Go to Ultimatecarpage.com

Car search: Quick Advanced 
  Ultimatecarpage.com  > Annual events
2006 Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Cars statistics: 5543 cars, 466 makes, 41271 images; Events statistics: 247 reports, 50669 images; Forum statistics: 89,669 members, 43,431 topics; more...


Click here to save all images   Monterey Historic Automobile Races
|    2005   |    2006   |    2007   |    2008   |    2009   |    2010   |    2011   |    2012   |    2013   |    2014   |    2015   |  

Introduction
In a weekend filled with peaceful concours and auctions, the annual Monterey Historic Races form an active and loud alternative. Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the Laguna Seca track hosted the celebration of motor racing’s rich heritage for the 33rd year. In these three decades organizer Steve Earle has carefully crafted the event that today draws the finest of historic racers that would otherwise be stored away in private collections and museums. He has achieved this by emphasizing safety and banning aggressive drivers for at least a year. This serves as enough of a guarantee for owners of the rarest of vehicles to venture out to Laguna and it also prevents the insurance companies from asking for crazy amounts of money to insure the event. Although this might not appeal to the racing purists, it does offer a very rare opportunity for spectators to see these rare cars in action. And after all there are still plenty of events where driving on or over the edge is still possible. It’s also safe to say that once the flag drops, many drivers slip into their racing mode and put in a very good show. Another returning tradition is the celebration of a special theme. This year all eyes were on Cooper’s fabulous creations, ranging from the Formula 1 winning single seaters to the giant-slaying Mini Coopers.
With the experience from the last two years in the back of our heads, we decided to make plenty of space in our busy schedule to capture all the action on track. The result of this extra effort can be found in our carefully selected 230-shot slideshow, which shows all fourteen groups, the various demos and the lap-record breaking Toyota TF106.

Cooper and Brabham
John and Charles Cooper entered the racing world right after WWII with specials created in their own garage. Their motorcycle engined single seaters aimed at the Formula 3 class were very well received and not much later Cooper was a full-time racing car manufacturer. The quirky cars stood out because of their unusual sound and the location of the engine between the driver and the rear axle. When they stepped up the ladder to Formula 2, they produced a far more conventional front-engined racer. In 1952 Cooper was best of the rest in the World Championship behind the all-conquering Ferraris. On the other side of the world a young Jack Brabham was dominating racing in Australia in a variety of Coopers. To make the most of his career, Brabham moved to England in 1955 and immediately bought a new Cooper. John and Charles had returned to the mid-engined layout for the T39 Bobtail sportscar. Brabham urged the Coopers to build a single seater version of this successful sportscar, which became the unique T40; the first mid-engined Formula 1 car. Although it was not raced with much success, it taught both the Coopers and Brabham lessons that were incorporated in a series of mid-engined single seater racers that would forever change the sport. In 1958 Stirling Moss was the first to win an F1 race in a mid-engined car, and Jack Brabham took the World Championship in 1959 and 1960. The Coopers excelled in simplicity and were very popular with privateers in all single seater classes. In Formula 1 the other teams caught up and passed Cooper. Brabham left and started his own company, which just like Cooper concentrated on the construction of sportscar and single seater production. In 1966 he was the first driver to win a Formula 1 race in a car bearing his own name and a year later he was the first to win a World Championship in a car bearing his own name. Cooper had found a new market by offering performance upgrades for the popular Austin Mini. The Mini Coopers were successful in road races and rallies, with wins in the Rallye Monte Carlo as clear highlights.
Cooper and Sir Jack Brabham were celebrated at the Historics by a colourful mix of Coopers and Brabhams. In particular the race on Saturday afternoon for Formula 1 & 2 racers from 1955-1965 was a true Cooperfest. The group was appropriately headlined by Sir Jack’s 1960 Cooper T53 ‘Lowline’ F1-racer.

Lap Record
Two years ago Ferrari was the featured marque and their Formula 1 racing team traveled to Laguna Seca to not only demonstrate a current F1 car, but also to break the track’s lap record. They failed and by quite a margin too. This year Toyota took over as title sponsor and like Ferrari, sent their F1 team across the pond. Even though 2 cylinders and 600 cc down on the 2004 Ferrari, the Toyota team were confident that their driver Ricardo Zonta could take the lap record set by Helio Castroneves in the 2000 CART race. He managed to do so in his first attempt and continued to break his record throughout the weekend. After his last session, the record read 1m06.309; some 1.2 seconds faster than Castroneves’ old time. It's interesting to point out that the new lap record on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is now held by a Toyota. At a slighter lower pace, the Japanese company also demonstrated two 2000 GT racing cars and an IMSA Celica.
Longtime sponsor DaimlerChrysler also made their presence felt by sending out John Fitch in his ex-Mille Miglia 300 SL and four McLaren SLRs with Jay Leno leading the group.
Fifty lucky owners of the limited edition MINI Cooper Works GP took delivery of their new car at the track. To complete their reception experience, they were allowed on track for their very first drive in their performance-oriented MINIs, that feature a strutbrace instead of a rear bench among other modifications.

Track Action
Over the weekend hundreds of highly-varied racing cars took the track to qualify, warm-up and race in their respective groups. All painted in their original colours and livery, the cars ranged from primitive racers of the teens and twenties to the TransAm cars of the late seventies. Of those very early cars, a Delage grabbed our attention. The car’s bright blue chassis rails formed a nice contrast with the turned-aluminum bodypanels. We later found out it won 44 races and broke 37 records in its day and was aptly nicknamed ‘La Torpille’ or the Torpedo. In the next race, 1971 Le Mans winner Gijs van Lennep showed he's still got it by scoring his first win in decades with Ben Pon’s Porsche 550. Inspired by the Cooper-revolution the great front-engined sportscars were gradually phased out in the 1960s. One of the very last of these introduced was Maserati’s legendary Tipo 60/61 Birdcage. Particularly in the hands of Stirling Moss did it shine against strong Aston Martin and Ferrari competition back in the day. His 1960 Nurburgring-winning example was present and competed against a fine collection of Listers, Ferraris and Astons. Moss’ co-pilot for that race was Dan Gurney, who would later form his own team, which produced America’s first Formula 1 winner. Three of these V12 engined F1 cars were produced and Lou Sellyei Jr trusted Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal to drive his example. He entertained the crowds with the glorious howl produced by the V12 engine.
These are just some of the highlights out on track; many, many more can be found in the slideshow.

Conclusion
Although Cooper is not quite as well known by the general public, a celebration of this highly influential marque was long overdue. Judging from the number of Coopers shipped from Europe to California the European owners felt the same and were more than happy to participate. The rest of the program was entertaining throughout with the race for the lap record as one of the highlights. Nothing beats seeing cars doing what they are built for; driving!

Related Articles

 
 
AC Shelby Cobra 427 Competition 48 Number of shots
Produced in: 1965
Last updated: 12 / 27 / 2012
 
 
AC Shelby Cobra Le Mans 145 Number of shots
Produced in: 1963
Last updated: 04 / 22 / 2014
 
 
Alfa Romeo 33/2 Daytona 2.5 Litre 18 Number of shots
Produced in: 1968
Last updated: 04 / 09 / 2012
 
 
Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 64 Number of shots
Years of production: 1965 - 1966
Last updated: 08 / 07 / 2014
 
 
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Corsa Spider 13 Number of shots
Produced in: 1939
Last updated: 03 / 28 / 2011
 
 
AMC Javelin T/A 21 Number of shots
Years of production: 1970 - 1972
Last updated: 11 / 27 / 2006
 
 
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato 70 Number of shots
Years of production: 1960 - 1962
Last updated: 08 / 08 / 2007
 
 
Aston Martin DB2 Prototype 15 Number of shots
Produced in: 1949
Last updated: 12 / 11 / 2006
 
 
Balchowsky Old Yeller II 30 Number of shots
Produced in: 1959
Last updated: 01 / 28 / 2013
 
 
Brabham BT33 Cosworth 36 Number of shots
Years of production: 1970 - 1971
Last updated: 02 / 17 / 2009
 
 
Brabham BT26 Cosworth 21 Number of shots
Produced in: 1969
Last updated: 09 / 11 / 2006
 
 
Brabham BT2 Ford 18 Number of shots
Produced in: 1962
Last updated: 03 / 19 / 2014
 
 
BRM P207 13 Number of shots
Produced in: 1977
Last updated: 08 / 02 / 2011
 
 
Chevrolet DeKon Monza 63 Number of shots
Years of production: 1975 - 1977
Last updated: 01 / 02 / 2014
 
 
Chevron B8 BMW 75 Number of shots
Years of production: 1968 - 1970
Last updated: 12 / 14 / 2009
 
 
Delage DF 'La Torpille' 14 Number of shots
Produced in: 1922
Last updated: 01 / 22 / 2007
 
 
Delahaye 145 Grand Prix 20 Number of shots
Produced in: 1937
Last updated: 08 / 30 / 2006
 
 
Eagle Mark 1 Weslake 35 Number of shots
Years of production: 1966 - 1967
Last updated: 09 / 10 / 2012
 
 
Ferrari 312/69 F1 18 Number of shots
Produced in: 1969
Last updated: 11 / 20 / 2006
 
 
Ferrari 250 TR59 39 Number of shots
Produced in: 1959
Last updated: 08 / 08 / 2011
 
 
Ferrari 625 TRC 31 Number of shots
Produced in: 1957
Last updated: 05 / 21 / 2012
 
 
Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Berlinetta 27 Number of shots
Produced in: 1952
Last updated: 08 / 08 / 2011
 
 
Lister Costin Jaguar 40 Number of shots
Produced in: 1959
Last updated: 01 / 04 / 2010
 
 
Lister Costin Chevrolet 17 Number of shots
Produced in: 1959
Last updated: 10 / 29 / 2007
 
 
Lister Knobbly Chevrolet 45 Number of shots
Years of production: 1957 - 1958
Last updated: 08 / 12 / 2013
 
 
Lotus Elan 26R 36 Number of shots
Years of production: 1964 - 1966
Last updated: 01 / 05 / 2009
 
 
Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage 28 Number of shots
Years of production: 1959 - 1960
Last updated: 12 / 23 / 2006
 
 
Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage 89 Number of shots
Years of production: 1959 - 1960
Last updated: 12 / 23 / 2006
 
 
Maserati 300S 346 Number of shots
Years of production: 1955 - 1958
Last updated: 11 / 10 / 2014
 
 
McLaren M26 Cosworth 91 Number of shots
Years of production: 1976 - 1978
Last updated: 06 / 16 / 2014
 
 
McLaren M23 Cosworth 144 Number of shots
Years of production: 1973 - 1977
Last updated: 10 / 27 / 2014
 
 
Mirage M6 Cosworth 36 Number of shots
Years of production: 1972 - 1973
Last updated: 01 / 27 / 2010
 
 
Parnelli VPJ4 Cosworth 28 Number of shots
Years of production: 1974 - 1975
Last updated: 07 / 21 / 2014
 
 
Penske PC3 Cosworth 31 Number of shots
Produced in: 1976
Last updated: 05 / 22 / 2008
 
 
Porsche 935 K3 187 Number of shots
Years of production: 1979 - 1981
Last updated: 07 / 14 / 2014
 
 
Porsche 935/77 18 Number of shots
Produced in: 1977
Last updated: 07 / 10 / 2007
 
 
Porsche 908K Coupe 50 Number of shots
Produced in: 1968
Last updated: 12 / 11 / 2006
 
 
Porsche 356B Abarth GTL 54 Number of shots
Years of production: 1960 - 1961
Last updated: 03 / 14 / 2008
 
 
Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder 25 Number of shots
Produced in: 1960
Last updated: 11 / 28 / 2007
 
 
Porsche 356 Gmünd Coupe 6 Number of shots
Years of production: 1948 - 1950
Last updated: 10 / 19 / 2008
 
 
Siata 208 S Motto Spider 33 Number of shots
Years of production: 1952 - 1954
Last updated: 01 / 07 / 2008
 
 
Surtees TS9B Cosworth 51 Number of shots
Produced in: 1972
Last updated: 02 / 24 / 2014
 
 
Toyota Celica Turbo GTO 31 Number of shots
Years of production: 1986 - 1988
Last updated: 10 / 15 / 2014
 
 
Tyrrell 004 Cosworth 14 Number of shots
Produced in: 1972
Last updated: 09 / 18 / 2006
   
 

Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Pieter Melissen, Rob Clements and Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.