Before racing season gets underway, many drivers have a common ritual: they go back and reread Piero Taruffi's "The Technique Of Motor Racing." This elegantly slim volume first appeared in the late 1950s but has lost exactly none of its relevance.
"Technique" is not a story about race driving, it's not a memoir, it's not a collection of essays. It's a textbook. The work is essentially an extended treatise on cornering, including page after page of calculations (Taruffi was a trained industrial engineer) and precise drawings of cornering lines. The book is a significant reminder that fast driving is really a matter of controlling Newtonian physics to your own ends.
One really doesn't need to talk about how math pervades the automotive world. Even the most intensely tactile and emotional road experiences are the function of endless calculations. And, as owen-magnetic points out, so is the comparing of two stars in a reasonably-priced car:
X > Ryan Reynolds > Tom Cruise
X > Eyes Wide Shut > MI:1 > Kick in the Nuts > MI:3 >The Green Lantern
Katie Holmes < Scarlet Johansson < X < Pre-Botox Nicole Kidman
How do I solve for X?
Photo of Piero Taruffi in the Ferrari 412MI by George Phillips, from the cover of the first edition of "Technique."