Automobilsport and Road & Track Magazines
Great reads with great photography
If you love cars and car racing, you’ll love Automobilsport and Road & Track magazines. Both have different takes on what they do, but both are extremely well written. They both feature lavish amounts of fine photography. The title of the European Automobilsport explains its reason for being. Road & Track has been around since 1947 and has recently undergone a major revision in format, size and scope.
Automobilsport: Racing, history, passion
This thick magazine differs from issue to issue in its focus. Very European in mindset, it covers many different aspects of racing. Rallying, touring cars and sports cars all get their due. The Mirage cover story in issue 26 is a wonderful history over 52 interesting pages. The story takes us from the very beginning in 1967 with the iconic Gulf Racing colors to the unfortunate end of the Mirage story which involved an American constructor and the Andretti family.
The original Mirage M1 was a more aerodynamic version of the Ford GT40. John Wyer and his team eventually began designing and constructing their own cars. Ford small blocks used for the M1 led to a disastrous BRM V12 for the M2 coupe. Cosworth Fords developed from the F1 version powered the Gulf cars thereafter. The Cosworth eventually powered the Mirage GR8 to an overall LeMans victory in 1975, which would prove to be the last season with Gulf sponsorship.
The Harley Cluxton era
For the following season, American Harley Cluxton purchased the cars from Wyer and ran the cars at first with Ford and then later on with Renault turbo power. The independent team was well run with help from John Wyer. Now called an M8 and Cosworth powered in 1976, they were down on top speed and but high on reliability as they finished second to a factory Porsche 936. A heavily modified car with Renault power finished second again at LeMans in 1977 to a factory Porsche 936 while the factory Renaults failed all around them.
For 1978 the car was redesigned as the Renault-powered M9 although still very much based on the older M8. It was quicker but a lack of reliability mitigated against a good finish at LeMans. Redesigned again with very aero bodywork for 1979 as the M10, yet again Ford powered. Sadly, reliability was again lacking and no finish for either of the 2 cars entered resulted. This was the end of the first foray at LeMans for the Cluxton team with Mirages. But Cluxton wasn’t quite done yet.
Group C and LeMans
With the new Group C rules for 1982, Cluxton had the all-new M12 constructed. The dark blue car was yet again Cosworth powered. This time the engine was an enlarged version of the F1 DFV called the DFL. Mario and Michael Andretti were the drivers and hopes were extremely high for a great run. Unfortunately the French tech inspectors initially missed the installation of an oil tank and its coolers at the rear of the car. The team ran the car right through practice and qualifying, only to have the wrongly placed tank and coolers discovered on the starting grid. The car was disqualified and the Andrettis never ran one race lap. Harley Cluxton withdrew the cars and swore he would never enter LeMans ever again.
The Mirage story covers the M1 right through all of the permutations to the M12. A total of 86 photos accompany the wonderful tale of Mirage in worldwide endurance racing.
Similar coverage of Porsche, Chaparral, Toyota-Eagle, BMW M1s, touring and rally cars are covered in other issues. The main story is the highlight, with several other well-covered subjects also in every issue. This is a great magazine for any racing fan, on good paper stock with top-notch printing. It is a great source of research material useful for restorations or modeling and quite collectible.
Road & Track
You have probably read this magazine over the years. Always with an artistic look and always with top writers. Up until very recently it was your standard car magazine with feature stories and lots of car tests. However, print magazines have taken a circulation beating from the daily appeal of the internet and its constant right-up-to-the-minute news.
Given that beating, the editors of Road & Track took a step back and reconsidered the whole thing. Producing a special issue called R&T late in 2020, it featured one theme: motorsport. And it was very, very good.
Now in an enlarged format with beautiful paper, printing and photos, it continued with the top writing that it always had. It was an overwhelming hit with readers. The special issue became the prototype for what will become the norm for Road & Track. Each issue will have but one theme, extensively written about and illustrated. Yearly issues have been cut from 12 to 6, but pages are way up and you’ll have lots to read over the 2 months of each issue.
Issue 2 was also called R&T and went to a new enthusiast club that Road & Track has formed with auto tours and other events. This issue covered cars that have played an important role in movies of all types.
Back to the future
Issue 3 has now reverted to the Road & Track title. This issue featured a flame-painted McLaren 765LT on the cover (blasphemy!). The subject of the issue is custom cars. Not just rods and low-riders either. Porsche 911s and 959s are customized for speed, handling and looks too. No flames on the Porsches thankfully. Ken Block’s series of wild cars has its own section as does some really cool Nissans with retro modern styling. Restomod Camaros get their due along with a V12 version of the Chevy LS crate engine that powers so many custom cars these days. Another great story is about the McLaren 765LT and what makes it totally bonkers.
All in all, Road & Track has taken on a fresh new life for the coming years. It’s quite different from your average car mag and is quite welcome with its move upmarket. I just hope there are no more flame-covered McLarens…..
Where to get them
You can subscribe to Automobilsport here. You can also purchase individual issues from Motorsport Collector right here in the U.S. The magazine makes a great reference for model builders and great reading for fans of the sport of motor racing.
Road & Track can be subscribed to right here.
For more great articles on many aspects of the car and car racing sport/hobby/obsession, click here.