JOHN COOPER WORKS
John Cooper?s passion for motoring thrills and unquenchable thirst for victory live on in the all-new, factory-built MINI John Cooper Works models. These ferocious street-legal race cars are bred for the track and rigorously tuned to the most exacting performance standards. Because just as it was a half-century ago with John Cooper, racing is in our blood.
RACING IS IN OUR BLOOD.
THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS
A legend was born in 1946, when John Cooper first opened the garage doors of the Cooper Car Company.
COOPER UPS THE PACE
In 1947 the first racing car built by John Cooper made its debut. The Cooper 500 zips from one victory to the next.
A FORMULA 1 REVOLUTION
1955: The mid-mounted engine concept developed by John Cooper and his father Charles, set new standards.
LIFE IN VICTORY LANE
1959-1960: Cooper built car wins both the Formula 1 Constructors? and Drivers? titles two years in a row.
MINI RACING POTENTIAL
1959: In a series of test-drives, John Cooper discovers the impressive racing potential of the Mini.
THE MINI COOPER IS BORN
1961: John Cooper unveils a Classic Mini engineered for the races ? the first-ever Classic Mini Cooper.
MIXING WITH THE BIG BOYS
1962: A Classic Mini Cooper wins the British Saloon Cars Championship in its first try.
THE MONTE HAT TRICK
1964-1967: A Classic Mini Cooper S wins the world famous Monte Carlo Rally three times in four years.
COOPER?S TRADEMARK: SUCCESS
1950-1969: 129 Grand Prix events, 16 victories, 11 pole positions and 14 lap records.
JOHN COOPER?S CAREER:
RACING WAS JOHN COOPER?S MIDDLE NAME. ALTHOUGH, TECHNICALLY, IT WAS NEWTON.
For some, racing is a hobby. For others it?s a job. But for John Newton Cooper, racing was simply who he was. It was his birthright, his passion and his enduring legacy. Son of a mechanic, pioneer of the rear-mounted engine, and founder of the ?giant killer? Cooper Car Company, he lived racing from start to finish. And had three Monte Carlo Rally titles and 16 Grand Prix wins to prove it.
TIMELINE OF JOHN COOPER?S CAREER
Along with friend Eric Brandon, John Cooper designed and built the revolutionary single-seater Cooper 500 race car. The car was unique in that its engine (a motorcycle engine in fact) was positioned behind the driver. The Cooper 500 proved so successful that John, and his father Charles, founded the Cooper Car Company. It quickly went on to become the first and largest specialist racing car manufacturer for private customers, or "privateers" as they're known in the world of motorsports.
Formula 1 had never seen anything like it. With private-owner Jack Brabham driving one to a sixth place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix, the Cooper Car Company's rear-engined designs begin to challenge the dominant front-engine cars made by Ferrari, Maserati and Vanwall.
Stirling Moss notches the first-ever F1 World Championship victory for a rear-engined car (a Cooper design) in the Argentinean Grand Prix. Months later, Maurice Trintignant took the checkered flag in another Cooper design at the Monaco Grand Prix.
1959 and 1960
With John Cooper directing the team, the Cooper Car Company wins 2 consecutive Formula 1 Constructors? and Drivers? World Championships.
John takes his Cooper 500?s to America to compete against the massive, big-engined American cars at Indianapolis. The Americans affectionately call it the "funny car" because the engine is "in the wrong place." Funny indeed. By 1962, every Formula 1 car on the track has been redesigned to follow Cooper's lead, with the engine behind the driver.
Shifting his focus, John set about transforming the British Motor Company's unassuming Classic Mini into the livelier, world-beating Classic Mini Cooper. The transformation was a success, with the Classic Mini Cooper S taking first place at Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967. In 1966, three Classic Mini Cooper's actually took the top three spots, but were disqualified by jealous French judges on a minor headlight infraction.
John and his son, Michael, contribute their expertise to the development teams working on the new MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S.
BIRTH OF A RACER:
BIRTH OF A MINI RACER
In 1959 the first Classic Mini was introduced to Britain: an unassuming, inexpensive 4-person "saloon" that didn't use up a lot of gas or take up much space. And though at first, some people didn't quite know what to make of this quirky newcomer, other people began to get big ideas. Big ideas about what would happen if this little workhorse was let loose on the racetrack.
As fortune would have it, one of the gentlemen most intrigued by the Classic Mini?s racing potential was the legendary F1 car builder, John Cooper. Already famous for his unique, extremely successful rear-engine F1 designs, it was only natural that an auto company bold enough to defy convention by placing its engine differently would impress him. But it was his test drive of the Classic Mini that convinced him the same attributes that made the small mighty-might such an innovative people mover - its transverse engine, the four wheels pushed out to the corners and minimal size - also gave the car incredible balance, an extremely wide stance, and amazing agility. He was convinced that these unique features would potentially make the Classic Mini a ferocious racer with the ability to run circles around the larger, so called "high-performance" cars of the time. Furthermore, he decided he was just the man to find out.
And so, in 1961, with a few tweaks to the engine, slightly bigger brakes, and a new contrasting roof to make it stand out in the pack, the Classic Mini Cooper emerged from the Cooper Car Company garages. What happened next (much to the dismay of the competition) is that John Cooper's grand hypothesis was proven very correct. In short, the Classic Mini Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960's race scene and win almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967 (though, in 1966, Classic Minis actually finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd -- before the French race officials disqualified them on a minor technicality).
And a car for the ages was born.