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Motorsports Coffee Table Books by Sheilah Villari
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The best motorsports coffee table books for all racing fans

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.

1) Owners’ Workshop Manuals

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.

2) NASCAR 75 Years

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.

3) Schumacher: The Official Inside Story of the Formula One Icon

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.

4) Porsche at Le Mans: 70 Years

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.

5) IMSA 1969 to 1989

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.

6) RACEWKND World Champions

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.

7) Formula 1 Circuits: Maps and statistics from every Grand Prix track

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.

8) BMW M: 50 Years of the Ultimate Driving Machines

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.

9) Le Mans 100: A Century at the World’s Greatest Endurance Race

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.

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Integra Type S
Buying GuidesFeatures

Tire sealant saved my ass and it can save yours too

Behold the most star-studded write-up about what’s seemingly the most lazily hashed-together roadside solution to ever come with any new car or sit on shelves at your nearby Autozone. But! I insist it’s worth talking about. Hey, you clicked on this, didn’t you? You made that choice. Now sit here and read about me rambling all about tire sealant and tire repair kits.

Story time!

You know, those gimmicky little toy chests that come under the back seat or in the trunk of your shiny new car? Or perhaps you’ve seen them collecting dust on shelves at stores. They’re those things you read about in dealership brochures or press releases and think, “Oh geez, I really wish you just included a damn spare tire at that point.” But turns out, at least for anything short of your tire exploding or being straight-up stolen, we shouldn’t underestimate tire sealant.

While we’re on this, allow me to also state that road debris should not be scoffed at, no matter how small. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be writing this stupid article. But no. Some missing chunk of someone’s crap-pile jalopy at a turnout in Angeles Crest Highway chose me as its lucky winner and dressed the tire of my Integra Type-S loaner as Venom Snake from Metal Gear Solid V. There was a triangular shard in the center tread block, which would have been repairable if not for its size creating a big enough slash for America’s Tire to deem it as a must-replace.

Integra Type S
Image: Jeric Jaleco

Thankfully, the Acura press fleet manager notified me that they had full replacement wheels and tires on hand and could swap out the impaled rubber so long as I could make it from my friend’s place in Palmdale to their HQ in Torrance. So I made the journey the morning after the puncture after having already racked up 50-ish miles and was about to rack 80 more. As sketchy as that was, it was a trip I couldn’t have completed if the tire sealant kit in the trunk didn’t do such a commendable job at, well, its job.

People always taught me sealant kits were gimmicks and to never bother with them. And to a degree, which we’ll discuss at the end, they’re kind of right. But man, in a pinch, these can save you from being stranded waiting for a tow atop a mountain or the annoyance of working a shitty car jack to mount some shitty spare donut. The bag-o’-goo sloshed inside the tire, made its way to the puncture, and sealed just enough to hold air pressure for the following evening and morning until I could limp it to an America’s Tire and the press fleet HQ in Torrance, totaling well over 100 miles on the still-impaled tread block. Tire sealant works. It’s not the best nor the most permanent. But it works.

It spared me a weekend of headaches and can work for you, too. Yes, this is propaganda. Here are some preemptive solutions to any future tire woes you may or may not have, followed by the facts on what’s the deal with tire sealant.

Tire sealant kits for sale

Fix-a-Flat Tire Sealant 2-Pack

What’s better than one can of Fix-a-Flat? Here’s a perfect pick for a multi-car garage or if you’re just unlucky enough to keep having this problem. This two-pack of aerosol cans can come in larger quantities or be changed to a six-pack if you’d like.

STP Tire Fix Sealant and Inflator

Presenting yet another gift from a household name in car-care goodies. STP, also known for its filters, fuel additives, and oil treatments, delivers a quick and easy way to have some peace of mind on the road. This 16-ounce aerosol touts its ability to create a proper seal for punctures up to a quarter-inch wide for up to three days.

Slime 2-In-1 Tire & Tube Premium Sealant 1-Gallon Jug

Now, here’s a fun one for owners of off-highway toys or trailers. Or maybe you’re just especially unlucky, and the tire gods hate you. Either way, this one-gallon unit is great for tending to tire impalements for non-car applications like motorcycles, ATVs, or trailers. Because yes, even the tow rig needs a hand from time to time. Keep an air compressor handy, however, as there’s no method of inflating the tires with what’s essentially a repurposed Fast Orange jug. 

FAQS

Q. Is tire sealant a permanent fix for a punctured or flat tire?

  • No. Absolutely not. So don’t even think about filling your tire with that sticky slop and calling it a day for the next 10,000 miles. If anything, tire sealant kits are the least “permanent” and most volatile method for fixing a tire. Like my situation, it’s best in a pinch, and even I pushed it much farther than the generally recommended maximum of three days or 100 miles. After use, it’s best practice to hurry to a tire shop for repair or replacement. So don’t be me and push your luck.

Q. Is tire sealant and a tire repair kit the same thing?

  • Kind of. Technically, tire sealant is a type of tire repair kit. Tire repair kits can generally be anything from a patch kit or plug to that gooey stuff in a can that auto stores and automakers love so much. But no, a tire repair kit is not exclusively a tire sealant kit, but a tire sealant kit is definitely one of many forms of tire repair kits. 

Q. What are the disadvantages of tire sealant kits?

  • A big reason for tire sealant’s lack of permanence is that the formula can dry out and harden over time, reducing its ability to maintain its seal over the puncture. It’s also easy to use improperly. Additionally, failure to properly distribute the sealant evenly around the tire could possibly result in a weight imbalance that causes slight wheel vibration. So use with care and follow those instructions, folks. 

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