one, and together, they make me look like a Ferrari superfan… which I’m really not, but even I still enjoy both of these. What sets this book apart from others about the brand is that it’s the first sanctioned telling of their story, completely blessed by the Ferrari family. And having one of the most respected Italian sports journalists compile this tale doesn’t hurt either.