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Monterey Historic Automobile Races

Monterey Historic Automobile Races September 2006
The 33rd Annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races played host to some of the finest racing machines ever created. The complex and challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with its infamous 'corkscrews' and rolling terrain are enough to challenge driver and machine and entertain the on-lookers. The cars that are invited to race at this event and be apart of the annual celebration are among the rarest machinery in the world. Their value is priceless, and to entice owners to pull their pride-and-joy out of the private collections and museums in which they are housed, and race on this challenging course, safety is a top priority. Aggressive driving is discouraged; this may take some of the 'fun' out of the sport, but it does help preserve the vehicles and allow spectators to enjoy the cars in true form on one of the greatest racing circuits in the world.

Though aggressive driving is discouraged, it does not mean the cars are not driven with passion and pursuit for the checkered flag. It would be hard for the drivers not to preserve the legacy of the car, or try to establish a new one.

This years theme honored the cars and accomplishments of Charles and John Cooper, and the Formula 1 World Championship winner, Sir Jack Brabham. Brabham captured the F1 Championship on three occasions, twice in a Cooper and once in a car bearing his name.

Toyota was the new sponsor for the event, and showcased a number of their historical Toyota Motorsports racing cars. Their 2006 Formula One contender, the TF106, was brought to the track for a demonstration session, where Ricardo Zonta drove several laps, securing the lap record on his first attempt. As he continued to race around the course and became accustomed to its curves and rolling hills, his time continued to drop. He broke the old record by 1.2 seconds with a time of 1:06.309 averaging 121.504 mph. The whine of the engine and the shifting of gears was heard well before the streak of white and red flashed into view.

DaimlerChrysler, another sponsor of the event, brought an ex-Mille Miglia 300SL with legendary driver, John Fitch, at the wheel during the parade laps. Four McLaren SLRs lead by talk-show host, Jay Leno, circled the track during the parade events, accompanied by handful of lucky owners of the limited edition MINI Cooper Works GP, represents 'Grand Prix'. The GP Coopers are limited-production, sport tuned models with seating for two and enhanced with performance features throughout the vehicle. The engine has been tuned to over 210 horsepower, the suspension enhanced, and the brakes enlarged to accommodate the performance. The owners took delivery of the cars at the track and were getting the opportunity to enjoy the cars for the first time, while being closely watched by a large and enthusiastic audience. In total, there were 2000 examples of the Cooper GP produced worldwide.

Cooper Marque
Charles and John Cooper created the Cooper Car Company in 1947, just after the close of the Second World War. Their beginnings were modest, working out of a small garage in Surrey, England. Within a short period of time, the cars they built began to dominate racing series, including F3, F2, and eventually, F1. Their success was the result of ingenuity; they proved the benefits of placing the engine behind the driver, which allowed for a reduced frontal area and better weight distribution. There was no need for a driveshaft to run under the drivers seat, which allowed the driver and engine to sit lower to the ground, improving the cars center of gravity, increasing performance and cornering, and reducing the overall weight. In 1959, Brabham, along with the Cooper factory team, would become the first to win the Formula One World Championship in a rear-engined car. By 1960, many Formula 1 teams would follow Coopers lead by switching to mid-engined layout. By 1962, all cars run in F1 had the 'cart before the horse'.

The Formula Jr & Formula 3 class at this years Historics saw a very diverse group of Cooper machinery racing around the track. The highlight was the F1 and F2 class, showcasing cars from 1955-1965, and nearly all of the cars in this group were Coopers.

Cooper saw the potential of the Mini, being sold by BMC, in the early 1960s. Its front-engined layout and handling capabilities meant it could be a viable racing machine, it just needed sufficient power. With a few enhancements by Cooper, the cars began to dominate rally racing throughout the 1960s, including the 1964, 1965, and 1967 Monte Carlo Rallies.

The many accomplishments of the Cooper Company were honored as the cars they built traversed the course and proved once again they had what it takes to keep pace, and challenge for overall victory. In the Formula Junior class, the checkered flag was captured by a Cooper T59 driven by Jimmy Domingos. Barrie Williams managed a second placed finish in his Cooper Monaco in the 'Sports Racers over 2500cc' class. Three of the top five finished in the 'F1 & F3 Car' class were Coopers, with first going to a Cooper T53 and second to a T45/51. Cooper cars had a strong showing in the 'Sports Racing Cars Under 2500cc', capturing first, second, and fifth place.

Brabham

Jack Brabham's career began to shine behind the wheel of Cooper car in Australia. He moved to England in 1955 and was instrumental in convincing the Cooper Company to create a single-seater version of their mid-engined T39 Bobtail Sportscar. By 1958, Stirling Moss became the first individual to win an F1 race in a mid-engined car, and that success was quickly followed by Jack Brabham claiming the World Championship in 1959 and 1960 in a Cooper.

Brabham formed his own company, along with designer Ron Tauranac, in 1960. Their focus was on the Formula series, with their main emphasis on Formula 1 and single seater racing. By 1966 he had created a worthy machine, and once again claimed the World Championship, this time in a car bearing his own name. He became the first individual to claim the title while driving a car of his own construction.

The Group 3, 'Formula Jr and F3 cars' at this years Monterey Historics was probably the best example of the Cooper and Brabham legacy, as all top five positions were captured in either a Cooper or a Brabham built racers. The Brabham BT2 claimed second and the Brabham BT6 finished third.

Brabham continued in business until 1988 after having claimed four Drivers' Championships and two Constructors' Championship. Notable drivers included Brabham, Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet.

Historic Racing
The categories included pre-1940 cars, Sports Racing/Production, Formula Jr, Formula 1, 2, 3, Historic IMSA, Trans Am, FIA Mfg. Championship Cars, and Production Sports Cars. Most of the races were heavily contested for the overall victory. The exceptions were the Pre-1940 category which saw Rodney Smith's 1934 ERA cross the finish line over a minute faster than the next competitor. Rob Walton and his 1959 Lister-Chevrolet enjoyed a 18 second lead in the 'Sports Racers Over 2500cc' category. Mark Gillies drove his Cooper T53 nearly 12 seconds faster than any other car in the '1955-1965 Formula F1 & F3 Cars'. Chris MacAllister and his 1972 Mirage M6 easily won the '1965-1972 FIA Mfg. Championship Cars' category by 18.8 seconds. The rest of the groups were contested by seconds, in some cases, milliseconds, for the coveted first place finish.

All races were run for ten laps, which proved adequate to determine outright winner on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. The progress of racing was evident as the Pre-1940 cars took to the track, some with riding mechanics (the cars had no mirrors so the duties of the riding mechanic extended to watching the rear traffic) keeping true to the era, and 'casually' traversed the course. In comparison to other groups that followed, particularly the F1 and FIA Championship Cars, their efforts appeared to be 'casual.' In reality, every mechanical component in the cars were being tested and brought to their limits. The flavor of cars and racing categories that followed were enough to entertain and excite nearly every degree of interest in the sport of racing. The howl of the engines, the emotion of driver and car through the turns, the shriek of tires, the smell of racing fuel, and the glorious California weather were constant reminders why this is one of the greatest Historic Racing Events on the calendar. There simply is no greater venue that hosts a better array of historic racing pedigree in competition, in the world. For this reason, it attracts the most unique and rare cars out of their slumber and transforms them from museum pieces back into fierce racing machines.

Conclusion
It is hard to attend this event and not feel overwhelmed. The wealth of history on and off the track is impressive. These are the cars that revolutionized their sport, redefined the boundaries of impossibility, and brought glory to their respective marques. The week in which all this transpires is filled with many concourses and auctions, most notably the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. This time of the year has become the Mecca for the automotive enthusiast; the Monterey Historics has played an important role at making this collection of activities and events into the success that it has become.

Galleries

1915 Ford Old Number 4 Racer  
1916 National Model AC  
1922 Delage Type DF La Torpille  
1924 Ford Frontenac  
1925 Bugatti Type 35C  
1925 Vauxhall 30/98  
1927 Bugatti Type 35B  
1927 Bugatti Type 35C  
1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500  
1929 Lagonda 14/50 Two-Litre  
1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS  
1930 Austin Seven Special  
1930 Morgan Aero Super Sport  
1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750  
1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300  
1931 Bugatti Type 51  
1931 Chrysler CD-8 Le Mans  
1931 Rigling and Henning Wonder Bread Special  
1932 MG J2  
1932 Studebaker Indy Racer  
1934 Era R2A  
1934 MG N-Type NA  
1934 MG NE  
1935 Austin Seven Special  
1936 Austin Seven Special  
1937 Delahaye Type 145  
1938 Sparks-Thorne Little 6  
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS  
1939 Lagonda V12 LeMans  
1946 Delage D6-3L  

1951 Allard J2  
1952 Schaghticoke Manning Special  
1954 Kurtis KK-500  
1954 Lancia D24 Sport Spyder  
1955 Jaguar XK-D D-Type  

1948 MG TC  
1949 Porsche 356/2 Gmund  
1949 Veritas BMW Rennsport Spyder  
1952 Jowett Jupiter  
1953 MG TD  
1953 Morgan Plus Four TT LeMans Special  
1953 Porsche 356  
1953 Siata 208 S  
1954 Maserati A6 GCS  
1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial  
1955 Lotus Mark IX  
1955 Osca MT4  
1955 Porsche 356  
1955 Porsche 550 RS Spyder  
1955 Triumph TR2  

1956 Lotus Eleven  
1956 Maserati 150/250S  
1957 Lotus Eleven  
1958 Lotus Fifteen  
1959 Cooper Monaco MKI Type 57  
1959 Lotus 17  
1961 Porsche RS 61  

1955 Cooper T38 Mark II  
1957 Ferrari 625 TRC  
1957 Lister Jaguar  
1957 Maserati 300 S  
1957 Monsterati Special  
1958 Devin SS  
1958 Ferrari 250 TR  
1958 Lister Costin  
1958 Lister Knobbly  
1958 Lotus Fifteen  
1959 Balchowski Ol Yaller MKII  
1959 Cooper Monaco MKI Type 57  
1959 Devin SS Special  
1959 Ferrari 250 TR  
1959 Lister Special  
1960 Cooper Monaco Type 57 MK II  
1960 Kellison Corvair Special  
1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage  

1959 Cooper Monaco MKI Type 57  
1962 Cooper Monaco  
1962 Lotus 23B  
1963 Cooper Shelby King Cobra Type 61M Monaco-Ford  
1963 Merlyn MK6A  
1964 Bobsy SR3  
1964 Elva MK VIIS  
1964 Webster Special  
1965 Merlyn MK6A  

1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta  
1957 Porsche 356 A  
1959 Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato  
1960 Porsche 356B  

1963 Elva Courier MK III  
1963 Lotus Super Seven  
1963 Shelby Cobra 289 Le Mans  
1964 Alfa Romeo TZ1  
1964 Austin Mini Cooper  
1965 Austin MINI Cooper S  
1967 Austin Mini Cooper S  

1966 Ford Mustang  
1966 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350  
1966 Ford Shelby Mustang Hertz GT350  
1967 Chevrolet Camaro  
1967 Mercury Cougar  
1968 Chevrolet Camaro  
1968 Ford Mustang  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro  
1969 Ford Mustang  
1970 Chevrolet Camaro  
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302  

1951 JBS MKI  
1953 Staride Norton F3  
1955 Cooper T36 IX  
1956 Cooper MK X  
1957 Cooper MK XI T42  
1959 Bandini FJ  
1959 Cooper MK XIII  
1959 Elva 100 Formula Series  
1959 Stanguellini Monoposto Formula Junior  
1960 Cooper T52 MKI  
1960 Dolphin Formula Junior MKI  
1960 Huffaker BMC MK1  
1960 Kieft Formula Junior  
1960 Lotus 18 Formula Junior  
1961 Cooper T-56 FJ  
1961 Lotus 20  
1962 Brabham BT2  
1962 Lotus Type 22  
1962 Lotus Type 27  

1952 Cooper T20 MKI  
1953 Cooper T23 MKII  
1954 Lancia D50  
1957 Cooper T43 Mark II  
1958 BRM P25  
1958 Cooper T45/51  
1959 Cooper T51  
1960 Cooper T53  
1961 Cooper T53  
1961 Cooper T55  
1961 Scarab FL  
1962 Lotus Type 22  
1966 Cooper T82  

1966 AAR Eagle  
1967 Ferrari 312 F1  
1968 Brabham BT26  
1969 Ferrari 312 F1  
1970 Brabham BT33  
1971 Surtees TS9B  
1971 Tyrrell 004  
1973 McLaren M23  
1974 Brabham BT44  
1974 Tyrrell 007  
1975 Penske PC3  
1976 BRM P207  
1976 Ferrari 312 T2  
1976 March 761  
1977 McLaren M23  
1977 McLaren M26  

1966 Porsche 906  
1968 Chevron B8  
1968 Porsche 907  
1968 Porsche 908  
1969 Chevron B16  
1969 McLaren M6B GT  
1972 Mirage M6  

1974 BMW 3.5 CSL  
1974 Porsche Carrera RSR 3.0  
1975 BMW 3.5 CSL  
1975 Porsche 934 RSR  
1976 Chevrolet Corvette Widebody  
1977 Porsche 935  
1979 Porsche 935  
1980 BMW E26 M1  

1903 De Dion Bouton  
1958 Cooper T-43  
1959 Balchowski Ol Yaller MKII  
1961 Cooper Kimberly T54  
1967 Toyota 2000 GT  
1976 Ferrari 312 T2  
1978 Porsche 935 RSR  
2006 Toyota TF106  
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