Icon Books – 978-184831-002-5 – £10.99 – 200 pages
Ireland’s motor-racing history dates back to the early 1900’s with the hosting of the Gordon Bennett race in the Midlands. Since then Grand Prix and numerous International races have been held which sparked the first of many Irish drivers and teams entering the global motorsport scene. One such driver that created a stir was Dundalk’s Tommy Byrne who nearly made it to the big time but found obstacles in his way, be it professional or personal.
Having won British and European Formula Ford Championships in the early ‘80s culminating in becoming British Formula 3 Champion in 1982, he entered Formula 1 with the low budget Theodore team and had fallen out of favour within a year. Forays in various US and Mexican race series and driving instruction jobs followed, as did a trail of heavy drink and drug taking sessions. This no-holds barred autobiography nakedly describes life for Tommy Byrne on both sides of the race track. He describes how Ayrton Senna feared him most and how his test with McLaren was allegedly sabotaged after lapping around Silverstone faster than anyone else at the time. Eddie Jordan’s comment sums it all up – “Forget Senna and Schuey. Tommy Byrne was the best of them all.”