Book Review, Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence At Speed

Michael Argetsinger whose past biographical accomplishments include Walt Hansgen: His Life and the History of Post-War American Road Racing hits a home run with his biography on the late, great Mark Donohue. However, many of us who were fans of Donohue and read his 1976 autobiography, The Unfair Advantage may have been hesitant of a book on the prototypical Team Penske driver. No need to worry, Mr. Argetsinger dug deep to find many nooks and crannies of Donohue’s life that his fans may not have been aware of. In a day in which many newly released motorsports books just rehash many of the same facts printed elsewhere, this book provides much information and insight into the respected driver.

Happily the book also looks into how Donohue’s life and career were shaped by his friends, family, and fellow drivers, and we hear from many of those same people. One nice aspect of the book is the diversity of the motorsport experiences the reader absorbs. Back before multi-million dollar retainers, drivers had to race to earn money and experience. They raced everywhere they could. Thus Mr. Argetsinger takes us on a journey in which we follow Donohue’s career in SCCA, USRRC sports cars, Trans-Am cars, Indy Cars, Can-Am, the NASCAR circuit, Formula One and even midget racecars.

Some consider, the Unfair Advantage as incomplete, and one-dimensional, however Mr. Argetsinger has finished the job. The book fills in many interesting details and anecdotes, and rounds out the story of Mark’s thrilling life. What we have is a finished portrait of one of America’s great racing drivers, a diverse driver, and a thinking man’s driver, who was respected by his peers and taken far too soon. The autographed limited edition, includes a CD of Donohue explaining aspects of the Ford GT40, is well worth the price of $100; the standard edition is priced at $39.95. The book, Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed, is a worthy addition to any motorsports library.

Author: Michael Argetsinger
Publisher: David Bull Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 8 3/8? x 9?, 344 pages
Photographs: 15 b/w and 25 color
ISBN: 978 1 935007 02 9
Price: $39.95

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