When, during the tumultuous 1976 Formula 1 season, Niki Lauda nearly perished in a conflagration at the Nürburgring and then, severely scarred, courageously fought back to race again only six weeks later, the Austrian earned admiration and adulation world-wide. While the saga of that year, and the battle with James Hunt for the World Championship, has been told many times, the rest of Lauda’s racing has received less attention. This new book redresses that by documenting, race by race, his diverse driving career from 1968 to 1985. Through detailed dissection of each of his 328 races, in an eclectic mix of cars, a vivid picture emerges of a hugely determined and vastly talented racer who, despite many setbacks, left a remarkable legacy. All enthusiasts will treasure this comprehensive and richly illustrated examination of Niki Lauda’s entire competition history.
- Climbing the ladder: starting against his family’s wishes with a Mini in 1968, Lauda drove a Formula Vee Kaimann in 1969 and had a disastrous Formula 3 season with McNamara in 1970 before switching to a Porsche sports car; with progress stalling, he took out a loan to buy a Formula 2 seat at March in 1971.
- Faltering in Formula 1: he débuted with March at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix, then stayed with the team in 1972; he moved to BRM for 1973, still paying his way with further borrowing and some income from racing touring cars — but in all this time he had only one points-scoring Formula 1 finish.
- The Ferrari years: finally Lauda fulfilled his promise after receiving the call to Maranello, winning the World Championship twice in his four years there, in 1975 and 1977, but he left after tensions with the team arose in his final season.
- The Brabham years: Lauda famously won the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix in Brabham’s ‘fan car’, but thereafter the team’s competitiveness declined and he retired at the end of 1979, tired of ‘driving round in circles’ and focused instead on his new airline, Lauda Air.
- The McLaren years: tempted by a salary of unprecedented size, Lauda returned in 1982 after a two-year absence, silenced doubters by winning his third race, and in 1984 secured his third World Championship; at the end of 1985, with a career tally of 25 Grand Prix victories, he hung up his helmet for good.