The 1966 Season
Hailed as the "return to power" the 1966 season saw the start of the new 3 litre formula.
Some teams were more ready than others and as a consequence a wide
variety of engines and chassis were used ranging from Ferrari's new
purpose built 3 litre V12 (312) to modified 65 season engines which
were bored out to 2 litres.
There were also various 4 cylinder Climax engines plus a 2.4 litre V6 (246) Ferrari based on the "Dino" engine.
The "Cooper Car Company" had recently been taken over by the Chipstead
Group who were also the UK distributors for Maserati. Although the
Maserati engine had its origins in the 50's, politics dictated that the
team would use the Tipo 9 2.5 litre V12 which was bored out to 3 litres
and fitted to the new T81 chassis.
As well as running the works cars driven by Rindt and Ginther ( the
later on loan from Honda ), Cooper also supplied cars to privateers Rob
Walker Racing, Guy Ligier and Jo Bonnier teams.
Later in the season John Surtees joined the team after leaving Ferrari.
There is no doubt that Surtees's influence in developing the car
greatly improved its capabilities and this culminated with Surtees
winning the last race of the year at Mexico City.