33 YEARS OF PORSCHE: Rennsport and Development, People, Cars, Stories
Peter Falk with Wilfried Müller Published 2016 by Mcklein Publishing (mcklein.de), which supplied the review copy. ISBN 978-3-927458-87-1. Available from Octane Books Review by Mark Holman Any new title from the German publisher Mcklein is a treat, and this book is no exception. Peter Falk held a number of key roles within Porsche for a period of exactly 33 years, three months, three weeks, and three days, until he retired in 1992. Think about what Porsche achieved in those years, and you will get an idea of what Falk’s book covers — from the early development of the 911 to a succession of class and then outright victories at Le Mans, plus the Paris–dakar Rally. Falk came up through testing and development, an amazingly thorough process, which was very demanding on all who were involved, especially before telemetry and computer simulation. He was the kind of hands-on manager who led and learned by example, rather than throwing his weight around. He clearly believed in the importance of working and celebrating (or commiserating) as a team, and his long experience paid off time and again in terms of success on the track or sand dunes: Falk was on the spot, and actively involved. He also co-drove an early 911 to fifth place in the Monte Carlo Rally! One of the many delights of the book is the way it combines the ‘big picture’ with fascinating small details that only someone on the inside would know, from the sad end of Rolf Wütherich (James Dean’s passenger in the actor’s fatal crash), to the very basic hotel and garaging the works team used at Le Mans for many years, to one of the team’s African helpers on a Dakar rally being able to buy a new house with the four used wheels he had been given at the end of the event! He also provides great word portraits of many key Porsche drivers. Within these 408 large pages, supplemented by hundreds of excellent photos, are countless stories that help explain why this German marque met with so much success and how Peter Falk was such a key contributor. The Formuala 1 and Indycar programmes get only a few pages, because he had limited involvement with them, but the rapid road cars, the 906, 917 and 956 sports racers, the Monte Carlo rallies, the 959 Dakar cars, and the amazing ultra-lightweight hill-climb cars all feature strongly, both in terms of their races and the painstaking development that went into them. It’s a must for any Porsche enthusiast (it even has a Porsche part number!), but this superb book demands an even wider audience than that — it’s just brilliant.