The second Cobra ever produced was the first Cobra ever raced. Peter Brock put the early development miles on chassis CSX2002 before the younger and more aggressive Bill Krause took over driving duties. Modified only with higher compression and Spaulding Flamethrower ignition, the 260 c.i. engine was virtually stock. Fat exhaust pipes hung below the door sills, and air scoops were added to cool the brake discs, and a roll bar installed. Add a little more ventilation in the bonnet and a small racing screen, and you have yourself a racing Cobra 260! These modifications were more than sufficient for performance. Reliability would prove to be another matter.
That the Cobra was allowed to race at Riverside at all is attributable to Shelby's ability to charm. SCCA rules required that production cars must have been built in minimum numbers... and the Cobra far from met this criteria. The race stewards had received a great number of entries by Corvette 327 drivers, however, and opened up a class for them. Partly as a result of their curiosity and partly as a result of Shelby's gift of persuasion, the race organizers let the Cobra start.
At the start, Krause hounded the leading Corvettes. As he grew comfortable pushing the Cobra in competition, he pulled ahead of the field and by the end of an hour had a mile and a half lead! But in its maiden race, a rear hub carrier broke, putting the Shelby American team out of the race. It didn't take a genius to realize, however, what the future held for the Cobra once the bugs had been worked out.