We’re not sure that this rises to the level of corporate espionage, since that term would apply to something far sneakier than what’s going on here. Riverside Raceway hosted a USRRC Championship race in April 1964, and from what we can tell, members of Team Cobra just couldn’t resist checking out the competition in the paddock.
The GT race was a classic Cobra vs. Corvette duel. Sort of. Ken Miles won driving a Cobra, and about a second behind him came Ed Leslie in another Cobra. Two Porsche 904s finished Third and Fourth. Dick Guldstrand had the fastest Corvette that day, finishing Fifth, and he was followed in Sixth by Doug Hooper in this car. (Billy Krause drove the No. 3 Vette in the background, but was a DNF.)
Hooper was a force to be reckoned with behind the wheel of a Corvette. He started racing them in 1960 and won the SCCA’s Pacific Coast Championship five times. Driving for Mickey Thompson, he won the Sting Ray’s debut race, the L.A. Times Grand Prix, in October 1962—the first time Corvette raced against Cobra. Hooper was supposed to be part of the team that would race the Grand Sport Corvettes at Le Mans in 1963, but GM pulled the plug on all its racing efforts that year before he got the chance.
After leaving Thompson’s team, Hooper opened his own Corvette repair shop in North Hollywood and continued racing, including at this USRRC event in Riverside. He would eventually compete in all kinds of sports cars—from Cobras to Can-Am Lolas—but always seemed to find his way back to Corvettes, ending his driving career vintage racing the machines with Guldstrand and other former competitors and teammates. An inductee into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame in 2007, Hooper passed away in 2013.