|The Sheer Force of Will Power, by David Malsher|
|© 2015 Harper Collins, ISBN 9781460751022 (Hardcover)|
It’s a rather sad reflection on the Australian media that Will Power’s exploits and achievements have garnered such little attention in his homeland. This is a driver who had the talent to have made it all the way to Formula 1, but lacking the funding to make it possible, has gone on to carve out a hugely successful career in the American IndyCar Series that culminated in him winning the 2014 title.
The Sheer Force of Will Power was borne from his championship success in partnership with the journalist David Malsher, whose relentless insistence that Power’s story get written down finally bore fruit.
And it’s a true delight that it was written and published: hot on the heels of Mark Webber’s autobiography Aussie Grit comes another outstanding book on another hugely successful export.
I’ll confess that Power was something of a polarising figure on his path to winning the IndyCar Series title. Immensely talented in the junior categories, he made his mark in the ChampCar World Series with a succession of outstanding wins against the likes of Sébastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy before moving across to the IndyCar Series after the merger of CCWS and the Indy Racing League.
He didn’t take long to find his feet and prove he was one of the best road and street circuit exponents in the field, and he was quickly challenging the series’ leading drivers, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, as a title contender.
But between 2010 and 2012, Power found himself beaten to the post in the final round. Rightly or wrongly, he earned a reputation as a ‘choker’, and outwardly appeared to blame others for his failure to clinch the coveted crown.
In truth, Power’s single-minded focus was on how to win the title. Captured in this book for the first time is the true insight into the Queensland’s brutal honesty and self-reflection on how it took him 20 years to reach the pinnacle of his career when he finally won the crown in 2014.
The victories – and there are many of them – are given rightful coverage. But in contrast to too many autobiographies is also a look inward at some of the lowest and darkest points of his life and career.
There are the disappointments of sponsorships and contracts falling through, severe injuries in accidents, and the darkest point of all: the death of fellow racing driver Dan Wheldon at the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas. It’s one of the toughest personal accounts of death and loss you are likely to read.
Malsher partners brilliantly with Power to structure the book, which opens with an account of the 2014 championship decider at Fontana. Is Power going to falter for the fourth time at the final hurdle, or will he break a long overdue duck and join the exclusive list of title-winners?
Before the reader gets to see the chequered flag wave, they are taken on the true race of Power’s career. It starts out with rural dirt-track races in a Datsun, to intense battles with Will Davison in Formula Ford and with Robert Kubica in the World Series by Renault. There’s the critical support from fellow Aussie Mark Webber, his ultimately fruitless Formula 1 test before the breakthrough in North America.
Malsher’s narrative compliments Power’s own story-telling, while there is added commentary from those inside Power’s own inner circle: his family, teammates, bosses and engineers.
Malsher is a very skilled writer – both as a journalist and story-teller – and his skill in being able to get his subjects to open up with some truly candid insights is repeated for page after page.
Not only is this one of the best motorsport biographies you will ever read, it will rank among the best biographies you will ever read. This is a rare bird and richly deserving of the five-star rating it has earned from us.
The Sheer Force of Will Power is currently available at major book resellers. Our review copy was kindly provided to us by Harper Collins Australia.
Image via Motorsport.com