Cooper T81

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Cooper T81
CategoryFormula One
ConstructorCooper Car Company
Designer(s)Derrick White
SuccessorCooper T86
Technical specifications
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Suspension (front)unknown
Suspension (rear)unknown
EngineMaserati 2989cc V12 naturally aspirated Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionT81: ZF 5DS25
T81B: Hewland DG300 5-speed manual gearbox,
Tyres(Works team) Dunlop (1966),
Firestone (1966/7)
Competition history
Notable entrantsCooper, Rob Walker
Notable driversNew Zealand Chris Amon,
Sweden Jo Bonnier,
United States Richie Ginther,
Austria Jochen Rindt,
Mexico Pedro Rodríguez,
Switzerland Jo Siffert,
United Kingdom John Surtees,
Belgium Jacky Ickx
Debut1966 Syracuse Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0

The Cooper T81 was one of the last Formula One racing cars produced by the Cooper Car Company. It was designed ahead of the 1966 World Championship season to operate within the new 3 litre engine regulations that came into effect that year. In place of the 1.5-litre Coventry Climax used under the previous formula, the T81 was powered by Maserati Tipo 9 2.5-litre V12 engines which had been bored out to 3.0-litres. These were supplied by the Chipstead Group, Maserati's UK distributors, who had taken control of Cooper the previous April.

In many ways the car was a typical example of its time, with a rear engine, front radiator, inboard front suspension and a monocoque chassis. In fact the car was Cooper's first monocoque chassis, although by this time such an arrangement had already become standard in Formula 1, having been pioneered by the Lotus 25 four years earlier. The T81 made its race debut in the 1966 Syracuse Grand Prix.[1]

But while the shortage of competitive 3.0 litre F1 machinery at the start of 1966 made the T81 popular, there were suggestions that Cooper were overstretching themselves and that as a result the preparation of the cars was suffering. However John Surtees, who had replaced Ginther after walking out on Ferrari, took the car's first win in the final race of the 1966 season in Mexico, and in turn Surtees's replacement, Pedro Rodríguez, won the very next race, the 1967 season opener in South Africa. A T81B variant was first raced by Rindt at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.

The T81's last race came at the start of the 1968 season in South Africa in the hands of privateers Siffert and Bonnier, as by this time the works team had moved on to the T86 chassis. As it happened, Cooper folded at the end of the 1968 season, making the T81 the last Cooper to win a World Championship Grand Prix.

In all the T81 (and T81B) was entered a total of 85 times in its 21 race lifespan, achieving 2 wins, 1 pole position, 6 podiums, and 23 points finishes, earning 74 points in total.

Jo Bonnier's Cooper T81, painted in the Swiss racing red of his Anglo-Suisse Racing team.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Points WCC
1966 Cooper Car Company Maserati V12 D MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 30 (35) 3rd
Jochen Rindt Ret 2 4 5 Ret 3 4 2 Ret
Richie Ginther Ret 5
Chris Amon 8
John Surtees Ret Ret Ret 2 Ret 3 1
Moisés Solana Ret
R.R.C. Walker Racing Team Jo Siffert Ret Ret NC Ret Ret 4 Ret
Guy Ligier Guy Ligier NC NC NC 10 9 DNS
Anglo-Suisse Racing Team F Jo Bonnier NC Ret 7 Ret Ret NC 6
1967 Cooper Car Company Maserati V12 F RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER CAN ITA USA MEX 28 3rd
Pedro Rodríguez 1 5 Ret 9 6 5 11 6
Jochen Rindt Ret Ret Ret 4 Ret Ret Ret
Alan Rees 9
Richard Attwood 10
Jacky Ickx 6
Rob Walker Racing Team Jo Siffert Ret Ret 10 7 4 Ret Ret DNS Ret 4 12
Joakim Bonnier Racing Team Jo Bonnier Ret Ret Ret 6 8 Ret 6 10
Guy Ligier Guy Ligier 10 NC
1968 Cooper Car Company Maserati V12 F RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX 0 NC
Brian Redman Ret
Rob Walker Racing Team Jo Siffert 7
Joakim Bonnier Racing Team Jo Bonnier Ret


  1. ^ Cooper, Retrieved on 22 January 2015