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The Unfair Advantage

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In 1974, Mark Donohue took a year off from driving at the height of his racing career to write "The Unfair Advantage," a candid and revealing book about his journey through the world of auto racing -- from amateur SCCA races in his own '57 Corvette to winning the Indy 500 in Roger Penske's McLaren M16. This new edition contains over 60 additional photographs and comments f ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published November 9th 2000 by Robert Bentley, Inc (first published 1975)
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Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: motorsport, sport
Donohue is a more obscure figure, at least outside the US, than he probably deserves, and even in the US he tends to get mentioned after guys like Foyt and Andretti. A lot of very good judges rated him very highly however, and his results speak for themselves - he won in just about every category and type of car he attempted, and he was Penske's top driver for many years.

More than being a top line driver, though, like Bruce McLaren he was also a very good race engineer, capable of building and d
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
just awsome ... realistic and useful i really needed this one
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The fact this book exists at all is pretty amazing. Professional race car driver Mark Donohue retired at the peak of his career and wrote a biography. Coaxed back into racing he died shortly after the book was published.

This is very much a history of racing in '60s to early '70s. From the book you really get a feel for how the times have changed. Engineering is much better understood and driver safety was virtually nonexistent.
Phil Teves
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great authentic biography of one of the greatest drivers ever.

I followed him in Trans-am when he raced at the New England tracks.

When he was attending Brown he used to autocross at the Quequechan Sports Car Clubs events in the Horseneck (Westport, MA) beach parking lots. A little before my time. When I joined the club we moved to an abandoned Nike site in Dighton, MA. You can still see the tire marks there in Google earth.
Radu Vunvulea
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great view on the topic, different from other books from the same area. An easy book for a weekend.
Felipe CZ
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
If we take a closer look at what we have, like insights or connections, we can leverage our advantage for start-up companies or ourselves in order to succeed.
Jerry Enger
Fun book to read. The grass roots racing we do now is not that different. Cool to see them discover advantages...
Carter Rise Sr
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For the racing fan, this book is really a good read. A unique autobiography solely focused on racing.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable insight into the career of a race driver/engineer. I especially enjoyed the commentary about the development of each of the cars and their challenges.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
At first I was reluctant to give it five stars, but the more I read, the more I liked it. I picked it up on a whim, finding it in a used book area for 50 cents, demonstrating that the conventional wisdom doesn't recognize a champion when it sees one.

This book was made for Post-it tape flags. Like Michael Lewis books, the subject is only a vehicle (see what I did there) for more important life/success/business/engineering/psychology points. For all his famed grouchiness issues toward the end, Do
Nov 29, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People really interesting in cars and racing.
My mom was a massive Mark Donohue fan, and I still have one of her t-shirts from the '70s with his car on it. I grew up around car racing and am interested in the subject.

Mark Donohue was killed in a racing accident not long after this book was published, so reading it is bittersweet at best. Unfortunately, a lot of it is pretty technical and car-centric in a way that really doesn't interest me at all. However, I really like his conversational style of writing, so I'm going to keep going in the
Jim Evans
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best, if not The best book about racing. The book covers several years of racing in the 60s and 70s, and gives some insite into the way motor sports has changed and the way technoledgy has advanced in such a short time. Much of the book is pretty technical and bit repetative, but very entertaining.
Terrell Olvera
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I have always been fascinated by this time period, but this book really brought it to life. I hope video games can introduce a new generation to this era of racing . Definitely a good candidate for a movie. Amazing what they were able to accomplish. A must-read for racing history buffs.
Michael Czeiszperger
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I tend to give memoir writers a pass since they aren't really writers, but couldn't finish this one. There are some interesting technical details in there, and its amazing this level of detail exists about a professional racer, but I just couldn't wade through all of the irrelevant details. ...more
Jordon Welle
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: racing
Great engineering perspective into Donohue's career and the processes used to develop each car he drove. Somewhat dry at times and outdated for the current era, but an interesting look at how things were done in that era. ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it but it was rather dry.
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this... ...more
Ryan Mccann
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and in-depth look in to the career of Donohue.
Magnus Borg
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book if you are into the early days of racing in North America (Can-Am and Trans-Am) and the career of the late Mark Donohue.
Erik Asplund
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