38. Cooper T81 1967

S3525 Cooper T81 No.18 4th French GP 1967 – Jo Siffert

While there are constructed new cars each year today, in the sixties it was usual to stay with the same racing car for 2 or 3 years. Also Cooper. The English car manufacturer sent the T81 in the race in 1966, inter alia, with the Swiss driver Jo “Seppi” Siffert. Also in 1967 the “moustache” guy drove with the T81 and stayed with the team of Rob Walker, for which he was already driving since 1964. The T81 was equipped with a Maserati V12 engine. Its reliability left much to be desired from time to time. At the first European race the technique failed and Siffert had to retire the car what was not that big issue as the race was overshadowed by the fatal accident of Lorenzo Bandini in his Ferrari. Two weeks after Siffert could achieve a place on the podium with the T81. At the race in Syrakus which was not counted to the championship, he reached to a third place like already before at the “Race of Champions” in Brands Hatch. In the races which counted to the championship the Fribourg-born was less lucky. At the race in the Dunes of Zandvoort he only finished 10th place – with seven rounds deficit. Also in Belgium he didn’t receive any points for a seventh place. After that there was the French GP that took place the one and only time in the Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans in 1967. Siffert (11th place in the starting grid) was profiting from some retirements and could achieve a fourth place at the end. The rest of the season was a huge disappointment, except the race in Watkins Glen where Siffert finished fourth again. Engine breakdown in England, P9 in Germany, again an engine breakdown in Canada – this time in the training, retirement after tire damage in Italy and at last a P12 in Mexico. Siffert’s balance sheet in 1967: twelfth in the championship with 6 points. In 1968 “Seppi” was again starting with the T81, but only for the first race in Kyalami. After this race the sturdy race car with its relatively big radiator opening was mothballed. The successor model was the T86. But not for Siffert. He changed to Lotus within the team of Rob Walker. With this car he won his first GP in 1968.

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