The books I have listed here I have read from cover to cover. Please keep in mind that the comments I have written next to each picture are only my opinions. I am in no way an expert editor/critic, so please take what I say with a grain of salt. The purpose of creating this page was to help provide guidance for others trying to select the right book for their needs. All these books can be purchased locally or online from amazon.com, "Borders", or "Barnes & Noble".
- "The Loud Speaker Design Cookbook" by Vance Dickason. Copyright 1991. 142 pages. This book centered on speaker enclosures and calculating design dimensions. It went into great depth on speaker placement and tuning of sub boxes. Not a fun book to read, but a must have for the serious IASCA competitor.
- "Turbochargers" by Hugh MacInnes. Copyright 1984. 155 pages. This book kinda sucked. I think at the time of the printing, turbocharging was still somewhat of a 'black art'. The author explained very well how to design a turbocharger system from the ground up and how everything worked, BUT he basically said after that to use trial and error and hope it works! I would not recommend this book for todays import tuner.
- "High Performance Honda Builder's Handbook" by Joe Pettitt. Copyright 1996. 128 pages. This book was... okay. I did learn a few things from it so I don't have a problem recommending it to others. The thing I found disturbing about it was several parts of the book were very biased towards certain manufacturers. I have to wonder if those companies didn't sponsor the book to hype up 'their' products. If you can read past the subliminal advertising contained in this book, it had some useful information.
- "Secrets of Solo Racing" by Henry A. Watts. Copyright 1989. 173 pages. This is a great book for anyone that does Solo Racing. The book explained basic racing techniques, the proper line, and several other key factors of race driving very well.
- "How to Make Your Car Handle" by Fred Puhn. Copyright 1981. 200 pages. This book has tons of formulas and techniques for car setup. One problem of this book was the author got a little carried away with details which made the book really boring and drag on and on... It's critical race information, but a little too advanced for your average car nut. This book is better suited as a reference book vs reading material. However, if you want to know how to set up a full blown "race car", this book is for you. If you're looking for a book to help you get the most from your street car, then skip this book and just read "Performance Handling" which is detailed below.
- "Going Faster" This is by far the best book I've read yet on racing. Not only was the information critical to know, the author made it interesting to read. The main thing that made this book so great was the fact that it wasn't just one racer's perspective on getting quick lap times. It was one author writing the book but he constantly referenced the opinions and experiences of several other highly successful racers. Great pictures and examples of "the racing line" too.
- "Brake Handbook" by Fred Puhn. Copyright 1985. 176 pages. You think I would have learned from "How to Make Your Car Handle", that I wouldn't get another book from the same author??? Unfortunately this was the only readily available book I could find on brake systems. All I wanted to know was some common problems and fixes to my current brakes on my Integra since the factory manual doesn't tell you hardly anything about them. When I completed reading this book I ended up not only understanding the brake system in my car, but just about EVERY system ever developed! This book wasn't THAT bad but it was a little boring in some spots.
- "Performance Handling" - How to Make Your Car Handle, Techniques for the 1990s by Don Alexander. Copyright 1991. 160 pages. This author was pretty good at holding my attention on a realatively boring subject. Part of the reason this book was easier to read than Fred Phun's was the fact that it focused on todays cars and the examples were more up to date. He also didn't nearly go into as much detail as Fred Puhn did. The book just gives the information that you will need to know and most likely use on today's street vehicles and prefabed race cars. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that would like to get the most G's from their car. It doesn't matter if you are a high performance street driver, autocrosser, or road racer. This book will help you understand the "hows" and "why's" of suspension systems. He did seem real biased towards Eibach and Suspension Techniques but it could have just been that they were the only major makers of aftermarket suspension components at the time.
- "Driving in Competition" by Alan Johnson. Copyright 1976. 156 pages. This book is really old but for $9.95 from amazon.com why not? I found it enjoyable to read and even after reading all my other books first I still came away with a little more knowledge and understanding. An interesting tidbit that I found after reading this book was that the same principles applied even 20 years ago.
- "Drive to Win" by Carroll Smith. Copyright 1996. This book starts off really slow and is fairly difficult reading the entire way through. It had a LOT of good stuff every race car driver should know, but it was HARD to keep reading more than a couple pages at at time. The one different thing that made this book unique from the others I've read is the fact that it's written from a pit crew managers perspective, not a race car driver! Carroll Smith raced cars for several years in his early days but now has been more involved in the engineering/designing/pit crew area of the sport. The main thing I didn't like was the fact that he comes across REALLY cocky. He may have a right to be but it still gets old reading about how he is always so damn right! One amusing thing though was his constant sexual comments. Most of the time it would just be a small hint, but in one place it mentioned that you need to keep focused on driving, not looking at the "48DD's" at the exit of turn 4. In another paragragh it said it's a good idea to get laid the night before a race so you'll have a clear head the next morning. I read that to my wife but she didn't find it as amusing as I did. Hee hee!
- "Speed Secrets" by Ross Bentley. Copyright 1998. 160 pages. This book is written by a race car driver for a race car driver and he just gives you the bare bones basics to focus on. The author doesn't go into great detail and bore you to death. The easy reading, easy to understand graphs and pictures make this book a joy to read.
- "Bob Bondurant on High Performance Driving" by Bob Bondurant with John Blakemore. Copyright 1993. 144 pages. This is decent book. The introduction is a bit long while Bob tells you basically his entire racing history. After that he gets down to business and tells you what you need to do as a driver. It's got a lot of references to his school here in Phoenix, AZ trying to sell it to you (although I don't blame him). It's a little vague for a novice or someone without much experience thought. "Going Faster" and "Speed Secrets" I still think are better but this one is still worth reading. Someday I will hopefully have the money to attend his school. He seems like a nice guy, it looks like a lot of fun, and I'm sure I could learn quite a bit from him and his staff.
- "Think to Win" The New Approach to Fast Driving by Don Alexander (Foreward by Mark Martin). Copyright 1995. 259 pages. This book took a very different approach on race car driving. Instead of focusing on the driving aspect of the sport, it identifies the emotions and thought process that goes through a race car drivers mind and teaches you how to deal with those emotions. It sounds kinda corny but I found it has really been a big help for me. The author also stresses the importance of having a plan, making a commitment to that plan and how to stay on track to fullfill that plan and meet your goals.