Today we take a look at one of the most famous drivers in karting today, Ben Cooper. The resume for the English driver who now resides in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec speaks volumes and includes three Rotax Grand Finals titles, four Rotax European titles, two Florida Winter Tour titles and a Canadian National title as well and for many Ben Cooper is a household name.
Cooper qualified for the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals twice in the past twelve months. Only one after walking away from a disappointing Rotax Grand Finals in New Orleans, USA, Cooper took to the temporary track in Las Vegas, USA for the SKUSA SuperNationals in the debut of the Rotax DD2 category at North Americas most prestigious event. Against a stellar field of drivers and in a race that anyone in attendance will remember for many years Cooper secured the victory and was the first driver to qualify for the 2014 Rotax Grand Finals.
“I qualified from last year’s DD2 SKUSA SuperNationals race, which was the week after the 2013 Rotax Grand Finals. It was surreal to have my ticket for the 2014 World Finals the week after the 2013 World Finals. At the time I didn’t even think about the ticket, as I was so happy to have just won in Las Vegas against drivers such as Bas Lammers, Paolo De Conto and Robert Wickens. Once it sunk in though, there was relief that I don’t have to work about getting my ticket.”
Focusing his efforts on developing his KMS North America race team and young drivers Cooper’s racing in 2014 was limited, choosing only to race in the Florida Winter Tour, Rotax Pan American Challenge and the Rotax Euro Challenge. Two tough rounds back in the seat of a Rotax Senior machine at the FWT had Cooper scratching his head and he returned to the two-speed Rotax DD2 category at the FWT finale, scoring a victory. At the Euro Challenge Cooper secured the title for the second year in a row with consistency, scoring four podium finishes in four rounds against the most competitive field of Rotax DD2 drivers ever at the Euro Challenge. In his final race before the Rotax Grand Finals, Cooper was well in control of the Pan American Challenge until a technical issue with his airbox forced him to the sidelines.
Making one start in Canada in 2014, Cooper came home with a victory at the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship finale at his home in Mont-Tremblant.
Don’t miss: ‘Three and Counting: The Ben Cooper RMCGF Story’
Name: Ben Cooper
Division: Rotax DD2
Hometown: Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Years Racing: 17 Years
Race Team: KMS North America
Past Trips to RMCGF: 2005 Malaysia (Jnr Rotax), 2007 Al Ain (Snr Rotax), 2008 La Conca (Snr Rotax), 2011 Al Ain (Snr Rotax), 2012 Portimâo (DD2) and 2013 New Orleans (DD2)
Career Highlights (To date): Junior Rotax British Open Champion 2004, JICA Champions of Champions 2005, FWT Champion (2012 & 2013), Canadian National DD2 Champion 2012, Rotax European Champion (2007, 2011, 2013, 2014) and Rotax World Champion (2008, 2011, 2012)
With his attention shifting more to the business side of things than competing himself, Cooper has claimed that 2014 will be his last race and with that, he hopes to go out on top.
“I know that most drivers will be going to win and I am the same. Except this will be my last World Finals so its extra important as I have always had a dream of finishing my karting career at the top of the sport. So if I can come away with the title it will be truly special. The only thing that I will try to do different this year is to enjoy the event a little more, as in previous years I have always gone into my own little shell and been quite focused, this year though, I plan on having some fun and enjoying my last World Finals as a driver.”
And he plans to end it the way he started it, with his father at his side turning the wrenches. “I will be attending the Grand Finals with my family. My father (aka Papa Ben) will be my mechanic as I thought it would be good to finish off as we started (a father and son team). My Mum will also be there as my head cheerleader along with Kim, my girlfriend. Peter Kalman will also be helping me as always with the chassis setup. I have had the most success with Peter and it will be a great way to end my karting with him by my side.”
It will be the seventh time Cooper is competing at the Rotax Grand Finals and a driver and over the years he has developed some excellent friendships around the world.
“I am looking forward to seeing the usual faces at the Rotax Grand Finals. The faces that you only see once a year at the World Finals. I will actually will be travelling from Lebanon to Valencia as I will be there for a weeks coaching with some of the Lebanese drivers. “
Always willing to work his fellow competitors and teammates Cooper has become a very respected individual in the paddock around the world, and he has some advice for those competing in their first Rotax Grand Finals. “My advice would be enjoy it and embrace the event. This race only comes around once a year and it may be the only time some drivers will be there so take in everything. Remember it is a very long week and very spread out. There is only one race that counts, which is the last one, so don’t get too down if you are struggling in practice and the heats. On the other hand don’t relax if everything is going well.”
Through the month of November CKN has full coverage of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and Team Canada. CKN will be trackside in Valencia, Spain from November 23-30 to bring you all the action on http://canadiankartingnews.com and on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.