BMC Competitions Department Secrets

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9781904788683: BMC Competitions Department Secrets
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The inside story of a legendary works, Competition Department is told by the three competition managers of the highly successful BMC/British Leyland race and rally teams based at Abingdon. This book reveals the inner workings of one of the most successful motorsport teams Britain has ever seen. Based on previously unpublished internal factory memos, other documents, and the recollections of the prime movers, it describes the ups and downs and the politics of big-time competition. An excellent and entertaining read, no motorsport enthusiast should be without this book.

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About the Author:

Stuart Turner has enjoyed a lifelong involvement in motorsport, both as competitor and team manager. After becoming British Champion navigator, he went on to manage the BMC Competitions. He is now the Chief Executive of the Motorsport Safety Fund, which produces safety training material to help the sport. In 2009, Stuart received the Prince Michael Award of Merit, the Motor Sport Association\u2019s most prestigious award for services to British motorsport.

Marcus Chambers was BMC Competition Manager from 1955-1961, the period during which the Works Austin-Healey was in its heyday. His automotive experience prior to this included driving HRGs at Le Mans, with a class win in 1939, and acting as team manager during 1947 and 1948. He is also the author of "Works wonders: BMC and Rootes." Marcus passed away in 2009 at the age of 98.

Peter Browning - BMC Competition Manager 1967-1970, when the Department closed, this was the period when the Works Sebring MGC was at the fore.


Motorsport magazine, December 2005, UK
This is a fun read, detailing the underbelly of BMC's competition department. Written by a triumvirate of former managers, it gives an insight into how they functioned within - and despite - BMC and Leyland. Including many never seen before documents, it paints a refreshingly honest picture. It's especially interesting to learn how much the drivers were paid and the terms of their contracts: some of them really couldn't negotiate.

The images are wonderful, too. We particularly liked the one of Nancy Mitchell door-handling an MG Magnette saloon. Entered in the 1956 Tulip Rally, her event was over before it started after a scrutineer ran a magnet over the, ahem, standard car and discovered the body panels were made of aluminum. Excellent stuff.

Classic Cars magazine, January 2006, UK
 The joint authors of this 192-page book are the three men that managed BMC's competitions department from 1955 to 1970. Exposing the secrets of this successful department is a compelling theme, but the book's execution lets it down.

Each of the authors narrates extracts from their tenure, but largely through captioned pictures, which make up the bulk of the book. Some of the reprinted memos and internal documents provide the secrets, but they're largely impenetrable to all but the most devoted BMC fan. You'll have to read every word to find the interesting bits.

Disappointing, but a valuable reference work.

Octane magazine, January 2006, UK
The authors' names say it all: BMC's legendary triumvirate of competitions managers spills the beans on what really went on when preparing works entries. Internal memos reveal some fascinating asides – such as the recommendation that each crew take a handgun on the 1968 London-Sydney ...

Australian Classic Car online  (, July 2006, Australia
In case you haven't heard of Marcus Chambers, Stuart Turner and Peter Browning, they were successive managers of the BMC Competition Department from 1955 to 1970. During this period, the Department evolved from a collection of disjointed forays into racing and rallying into the most successful of all company motor sport teams.

Read how Marcus Chambers struggled to pull together a coherent team of disparate drivers in a range of unsuitable vehicles. When Stuart Turner took over, the team was well on the way to success, initially with cars like the Austin-Healey 3000 and later with the Mini Cooper. After Turner moved on to Ford, Peter Browning shepherded the Department through management indecision and the mistakes of the Leyland period.

The book is laden with hundreds of contemporary photos but reading the inter-departmental memos and letters are even more revealing, especially the minutes of Departmental meetings. The lists of instructions to teams competing in the rallies of the day, even detailing their accommodation, are also intriguing. This book will fascinate anyone interested in the halcyon days of the BMC Competitions Department.

Baird Foster for the Austin Healey Club of America, April 2006

Secrets! Here's your opportunity to go behind the scenes with the former managers of the British Motor Corporation (BMC Competitions Department) to learn extraordinary and surprising facts, exploits, policies and politics, all documented with some information and photos never before published.

For the true enthusiast who is interested in the Austin Healey's historic role in the success of the BMC Competitions department, and who wants to learn more about other BMC competition machines and the team effort behind them, this book is a must read.

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9781845849948: BMC Competition Department Secrets

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Publisher: Veloce Publishing, 2016

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Marcus Chambers
Published by Veloce Publishing (2006)
ISBN 10: 1904788688 ISBN 13: 9781904788683
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