The legendary Cooper Car Company is the featured marque at the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, August 18-20, 2006.

The Cooper Car Company, perhaps best well known by Mini enthusiasts, was founded in 1947 by Charles and John Cooper and left an indelible mark on the racing world. Its design innovations altered the face of such race series as Formula One and the Indianapolis 500 and their sedans excelled in rallying — most notably with the Mini Cooper S triple wins in the 1964, 65 and 67 Monte Carlo Rallies.

The Cooper Car Company started in a small garage in Surrey, England, and by the1960s the Cooper Car Company reached its peak as their rear-engine, single seat cars found multiple successes in Formula One events. And in doing so, they altered the face of the Indianapolis 500 and had such storied drivers as Sir Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Maurice Trintignant and Bruce McLaren in its ranks.

In 1961, John Cooper turned his attention to the Mini, which was being sold by BMC as an urban runabout. Cooper realized that the car’s front-wheel drive layout and inherent stability meant it was prime for racing — it just needed more power. And so with an up rated engine, new brakes and a distinctive paint job he gave birth to a giant killer that continued to dominate in saloon car and rally races throughout the 1960s, winning many championships and of course, the fabled 1964, 1965 and 1967 Monte Carlo Rallies.

Several different Cooper-marked versions of the Mini and various Cooper conversion kits have been made since then.

The business is run today by John’s son, Mike and it has played a significant part in the success of the new MINI, which has Cooper and Cooper S models and also features a complete line of factory and dealer installed JCW performance enhancements. The most recent offering comes in the form of the limited edition MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works GP Kit (“MINI GP”). The first of these limited production models will be hand-delivered to 32 lucky customers in a special ceremony at Laguna Seca raceway during the Monterey Historic Race weekend.

The ”MINI GP” – A Special Performance Machine
Developed in cooperation with MINI and John Cooper Works, this limited-production, sport tuned model comes exclusively in a two-seat configuration and offers a level of performance that makes it the most powerful MINI available from the factory. The ‘GP’ produces 214 horsepower and is approximately 100 pounds lighter than the standard MINI Cooper S model, allowing it to achieve a top speed of 150 mph.

The two letters “GP” in the name of this unique model stand for “Grand Prix”, paying tribute to MINI’s motor sport pedigree — a pedigree not only demonstrated by the Classic Mini’s Monte Carlo rally wins in the 60s, but by MINI’s competitive successes today, including road racing, auto cross, rally sport and even drag racing.

The MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works GP Kit will be limited to a production run of exactly 2,000 units worldwide. The US market will receive an exclusively limited number of only 415 and will come with a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $31,150 including a $550 destination charge.

Source: MINI USA Press