44. Cooper T81 1966

S4805 Cooper T81 2nd Belgium GP 1966 – Jochen Rindt

Today this scenario would be unthinkable. But in the Sixties (almost) everything was possible. The British car manufacturer Cooper had built a new chassis for 1966: the T81. So far so good. But engine-wise it was a different story. Cooper relied on a Maserati V12 which gave its debut eleven years before! No less than the great Juan-Manuel Fangio tested this engine 1957 in a Maserati 250F. In theory Cooper should have had no chance with this engine. Today it would be like this. But this was another time. And because the regulations changed in 1966 from 1.5 to 3-liter-engines, Cooper relied on the old proven Maserati aggregate. The car was a bit heavier but Cooper said: An engine that has been driven and tested for so many years must be at least reliable. The British were not wrong. Already in the second race in Spa-Francorchamps a sensation was in the wind. Jochen Rindt started with the T81 from the front row – in weather conditions how it can be in the Ardennes only. Massive rain made the start almost impossible. And the drivers had one’s work cut out. Rindt also had a terrific moment when he spun on the ultra fast Masta straight at 150 mph – in the very first lap. Rindt therefore came back only on fifth place. But he did not give up. In lap 4, it was still raining like hell, Rindt overtook leader John Surtees in the fast Burnenville-corner. Rindt led the race for almost 20 laps. In the Cooper garage they were already hoping to celebrate the first victory since Monaco 1962. But Surtees caught the Austrian on a drying track. Nevertheless Rindt was the moral winner. And the media celebrated his “courageous ride”. At the end of the year Rindt finished third in the championship. Only Jack Brabham and John Surtees had more points. Spark has reduced the “green cigar” with the number 19 of the Belgian GP in 1:43. As always with very much attention to details. He only thing which is missing: some raindrops on the bodywork…

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