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Legendary Australian constructor inducted into Hall of Fame

GARRIE Cooper is set to be inducted into the Motorsport Australia Hall of Fame.

Cooper, who passed away in 1982, was the founder and driving force behind Elfin, the marque he started back in the 1950s as a sports car building concern.

A racer himself, Cooper’s company quickly evolved into building racing cars for a host of open-wheel categories, from entry level Formula Vee through to big-banger Formula 5000s, along with sports cars and Sports Sedans.

Along with selling cars to competitors, Cooper also ran a factory Elfin squad, whose Ansett-backed machines were piloted by legendary drivers like Vern Schuppan, John McCormack and Larry Perkins, while John Bowe first rose to prominence aboard the red, white and black machines in the late 1970s.

No less a driver than Formula 1 world champion James Hunt raced one of Cooper’s cars, taking the last open-wheel race win of his career aboard an F5000-spec Elfin MR8B-Chevrolet at Winton in the Rose City 10,000 in late 1978.

James Hunt awaiting the start of the Rose City 10,000 in 1978. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

“Garrie Cooper’s legacy extends beyond his engineering prowess; he also fostered a culture of passion, integrity, and dedication within the motorsport community,” read a statement from the VHRR, whose Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport will this weekend feature many of Cooper’s machines.

“His impact on Australian motorsport continues to resonate, inspiring future generations of engineers, drivers, and enthusiasts.

“The induction of Garrie Cooper into the Motorsport Australia Hall of Fame is a testament to his enduring influence and lasting legacy in the world of motorsport.

“His innovative spirit and unwavering commitment to excellence will continue to inspire and drive the future of motorsport for years to come.”

The Phillip Island Classic will feature a fleet of Elfins taking part in high-speed demonstrations, while the cars will also be on display at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix a fortnight later.

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