WEC: Cover to Cover

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Event pro­grammes have always been a part of race week­ends. From the art­work of yes­ter­year to the new graph­ic designs which take the cov­er pages today, there is always some­thing about pick­ing up your pro­gramme before the rac­ing begins. How­ev­er, it can be dif­fi­cult to find out what the pro­grammes look like if you are not at the event.

ProgrammesThat is no longer an issue. Thanks to Mal­colm Mitchell of Motor Rac­ing Pro­gramme Cov­er, over 21000 pro­gramme cov­ers from race tracks across 66 coun­ties have been archived for all to see. In the col­lec­tion, thanks to con­trib­u­tor and endurance rac­ing fan Paul Clarke, every FIA World Endurance Cham­pi­onship pro­gramme since the inau­gur­al round of the series at Sebring in 2012 have a place in the archive.

The project to col­lect motor­sport pro­gramme cov­ers came about back in 1998. Mal­colm explained “The web­site came about on the back of track edit­ing for Micro­prose Grand Prix 2”.

When Paul Hoad’s Track Edi­tor came out, peo­ple start­ed mak­ing cir­cuits of the world of all dif­fer­ent eras. It was already pos­si­ble to patch the menus in the game, and so it was nat­ur­al to want a more rel­e­vant ‘track map’ to go with each new cir­cuit.” Explained Mal­colm.

Micro­prose Grand Prix 2 was the orig­i­nal demand for motor­sport pro­gramme cov­er

He con­tin­ued, “Some­one came up with the idea of incor­po­rat­ing pro­gramme cov­ers, and I vol­un­teered to gath­er them togeth­er, and so ‘The Grand Prix Pro­gramme Cov­er Project’ was born!” Said web­site founder, Mal­colm.

He added, “That was in 1998. It real­ly is thanks to Paul Hoad that the site exists, for with­out the Track Edi­tor, there wouldn’t have been any demand for a col­lec­tion, and so I would nev­er have start­ed one.”

How­ev­er Mal­colm has col­lect­ed only a few of the pro­grammes him­self. He explained, “I have actu­al­ly only been to a hand­ful of races before, and the clos­est I have come to sports­cars were the 70s sports pro­to­types at the Super­prix at Brands a cou­ple of years ago (2013).”

The archive relies whol­ly on donat­ed scans and pic­tures of pro­grammes. Paul Clarke is a col­lec­tor who has every WEC pro­gramme in his pos­ses­sion.

Paul’s got it cov­ered. A pro­gramme from each sea­son of the WEC

Although Paul doesn’t get to many races these days he has man­aged to con­tin­ue with his pro­gramme col­lect­ing. How­ev­er, he did used to make it to the GT events of the 1990’s. He shared, “My favorite mem­o­ries of the BPR GT days has to be the McLaren F1 GTR, 911 GT1, CLK GTR and the Panoz. I can still remem­ber the dis­tinct sound of each of their engines”

Mer­cedes’ CLK GTR had suc­cess in the 1990’s

Infact the archive goes back well before the time of the FIA World Endurance Cham­pi­onship. The 1990’s saw a major change in endurance rac­ing with the Group C era came to an end. How­ev­er endurance rac­ing quick­ly returned with GT cars.

British Endurance Old and new
Left to Right: The final British Round of the World Sports­car Cham­pi­onship along­side the first British round of the FIA GT Cham­pi­onship

You can view Paul’s full col­lec­tion of WEC Pro­grammes here as well as many more from the rest of the motor­sport scene at MotorRacingProgrammeCover.com.

Images — Motor Rac­ing Pro­gramme Cov­er and James Clarke/WEC-Mag­a­zin