You’ll notice I’ve skipped Speed Secrets 4: Engineering the Driver since it no longer seems to be in print and from what I can tell doesn’t relate to you as a driver. It is about everyone around the driver and how to make the driver better; so, one day I might find the book and read it, until then, I jumped forward to the 5th book in the series. This time the book is written by Ross Bentley and Bruce Cleland, but I think Bruce Cleland should get top billing since I’m not noticing any of Ross’s influence in the book other than the first two chapters.
This book focuses on everything external to the actual racing and driving of the car. For instance, it discusses what it takes to get to the top, what you need to know, an overview of the business, teams, marketing, sponsors, PR, and networking. In fact you could just rename the book ‘Marketing for Racers: 101’ and have a pretty good idea of what goes on in the book. The only two chapters that seem to be from Ross are the first two chapters which come from the second Speed Secrets book. After that it is all about the business of racing and what you need to do and know to be successful. The positives and negatives of different approaches are discussed and a lot of time is spent telling you the same thing over, over and over: use common sense, think, plan, be respectful, execute, repeat. No matter what you do. Of course, we all know common sense isn’t so common so I see why they hammer it home all the time.
Speed Secrets 5: The Complete Driver is not so much a book on how to race and how to be successful on the racetrack but how to handle yourself off the racetrack in order to be successful on the track. If you removed the racing aspect of the book it’d be a great book on how to be an entrepreneur since it does discuss items such as getting your foot in the door to potential sponsors (investors), giving your pitch, and how to correctly handle follow-ups to your pitch. It is a quick read, I finished reading it from cover-to-cover in a single sitting. If you’re clueless on how to network or present yourself it is definitely worth the purchase if you want to continue on the track to be a race car driver (or in life for that matter).