Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Sabre Cook is one remarkable Woman. And 2019 is one mighty big year for the 25 year old American.
Sabre gained massive opportunity to further her racing career gaining selection in the inaugural single-seater WSeries of 5 Races for 18 Women drivers, and tied in the celebration with winning placement with Infiniti Engineering Academy based in the UK.
Excited would be an understatement- as Sabre not only relished each and every opportunity to race, learn and improve her knowledge on and off the track- the mechanical engineer is equally at home refining work-place skills on the technical operations of race cars.
A rare feat indeed at just 25 years of age, given the challenging trajectory of female drivers to gain seat-time with Sabre progressing through ranks from Karting, to racing Sports Cars, F4 and currently F3 in WSeries. And the opportunity means alot:
#37: ‘At the middle of last year I was sent a request for my application to be considered in the W Series selection process. Based on my resume I was blessed to be invited to the first evaluation in Melk, Austria in January. I did well enough to progress through to the second evaluation a month later in Almeria, Spain’.
‘Throughout the selection events I certainly acknowledged what an amazing opportunity was on the line, but I tried to focus on enjoying the process. I really appreciated the extra seat time I wouldn’t be getting otherwise, and embraced the drills we were asked to do to as a chance to improve my driving skill sets’.
WSeries has certainly succeeded in stamping point of difference in paving path for future F1 Women drivers. The whole process of selection was not only based on drivers ability to race, but on character traits marking what each Women has when push comes to shove, when racing does or does not go to plan, when podiums are stood upon or not.
#37: ‘The selection process was very unique and thorough. I’ve certainly never been evaluated on so many different aspects required to be a good driver at one single event’.
‘The icy driving, a few of the car control drills, and team activities we were tested on were very new to me but I really loved giving my best at each task we were asked to do. At one point you forgot that you’re being evaluated and you just started embracing the fun of it and being able to share it with so many other women with the same passion as you’.
With Sabre embracing all that racing has to offer, little wonder the one of 2 Americans selected finds gratitiude easily, noting the lift of financial burden to race has been taken away with WSeries covering all expenses to race.
And what an unprecedented opportunity, as stated by WSeries: ‘The entire racing season for all the drivers, including Formula 3 cars, maintenance, repair, and setup adjustments will be the responsibility of technicians hired by the organizers. All accommodations and travel, will be paid for by the W Series. Plus, a total prize fund of $1,500,000 has been assigned, with the overall series winner taking $500,000′.
For Sabre: ‘Quality seat time in racing is the most valuable thing. So for W Series to provide free seat time, on amazing tracks, in quality cars, supported by a great team…there’s really nothing better you could ask for!
‘They cover every single cost. For drivers like me, taking that financial burden off my shoulders is huge. That way each race I get to solely focus on my driving, mental, physical, and technical skills and hone in where I need improvements and then get the chance to implement them in the following races’.
‘Receiving guidance from Hintsa Performance on the physical training, and learning from so many different engineers at HiTech GP is another aspect I really enjoy. The whole experience really helps me grow in all areas and I’m so lucky to be a part of it’.
All of which transfers to make these 18 Women better drivers. Sabre proves point, making steady progress on WSeries Championship standings finishing Race 1 at Hockenheim in 13th place, to Race 2 at Zolder 15th, then hitting stride at Race 3 at Misano finishing 8th and Race 4 at Norisring 7th. Assen proved bit disappointing for #37, being docked penalty drive through which only pushed Sabre to show what she is capable of come reverse grid race.
As WSeries Press Release states: ‘Third place went to Sabre Cook (USA), who forced her way to third place from eighth early on, and, despite relentless pressure from various drivers throughout the race, held onto to that position to take her first W Series podium finish, clocking the fastest lap of the race en route (1min 35.850sec)’.
For Sabre: ‘It took me a couple races to feel more acclimated to the environment and get more comfortable in the car. Sometimes it can be a lot to take in with a new series, new car, new competitors, and new tracks’.
‘I think my recent upward progression has come from just working hard and putting in the hours training, sim time, and mostly working on my mental approach to things. I have a large experience gap compared to the other girls, so I just try to take advantage of every moment and opportunity to get better and close that gap to my competitors’.
Having gained placement at Infiniti Engineering Academy for first part of 2019, followed by placement at Renault F1, Sabre has to be admired on taking all changes in her stride. Ramping up expectation levels of achievement within WSeries and at work as mechanical engineer is not for the faint hearted- which just goes to show attitude truely is everything to get top results.
As Sabre explains: ‘The Infiniti Engineering Academy is a global program that gives a year long placement to 7 winners. One winner is selected from each of the 7 regions: Europe, Mexico, Middle East, China, USA, Canada, and Asia Oceania’.
‘To win the final you start my submitting your application online and taking a short test. If you progress from there you will have a Skype interview and then 10 finalists will be selected to go to your region’s final, usually paired with the region’s F1 GP’.
‘You will complete an engineering exam, interviews, group problem solving tasks, and an RC car dragster race. Three finalists will be selected to progress to the finals stage in the Renault F1 pit garage and complete a technical challenge and 30 minute media challenge. I was fortunate to be selected as the winner in the US competition last year. For winning I received a year long placement split between the Infiniti Technical Center and Renault F1 Team. I’ve completed my time at Infiniti and have just begun my time at Renault F1 and I love it!’
Wow! Sabre has nailed some outstanding achievements to present day, on track and at work and this is just the beginning of next chapter. As #37 says:
‘It is a great experience and a huge step in my career as an engineer. It also helps me understand each of the cars to a deeper level and perhaps by applying my knowledge of vehicle dynamics I can find better ways to drive the car to a certain balance and give more accurate feedback to my engineer’.
Heading into WSeries Final Race at Brands Hatch this weekend- Sabre is more than keen to hone those racing skills clocked up over course of 4 WSeries Races. All the while enjoying the moments, sharing the enthusiasm, and most of all keeping all important attitude on the positive!
Heading into the last championship race at Brands Hatch next weekend, I’m feeling hungrier than ever!
‘I know Brands is going to be tricky, and qualifying is going to be the absolute key. I’m just trying to prepare as much as I can beforehand to put that great lap together in qualifying, and then race my heart out until the end. No matter what happens, the whole season has been an incredible experience. Even if the results aren’t what I wanted, it gives me things to improve on and targets to set my goals towards next year’.