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November 15, 2019
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A Chequered Life - Graham Warner and The Chequered Flag

A Chequered Life - Graham Warner and The Chequered Flag

By Richard Heseltine
About the Author

25x20.7cm • 160 pages • 140 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845844-13-4

£ 30.00 Postage + P&P (eBook prices vary, and delivery is free)

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• The first and only book on the subject
• Graham Warner has previously ignored requests to do a book
• Taps into massive nostalgia for historic motor sport
• Covers a golden era in rallying in addition to circuit racing
• Many images from Graham’s own archive
• Many iconic marques and models included
• Features anecdotes about more than 20 famous F1 drivers
• Offers a behind-the-scenes look, warts and all
• Also appeals to aviation enthusiasts
• Covers the restoration of a Blenheim bomber


This is the first and only account of the Chequered Flag race team and its charismatic founder, Graham Warner. It charts the highs and lows, the victories and losses, and features interviews with the man himself and and several star drivers of the 1960s and ’70s. Accompanied by 150 photographs, many previously unpublished, plus a look at Graham’s subsequent career as a fighter aircraft expert and restorer, this is a unique story of a fascinating life in motorsport.


This is the story of Graham Warner and his plucky London-based dealership/race team, the Chequered Flag, which bested all-comers in most major motorsport disciplines. Former RAF man Warner competed at international level as a sports car driver, created the Gemini brand of Formula Juniors as a manufacturer, fielded cars on behalf of Lotus, Brabham and McLaren as an entrant, and as a talent spotter, he gave Jim Clark his maiden start in a single-seater, later running drivers such as Jackie Stewart, Jackie Ickx, Piers Courage and many more on motorsport’s nursery slope. Having reached the pinnacle of Formula One with a privateer Brabham, Warner changed tack and fielded the fearsome Lancia Stratos with memorable success in rallying, before returning to his first love of aviation. Here for the first time is the full story of one of the unsung heroes of motorsport.

Independent Reviews

Book of the Month – Warner’s life has, indeed, been a chequered one, and this book will make a fine legacy.

... a well written and illustrated book that throws light on a remarkable career and will interest both racing and aviation enthusiast alike.
Blenheim Society Journal

The ups and downs of this story makes a good read ... it is clear that Graham Warner has packed in enough action, drama and intrigue over the years to last several lifetimes.
Antique and Collectors Trader

Highly entertaining ... Written with Warner, it serves not only as a biography, but also a tribute to the Chequered Flag equipe that he founded ... A brilliant read.
Classic & Sports Car UK

Running to 160 pages and containing a wonderfully evocative selection of period black and white plus colour pictures, Retro-Speed has no hesitation in making A Chequered Life: Graham Warner and The Chequered Flag, our Book of the Year.
Retro Speed

The book is easy to read, gently laid out and superbly written by Richard Heseltine; complimented by some very rare and fascinating images through the decades ... This book takes you on a motorsport rollercoaster from sprints and hill climbs to Formula 1 and international rallying, with informed detail from just about every event. Taking in the huge highs and the deep lows of his life, business and racing, this book is both detailed and sympathetic, you get the full story not just the glory ... For those of us with a life less interesting I recommend a large brandy and a comfortable chair when you start this book, you may find you are going to be there a while, unable to put it down ... Highly recommended a fascinating read.
Classic Car

Warner’s has been a full life and the pages are dense with facts and anecdotes, plus wonderful B&W photos sourced from the man himself.
Motor Sport

A fascinating and perceptive inside story of an exciting period of motor racing history. Richard Heseltine has done well to chronicle this and let Warner express himself in largely his own words so the book flows like a long interview. A compelling read, especially for those who were watching from the crowd in those days.
Keiron Fennelly

Just when you thought there was nothing new left in motoring to read about, here is a hitherto untold story ...
This is a first hand account of how [Graham Warner] ran a rally team with the legendary Lancia Stratos and 131 Arbath. The story is complemented by many previously unpublished pictures of these iconic cars. Fascinating.
Auto Italia

The first and only account of the Chequered Flag race team and its charismatic founder, Graham Warner Heseltine has written ... an entertaining and lively book and the large selection of photographs help to enhance the tale.
Old Stager

a great read when you love motorsports and passionate people.
Liebe su Ihm (Love for Porsche)

The book provides a good insight into the British racing scene in the '50s, '60s and '70s. It includes many previously unpublished photos and has a place in any library that aims to cover this period.

Additional Information

Covers the period 1958-82 (race team), and the following models: AC Cobra (289 & 427), Brabham BT42, Aston Martin DB4Z, Fiat 131 Abarth, Gemini Formula Juniors, Lotus Seven, Lotus Eleven, Lotus Elite, Lotus Elan/26R, Lancia Stratos, McLaren M4, Porsche 911, Reliant Sabre, Triumph TR8


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