Cooper Noah Lee (born 2 May 1995) is an Australian racing driver who has raced in FF3M under Mitchell's driver academy and is currently one of the test drivers for Mitchell.
Born in Palmerston City, Australia, Lee's first experience of motor-racing came on two wheels as his father, Russell, was a keen motocross rider. Although Cooper showed promising ability on a 50cc KTM, a visit to a V8 Supercars race at the Hidden Valley raceway changed his preference from two to four wheels. It wasn't the Holdens and Fords, but the supporting single-seater racers that inspired Lee to follow his dream of becoming an FF1M champion one day. The nearby go-kart circuit in Darwin was an ideal and convenient place for Lee to develop his skills, and he proved to be a rather boisterous young racer, irritating the experienced drivers in the process. He would go on to compete in the Australian FFFordM Championship where he would dominate the 2011 championship, winning more than half the races that season. Lee would also dominate the 2012 FF4M SEA championship, winning half the races and finishing 2nd in the other half.
Cooper was an attendee at the 2003 Australian Grand Prix where as well as supporting Mark Webber, he showed particular affection towards debutantes Mitchell after Alexander Wurz nearly won on the team's debut. In subsequent races, he and his father would always book the same two seats at the Jones grandstand until the 2012 race where he was invited by Joe Mitchell himself to watch the race from the team garage. Afterwards, Mitchell signed Lee to his driver academy programme and arranged a deal with WGW Racing for Lee to race in the 2013 FF3M season.
Throughout the 2013 season, Lee comfortably had the measure over teammate Isaac Weber and was a consistent performer throughout. His first podium finish came in the second race at the classic Pau circuit before taking his first win at the Paul Ricard circuit. This was the start of five consecutive podium finishes including a second win at Spa.
His third win of the season came at the Suzuka circuit and was in strong contention for the championship at the final meeting at Macau. However, Genjo Tse was in scintillating form and won both races to win the championship, with Lee finishing the season 3rd in the standings
For the 2014 FF2M season, Lee drove for OLM Racing, Mitchell's subdivision, where he partnered Pierre Gasly. He showed good, consistent pace in the first meeting at the Nurburgring, mostly avoiding trouble to finish 4th in the feature race and stealing 2nd from Esteban Ocon on the final lap in the sprint race, in which he also set the fastest lap. He took his first pole position of the season for the feature race at Estoril, but collided with Tomas Gonzalez and beached his car in the gravel trap. This would prove to be the story of Lee's season as results were inconsistent throughout. Monza was a prime example of his contrasting fortunes as a collision with Stoffel Vandoorne sent Lee barrel rolling at the Ascari chicane. From 21st on the grid for the sprint race, Lee barged his way through the first chicane and was up to 6th after the first chicane. He continued his progress throughout the race to finish an incredible 2nd, but a winless campaign consigned Lee to 7th in the championship.
Lee signed for Mitchell to be one of the two test drivers for the 2014 FF1M season. He took part in the young drivers test at Interlagos after the 2013 FF1M season had finished. He was an impressive 2nd quickest in the morning session, just two tenths behind fellow FF3M racer Tomas Gonzalez, but he would go one better in the afternoon as he set the fastest time of the entire test.
Lee's speed was evident during pre-season testing for the 2014 season. He featured in the top ten in the six tests he took part in and could've set the fastest time during day two at Barcelona but for traffic in the final sector.
|2011||Australian FFFordM Championship||Gold Coast Racing||16||9||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||1st|