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Driven To Crime: True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

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During his short appearance, he ill-advisedly boasted to presenter Quentin Willson that he had once driven his McLaren F1 at 170mph on the M40 motorway. Whether you have been involved in the sport or not, it is a window on the human condition that is rarely demonstrated with such honesty and clarity. Immediately after the Brands Hatch race, Munroe funded an extravagant trip to the third round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Mosport in Canada for Goodwin and several AM Racing personnel.

She posed next to the car dressed in white racing overalls, together with Munroe and Calum Lockie, the team’s professional driver, who was to share driving duties and had been introduced to Munroe by driver coach Les Goble. By the time he had reached his 20s, the nearest he had come to owning any kind of ‘performance car’ was very much more modest. As disenchantment grew with what he felt was a meaningless existence, it simply fuelled his dreams more strongly. The whole of this enterprise was funded by unauthorised payments by McGraw Hill,’ said Sally Howells for the prosecution. To feed his apparently insatiable appetite for fame and attention, Munroe had hired a public relations specialist, Panic Publicity, at the start of the season, and this company probably organised the original Soho launch.In defence of his 36-year-old client, Peter Warne told the court: ‘Munroe describes himself, or his creation, as “a monster which he could not stop”. With it all seeming so easy, the regularity with which he sent phoney invoices to his employers spiralled out of control. His ambitions knew no boundaries and he acquired from the Parabolica Motorsport team a McLaren F1 GTR, a spectacular racing car that had won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995. Crispian Besley must have taken many years and had countless brushes with the legal complexities of the system before producing this staggeringly good book.

For all his many failings, which included a lack of talent behind the wheel of a racing car, what is undeniable is that this figure of intrigue and amusement amongst the paddock crowd was not only passionate about fast cars but also had great taste in them.Behind the wheel at Silverstone, however, was not Lockie but Chris Goodwin, who coincidentally had raced the very same chassis for its previous owners in the 1997 FIA GT Championship and had been drafted in for this session.

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