Paul Cooke

Paul Cooke tweaks Roger McCaig’s McLaren M8E

Inducted 2011

Starting in 1957 racing an MG-TC, Paul Cooke went on to an illustrious career racing a variety of road racing cars for many years before contributing to the sport as a team manager, mechanic, and senior race official.

After competing for several seasons in the early 1960s in cars such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Austin-Healey in which he won the sports car championship, Paul won the 1964 CASC Touring Car title with the Comstock Holman and Moody-prepared Ford Falcon.

It was also at this time he headed up the Ford of England efforts for the Shell Trans-Canada Rally, and became manager of the Comstock Racing Team for six years, including preparing the winning cars for the Shell 400 rally Fords on three occasions.

During this time, Paul was involved with the elite of Canadian road racing, with considerable success overseeing the programs of 30 race teams with drivers such as Eppie Wietzes and Ludwig Heimrath in the Shelby King Cobra and Ford GT40 race cars.

It was during the Comstock era that the very first racing Mustang was built which Paul raced to its first victory in Quebec.
Paul switched gears after that with a stint as team manager for George Eaton in sports car racing during the Can-Am years, and then with Roger McCaig in Can-Am, Formula 5000, Formula Atlantic, and Formula One.

After his successful career as a team manger, his work included three seasons as race director at Mosport from 1975-77 including F1 races held there.
Paul continued with his involvement with major open-wheeled events in Canada, including the Formula One races in Montreal as Clerk of the Course, a position he still holds today, as well as providing the same duties for the Vancouver and Edmonton IndyCar and IRL events.

Behind the scenes, Paul went on to become Vice-President of the Canadian Racing Drivers Association, and was its competition head from 1985 to 1990, and is presently Vice President, Competition and Director of Karting for ASN Canada FIA.

More recently, Paul partnered with Ron Fellows and Tom Ryley to help vault Canadian kart racers to international prominence leading to Canada in 2010 having four karting World Champions.

Throughout his racing career, Paul has made an outstanding contribution to the development, sustainability, and safety of motorsport in Canada.

Image courtesy of Ken Graham.

Carroll Shelby

Inducted 2009

The Foundation created a new International Category in 2010 year and former Le Mans 24-hour winner Carroll Shelby of California was the initial inductee under this new category.

“I was delighted last fall, when the Canadian Motorsport Heritage Foundation announced expansion of the Hall of Fame to include an International category to recognize people outside of Canada who helped develop and grow Canadian motor sport. It was no surprise to me that Carroll Shelby would be the first inductee.” said Paul Cooke, Comstock Racing Team Manager from 1963 to 1968.

“In the 1960’s, Carroll Shelby was hugely instrumental in helping Chuck Rathgeb’s Comstock Racing Team of Canadian drivers such as Ludwig Heimrath, Eppie Wietzes, George Eaton and Craig Fisher become household names as well as all being inducted to the Hall of Fame.”

Chuck Rathgeb forged a long-term relationship with Ford and Carroll Shelby and the Shelby organization worked directly with Comstock to field the Cobra 289, Cobra 427, King Cobra and Shelby Mustangs.

“History shows that the Comstock Racing Team was the most successful Canadian racing team ever seen at the time. The support given to Comstock under the direction of Carroll was invaluable,” concluded Cooke.

Shelby was inducted at a special gala to celebrate his lifetime achievements at the Canadian International Auto Show in February 2010.. The induction was done amidst 40 of the most significant cars that Shelby ever raced or built for others to race. Eppie Wietzes, one of the first Canadian inductees in the Hall of Fame, presented Shelby with his induction medallion while Paul Cooke presented him with a gold lapel pin.

Eppie Wietzes

Inducted 1993

A two-time Canadian Driving Champion, Eppie Wietzes won in everything he drove, from a Sunbeam Alpine to Comstock Mustangs and GT-40s and finally to a flock of very quick Formula 5000 cars. He won back-to-back Canadian Championships in 1969 and 1970. Then headed south to star in the Continental (F5000) circuit where he did himself and his country proud.

Image via Sports Car Digest

Chuck Rathgeb

Inducted 1993

The head of Comstock Canada, Rathgeb built the most successful racing team Canada has ever seen. Comstock Racing gave many promising Canadian drivers a chance to compete in major North American races- and win. A true sportsman who has competed in many of the world’s toughest rallies, Chuck Rathgeb also financed the building of the Comstock-Sadlers, which helped to put Canada on the racing map.

Bob McLean

inducted 1993

Bob McLean came barnstorming across the country in 1965, winning the Canadian Driving Championship and proving to the eastern establishment that western drivers could run with the best. He did his own mechanical work and stretched every dollar to do it. It seemed that getting a ride the next year in a Comstock Ford GT-40 for the Sebring 12 hours was his big break. But it ended in tragedy when he crashed and died during the race.