Book Review: Making It Faster

By Winding Road Staff

April 12, 2017

Making It Faster, by Dan Binks and Norm DeWitt is, in a way, three racing books in one. That assessment is usually damning with faint praise and would reflect a lack of focus. But in this case, we found the results quite charming and compelling.

First, a little background. Dan Binks is the crew chief for Corvette Racing and has been for more than a decade. He was also crew chief for Tommy Kendall's Trans-Am championships with Roush Racing. And he was there for Kendall's two IMSA GTU championships in a Mazda RX-7. Norm DeWitt is an author with an interest in both sports car racing and motorcycle racing.

So, back to the three books. Making It Faster is one part biographical sketch. The book tells a series of stories, mostly in the words of participants, about specific teams and people in sports car racing. Dan Binks is featured, but you get stories from many others including Jackie Stewart, Chris Amon, Roger Penske and Allan McNish. Because of this story-telling foundation, the book is very easy to read (although you should expect some jarring transitions and a bit of an amateur feel to the copy).

The book is also one part technical manual. It isn't full of equations or even details of how specific technologies work. But it is structured around technical topics like chassis, brakes, engine, aerodynamics etc. What it covers in each chapter are some of the major problems that have been solved over the last 60 years or so. You probably won't learn much about the details, but you will get an idea of what it was like to be dealing with specific real technical problems at the time. You come a way with a sense of how much people matter in this sport.

Finally, the book is a sweeping history of motor racing in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. By covering the period from 1950 to 2012, you get a sense of how far things have come. By using specific stories of specific teams and people, you get a strong sense of how change actually happened rather than vague abstractions and cliches (or on the other hand so much detail that you lose the story line).

You can find Making It Faster on Amazon. Proceeds from the book go to support a day camp for disadvantaged kids near Road America.