This is the autobiography of Tony Southgate, one of motorsport's most prolific and versatile racing car designerst. The author writes of a career which brought him into contact with some of motorsport's most significant and at times colourful personalities and describes how he helped to raise the performance of their teams by constantly pushing forward the boundaries of racing car design, in particular through a growing knowledge of aerodynamics. His story reveals the intense pressures which racing car designers endure as they seek to create cars which put them ahead of the game despite intense competition. He also recalls moments of great sadness following the loss of drivers in fatal accidents when safety standards at race tracks fell far short of today's acceptable level. The quantity and variety of the book's illustrations emphasize the versatility of the author's skills and their impact on single-seater and sports car design through some of the most interesting decades of racing car development.
Teams for which the author was solely responsible for car design during his period of engagement were: AAR Eagle, BRM, Shadow, Arrows, Chevron, Theodore, Osella, Ford, TWR Jaguar, Toyota and TWR Nissan. In addition, he also contributed to the design and construction of cars of the Lola, Brabham, Lotus, Lister, Ferrari and Audi teams.
Coventry-born Tony Southgate's early hobby was building model aircraft and boats, but after an engineering apprenticeship he designed and competed with his own 750cc racing car before securing his first job as a design draughtsman with Lola Cars in 1962. This was the beginning of a brilliant 38-year career during which he became the sole designer of almost 50 different racing cars, and assisted in the construction of a further 25 either as design assistant, design consultant or chief engineer. Always at the forefront of international competition, his cars achieved victories in the 'triple crown' of major races: the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, and were driven by some of the world's best known drivers. Always in demand, he worked for no fewer than 17 different teams In Europe, the United States and Japan and, widely respected both throughout the motorsport industry and amongst knowledgeable enthusiasts, he has been a popular speaker at motor clubs and historic racing events since his retirement from the drawing board.