Sabré Cook wins Kelly Moss shootout for Porsche Carrera Cup NA seat
Kelly Moss Racing welcomes onboard Sabré Cook, winner of the shootout selection for the 2023 Carrera Cup North America seat.
Top American motorsport organization Kelly Moss Racing, led by Victoria Thomas, hosted an all-female driver selection test two weeks ago at Putnam Park, where three shortlisted drivers got behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
A big supporter and advocate for women in motorsport, Thomas launched the game-changing initiative, in a bid to fund the first female driver in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America's history.
“We chose to invite women who have shown they can compete at the level necessary,’’ Victoria Thomas said. “We feel the Kelly Moss pedigree, with 35 national championships under our belt, truly gives the support necessary to break the barrier of the first female-owned-team, female-pro-driver championship in motorsports history.”
Sabré Cook, Loni Unser and Sarah Montgomery - three Shift Up Now athletes - were the three contenders. All three would race one week later at Sebring, all winning their classes in two eight-hour races in World Racing League.
With lap times being only one of the points under scrutiny - crucial factors were also physical fitness, communication with engineers, understanding of car dynamics, media skills - the jury panel carefully assessed the three drivers in the two-day test at Putnam Park.
Alongside co-owner Victoria Thomas, legendary racer Lyn St James - a Indy500 Rookie of the Year, as well as two time winner of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona - helped evaluate the drivers. Katherine Legge and Porsche Carrera Cup driver Riley Dickinson also oversaw the selections.
While every driver impressed for their skills, the shootout ultimately awarded the 2023 seat to Sabré Cook.
“When it came to making the final decision, Sabré has an incredible amount of experience,’’ Thomas stated. “She is definitively an athlete. And with her engineering background, her ability to articulate what’s happening with the car and be able to understand what that means and how to read the data, we feel like it really gives us a leg up.”
Cook, 28, from Colorado, began her racing career with an outstanding progression in the top karting competitions, both nationally and internationally. She then moved up to single-seaters, racing in selected rounds of the F4 US and USF 2000 before being selected for the inaugural season of W Series.
Sabré is in fact best known for having competed in two seasons of the all-female single-seater championship, where she was the only American in 2021.
A consistent point scorer in 2019, she stepped on the podium in the reverse-grid race at Assen. Having finished 12th in the standings, Cook gained automatic entry to the following season. After a less fortunate 2021 season, though, Cook suffered an injury in the Austrian round at Red Bull Ring.
While the American managed to end the season, she then had to undergo surgery and missed the entire 2022 racing season. After a long recovery, she climbed back in the car at last month's WRL endurance round at Sebring, where she won in class both races in a Porsche Cayman GT4.
Other Porsche appearances include a one-off entry in the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America at Circuit of the Americas in April 2021, where she soon proved a quick adaptation to Porsche machinery.
A driver-engineer, Sabré Cook was also among the winners of the Infiniti Engineering Academy in 2019, as she gained priceless experience in the Renault F1 Team as an engineer. Currently based in Indianapolis, Sabré has also engineered Simona De Silvestro's Dallara in Paretta Autosport's part-time campaign in 2022.
Surely, her experience in the driving seat as well as her understanding of the technical aspects of the vehicle made a difference in the selection process.
In one of the best opportunities in her career, Sabré Cook will now have the chance to run the 2023 season in a fully-funded seat in Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by the Cayman Islands.
Funding includes all 16 races, multiple tests, race entry fees, consumables and support from the championship winning team of engineers and technical experts of Kelly Moss Racing.
“Winning the shootout and thus the scholarship with Kelly-Moss is an incredible opportunity for me,” commented Cook. “I’m so eager to have the chance to run in a fully-funded season with the top team for the first time in my career. Kelly-Moss has such a great group of people and I’m confident they can provide me with the tools to be successful."
“I cannot thank Victoria, Andy and the team enough for believing in me and creating such an amazing opportunity. I look forward to our future success together and breaking down barriers.”
The Kelly Moss Racing initiative is an important step for women in the sport. Other successful projects in sports car racing are proving how talented women, provided with top equipment and support, are making the difference. And Sabré Cook has certainly big ambitions.