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Cooke-Woods Racing team photo following a successful technical inspection
Le Mans 24 Hours, 13-14 June 1981: Team photo following a successful technical inspection

A lack of testing proved to be the downfall of the Porsche-Lola T600 in the 49th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1981. But let us not get ahead of ourselves…

The 1981 season had started out well for the Garretson team. The team was preparing the cars for Cooke-Woods Racing, which comprised Ralph Kent Cooke and Roy Woods. Ralph Cooke was the son of Jack Kent Cooke, a wealthy businessman who among other things, also owned the Washington Redskins Football team. Ralph was an odd one. He was a Hollywood type from southern California who dabbled in movie making and other such pursuits in the southland. He would routinely have his people (he himself would never call) in Los Angeles call our workshop in Northern California to see who was there and working. We learned to just say, all is well, everyone is here! Roy Woods, on the other hand, we knew well. He was an Oklahoma oil man who had been involved in racing for many years. He in fact, drove with us in 1979, and won Sebring with our team. Together though, they were an ‘odd couple’ for sure. Roy, a racer, easy to deal with, Ralph, an LA-type who seemed to have no idea of what was required.

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