Motor racing legend John Cooper, the creator of the Cooper-Climax Grand Prix cars, has died at his home in Worthing from cancer.

John, together with his father Charles, founded Cooper Racing over fifty year's ago when they designed and built the revolutionary Formula III Cooper 500 - the first rear engined racing car, driven by the likes of Stirling Moss.

That early success continued and Cooper Racing moved rapidly up through the motor racing ranks before reaching the pinnacle of the sport - Formula One.

It was here that the partnership between Cooper and Australian Jack Brabham flourished, allowing Brabham to win the World Championship twice in 1959 and 1960, driving the Cooper-Climax.

During that time Cooper Racing also achieved the honour of being the first British team to claim the Formula One Constructors championship, as well as giving a young Bruce McLaren his first Grand Prix drive.

The Cooper name was enhanced further with the company's conversion of the then newly launched Mini. The result, the Mini Cooper, was born and went on to win, amongst other things, the Monte Carlo rally three times, as well as numerous European rally titles.

By the time production ended in 1971, over 150,000 Mini Cooper's had been produced, with almost all the stars of that era having owned one, the car's cult status being confirmed with a starring role in The Italian Job.

Always a popular and respected motorsport figure, John Cooper received a CBE for his services to the car industry in 1999. He leaves behind a widow Paula and two children, Michael and Sally.


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