10 Books Every Aspiring Motorsport Engineer Should Read (Part 1)

At Motorsport Engineer, we believe that knowledge is power. By learning from the finest minds in Motorsport, you can acquire key knowledge and skills that will enable you to develop as an Engineer within the world of motorsport.

Here are the first five books that EVERY aspiring Motorsport Engineer should read!

#1 Race Car Vehicle Dynamics

Written By: William F. Milliken and Douglas L. Milliken

Main Areas Covered:

  • Tyres in race cars
  • Steady-state and transient stability control
  • Chassis set-up and suspension design
  • Basics of aerodynamics

About the book

‘Race Car Vehicle Dynamics’ should be considered as ”the Bible” of racecar design and is essential reading for anyone serious about building a career in the field of motorsports. This book must be at the top of your list of books to buy.

Written for both engineers and motor enthusiasts, this book covers the fundamental aspects of both vehicle dynamics and their application in motor racing. For this, it begins by explaining the forces that affect tyre performance, a critical component on any race car. In addition, the book also explores chassis set-up and design concepts, covering steering and suspension systems. The authors also cover aspects of testing and development for racing cars and explain the “g-g” diagram and how it can be used to improve performance.

The book combines a blend of engineering theory, diagrams and practical cases that make it the go-to source for any race car design project, from Formula Student to Formula 1.

#2 Race Car Aerodynamics

Written By Joseph Katz

Main areas covered:

  • Main aerodynamic concepts and terms
  • Aerodynamic forces
  • Wind Tunnel testing
  • Airfoils and wing profiles

About the book

Race Car Aerodynamics is a great book for any engineer or racing car enthusiast looking to gain an understanding of the fundamental aspects of the aerodynamic development of race cars.

In this fascinating read, high-speed vehicle design concepts are covered, not just for Formula 1, but also for Indy Car and Drag racing. Katz goes into great depth explaining why vehicle aerodynamics and wing profile designs are key to developing the technical aspects of motor racing. As a mainstream development technique for modern racing cars, wind tunnel testing, is also explained in detail and supported by Katz with practical examples.

Providing complete definitions of key aerodynamic terms, equations, relevant forces and clear diagrams, this book is a must-have for any motorsports engineer.

#3 Competition Car Composites: A Practical Handbook

Written by Simon McBeath

Main areas covered:

  • Glass and carbon fibre components
  • Laminating techniques
  • Pattern making and mould construction

About the book

This book from Simon McBeath is one of the best educational resources for anyone who is interested in the topic of composite materials and their application in the field of race cars.

This publication covers the most important aspects of composite materials, such as glass fibre and carbon fibre, which are widely used in the construction of racing cars. McBeath explores the basic principles of the wet and dry laminating techniques involved in composites and describes how pattern making and mould construction serves as the basis for the manufacturing of components. Furthermore, this book also provides an examination of how thermoplastic materials and pre-pregs are employed to manufacture lightweight structural parts.

If your goal is to start a career in the field of composite engineering, or you are simply looking to gain a deeper understanding in this field, this book is perfect for you.

#4 Competition Car Aerodynamics: A Practical Handbook

Written by Simon McBeath

Main areas covered:

  • Basic and advanced aerodynamics
  • CFD and wind tunnels
  • Parts assessments

About the book

A comprehensive, practical guide for race car enthusiasts of every type, Competition Car Aerodynamics is one of the holy-grail books of aerodynamics. Written by Simon McBeath, the handbook provides clear and easy-to-understand steps of how aerodynamics affects single-seater cars, sports racers, club racers, karts, and more.

McBeath includes information on CFD analysis, aero parts assessments, and essential information that can be used by amateur racers to make modifications to their vehicles. The publication explains basic and higher-level concepts of aerodynamics in a practical and easy to understand way, making the information accessible to everyone.

The publication also includes visual explanations through detailed images and graphs that perfectly complement McBeath’s written information.

If you’re interested in the art and science of race car aerodynamics, this book will provide you with the ideal foundation to develop your passion.

#5 Chassis Engineering

Written by Herb Adams

Main areas covered:

  • Suspension geometry
  • Chassis designs
  • How-to’s and advices

About the book

Herb Adams publication ‘Chassis Engineering’ explores a variety of dynamics and handling concepts, as well as key ideas around chassis, suspension, and aerodynamics. With special attention paid to solid axle suspension types, readers are given an overview of all types of suspension assemblies, how they work, and the applications for which they are best suited. Besides, it compares them and presents the advantages of one type over another when faced with differing scenarios.

This book has a strong focus on custom chassis design, going in-depth on the strengths and weaknesses of each design. The author, Herb Adams, goes into detail over the importance of geometric shapes and choosing designs that best speaks to the strengths of each shape. A chapter can also be found on composite chassis, including explanations over carbon fibre, fibreglass, and Kevlar.

Chassis Engineering is an excellent resource for anyone interested in designing and manufacturing a custom chassis.

Be sure to follow Motorsport Engineer for the second half of our ‘must read books’ series!

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