Four women selected for newly-launched IMSA Diverse Driver program
IMSA launched the new "Diverse Driver Development", as the North American premier sports car association aims to increase diversity with an interesting scholarship. Let's discover who are the four women shortlisted for the fund.
North American premier sports car championship and announced the launch of a new program dedicated to facilitate the development and promote diversity across its promoted series.
The 10 nominees – selected from a pool of over 35 applicants – will contend for the 250,000$ fund that will help cover a full season in either IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge or IMSA Prototype Challenge. Among the 10 profiles, 4 women have been selected.
“There were so many talented applicants, and it was extraordinarily difficult to select our 10 finalists. It will be even more difficult to choose one recipient, as all of our finalists have what it takes to succeed long term in – commented John Doonan, IMSA President.
The requirements to qualify were specified as “strong desire to compete in IMSA, outstanding previous race results”, as well as the ability to secure the remaining needed funding.
W Series racer Sabré Cook is among the standouts; the 27-year old Colorado native has been racing in the all-female F3 series since its inception and is now competing on the F1 platform as the only American on the grid.
Prior to joining W Series, Cook made part-time appearances in F4 US, and was a big name in national and international karting.
During the W Series stop in 2020, Cook entered the first rounds of the IndyPro 2000 Series, as well as selected rounds of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, where she became the first woman to stand on the podium.
“Thanks to IMSA for creating this opportunity!” – wrote Cook.
“Working hard to secure partnerships to ensure I have the funding to run a 2022 season. Excited to see what the future brings!”
Courtney Crone, 20 from California, has also been racing for most of her life – and in a variety of different specialties.
From midget series to formula cars and then LMP3 prototypes.
In 2019, Crone was shortlisted for the inaugural W Series selections – which she attempted again in late 2019, when she made a further step and tested the Tatuss F3 car in Almeria.
The 2018 Formula Car Challenge national champion also made one-off appearances at the Austin round of the F4 US championship, before moving to the LMP3 machine on the IMSA platform in 2021.
Christina Lam is a performance coach at the prestigious Skip Barber School. Lam, 33, co-founded Hi-Speed Motorsports – where she also holds the position of driver coach – and has a good amount of experience in racing national touring car series.
"I am super excited to share that I have been chosen as one of ten finalists for the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship", Lam posted on her social media profiles. "This program will provide financial assistance from IMSA and its corporate partners for a driver to compete in an IMSA sanctioned series for the full 2022 season!"
Together with Sabré Cook, Sarah Montgomery is the second athlete supported by the Shift Up Now collective to make the shortlist.
Montgomery made history when she became in 109 the first female to claim a podium in the highly-competitive Mazda MX-5 Cup, and went on to finish fourth in the class standings.
In 2017, she joined Shea Racing (former W Series racer Shea Holbrook’s team) in Pirelli World Challenge’s TC category for the opening round of the season at VIRginia International Raceway.
Since 2020, Montgomery has been racing in the World Racing League (WRL), where she has secured several podiums and a victory in a Porsche Cayman S.
"Now I just need to finalize the funding and win this damn thing!" – she wrote. "Big thanks to IMSA for considering me for this opportunity. Never have I been this close to my dream series so hoping it pulls through."
The recipient of the scholarship will be announced in mid-November, during the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta – and will secure support from IMSA partners such as Michelin, VP Racing, OMP, RECARO and LAT Photo.