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The Unfair Advantage Paperback – September 1, 2000


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The Unfair Advantage + Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans + The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit-Lanes of Formula One
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Product Details

  • Series: Driving
  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Bentley, Inc; 2 edition (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837600693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837600697
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...Donohue's book is a must-read. -- LA Car, December 2000<br /><br />...a gripping history of sports cars and road racing. -- Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2000<br /><br />...must-read titles. -- AutoWeek, November 20-26, 2000<br /><br />...the return of The Unfair Advantage means everything good -- Excellence, April 2001<br /><br />Bentley Publishing brings back a book to introduce a singular American motorsports hero to a new generation of racing fans. -- Roundel, February 2001<br /><br />Donohue tells . . . the story of how racing became a science as well as a sport. -- Automobile, February 2001<br /><br />Donohue's storytelling evokes a time when modestly funded (and talented) guys made good. -- Sports Car Market, November 2000<br /><br />Highly recommended. -- 911 & Porsche World, December 2000<br /><br />Several car books have been released recently, and one that really caught our eye is The Unfair Advantage... -- Grassroots Motorsports, December 2000<br /><br />The 25th anniversary edition of The Unfair Advantage brings back the long-sought-after title and adds more than 100 new photos --Hot Rod, January 2001

About the Author

Mark Donohue gained fame in the '60s and '70s as a maverick breed of auto racer who used scientific and engineering skill to win his races. From winning amateur races in his college days as a mechanical engineering student at Brown to taking the checkered flag at the 1972 Indianapolis 500, Mark Donohue strove to understand the dynamics behind high performance, and then perfected his skill in extracting it.He also was a winning co-driver of the 24-hour sports car enduro at Daytona, and he set a world's speed record at Talladega. <P>Of course, racing has been called "the cruel sport;" Mark suffered many losses and disappointments too, both public and private. His life ended tragically at the age of 38 after a 1975 Formula One accident in Austria. But his legacy remains timeless. In fact, every successful driver today owes a debt of knowledge to Mark Donohue's pioneering work in applying science to speed.

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Customer Reviews

Mark and Roger were a great team like Jim Clark and Colin Chapman.
Michael Scott
I finished it quicker than I wished... it's one of those books you just want to keep on reading.
Fernando Morcillo
Very candid story by Mark of his racing experience and people he met in the sport.
Jerry W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dom Miliano VINE VOICE on December 30, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember being in college in the '70's and seeing ads in Road & Track for this book. It sold back then for about $12.00 (first editions, no less!) Unfortunately, a full tank of gas in those days was $2.75 and a bag of White Castle hamburgers was less than $2.00, so the book was out of reach. And then it went out of print, became a classic and got further out of reach. About 8 years ago, I found a copy in our local library and finally got a chance to read it - which I did in one sitting. It was like having Mark Donahue sitting next to you spinning some yarns, telling tall tales and explaining "what it's like out there." I met Mark's son, David, a few years after that at a Porsche club meeting and asked if he had a copy of the book to sell! He told me he didn't even have one for himself. He did say that there was talk of doing a reprint and lucky for us, it has happened. If you want to relive one of the most exciting periods in racing (with remarkable insights into the growth of the Roger Penske juggernaught), by all means get yourself a copy of this book. I just received the soft cover version and it's a keeper. Another wonderful racing book is Sterling Moss's - "All But My Life."
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Allan on January 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Being thirtysomething and more familiar with European than American motor racing (for inexplicable reasons there seem to be a great divide there, as also Mark Donohue alludes to) this was not first on my list of must-read's. However, unable to escape continued references in Autoweek and picking up interest in technique and technical aspects through own amateur formula racing I decided to buy this book in November - with no regret.
Donohue, while refraining from sidetracking into his personal life, nonetheless comes across as a whole human being, complete with anxiety, jealousy, hopes, fears, enthusiasm, dissapointment, pride and competitive spirit. I would have liked to work with this man who was a gifted driver and a great pioneer in motorsports.
His achievements were many and hereof his innumerous victories and role in building the Penske empire merely a part of the story. Donohue developed the "American", a.k.a. modern driving technique of braking, turning and accelerating in one smooth integrated action. He made strides in understanding aerodynamics, suspension geometry, "bumpsteer", tyre applications and basically all other aspects of driving and setting up a race car. He drove allmost all on-road racecar types of the era, including Nascar, Canam, Transam, LeMans, Formula 1, IROC, Formula A - unlike most other drivers, he was involved in several completely different race programs in the same season; a tremendous effort.
Reading this book will give you an appreciation of the complexity of setting up and keeping a race car competitive. It will not teach you how to do it but you may just have the interest to find out once you have been smitten by Donohue's indomitable thirst for knowing what makes a car do what under which circumstances and what you in turn can do to get the most out of it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mark Donohue was the thinking mans racer. He not only knew how to make a "plain Jane" into a race car but he knew WHY his steps worked. He had no need to worry about racing being a "black art"...He was an engineer who applied his knowledge to his racing projects and had fun while he was doing it. His book could be used for a "basic training" manual for a "racer-in-training". His untimely death "short-chainged" the racing world. If we were still graced with his presence, he would SHURELY have changed (for the better) the landscape of racing as we find it today. He is sorely missed but at least his memory and his book can teach us a few things about this "black art".
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Dangelo on January 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In many ways I sought after and bought this book because of its collector value and mistique. I was very surprised, however, to find that it is well written and quite and interesting read. The book is organized around the various cars that Donahue raced throughout his career, until his first (and unfortunately not permanent) retirement. He discussed the people involved in each of the cars, the challenges faced, mistakes made, and unfair advantages gained through innovation, preparation, and discovery. He is surprisingly candid about his own failings and feelings, but it is strictly professional. There are really only a handful of sentences that speak about his private life.
If you are interested in American racing throughout the 60's and early 70's this is a fascinating book. Donahue comes accross as insightful, humble, and at times insecure. It is a remarkable contrast to the overwhelming ego presented in books like FASTER! by Jackie Stewart. It's not an easy book to find, nor inexpensive, but if you are interested in the genre it is well worth the trouble and expense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I waited to be reprinted for a long time. Mark's honesty about his weaknesses and fears is a sign of his strength and desire to be the best. I admired him for his accomplishments and even more for his drive after reading this book. He helped make Roger Penske the racing legend he is. Will we ever see a man like Mark again? I doubt it!
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