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Kelly Moss Steers Toward More Diverse Future with Female Driver Shootout

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Saber Cook selected for the 2023 Porsche Carrera Cup North America, with team co-owner Victoria Thomas leading the effort

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Holly Kane

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Victoria Thomas is a seasoned professional in the world of racing, co-owner of renowned racing company Kelly Moss Racing and a major voice in the sport.

Despite her extensive track experience and years of assessing racer talent, Thomas remained amazed and impressed by the recent racer shootout and assessment of the full-time female driver selection for the 2023 Porsche Carrera Cup North America team represented by the Cayman Islands effort.

The three drivers completed laps at Indiana’s Putnam Park, endured intense physical exertion and went through off-track testing, from media management to discussing the technical aspects of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars with the race engineers. All three women made a strong case for a unique chance to ride all season long in an IMSA-sanctioned monoseries.

After a difficult decision, 28-year-old Saber Cook, a Colorado native now living in Indianapolis, was chosen to drive Kelly Moss’ Porsche next season. in racing.

“When it came to making the final decision, Saber had an incredible experience,” Thomas said. “She is definitely an athlete. And with her background in engineering, her ability to articulate what’s going on with a car and understand what it means and how to read the data, we feel like it really gives us an edge.

“And in doing so, the enthusiasm for the Saber announcement is balanced by the enthusiasm for the awareness we’ve raised.”

Cook, a national and international karting champion with a podium finish in the W Series, is also an experienced mechanical engineer with a degree from the renowned Colorado School of Mines. In 2019, she was selected to the prestigious Infiniti Academy of Engineering, gaining the opportunity to work as an engineer at Infiniti in England. This led to her taking a technical position with the Renault Formula One team before her “driving” instincts convinced her to accept a full-time job in the W series, a European open-wheel single-seat car series for female drivers. This only increased her desire to be behind the wheel.

“Being able to play a full season in a series like the Porsche Carrera Cup with a top team is an opportunity I have never been blessed with before,” Cook said. “Honestly, having such a wonderful success program is all I’ve been working on for a while and I’m really happy that it all came together and I’m really excited to see what we can do together.”

Funding for Cook’s 2023 season includes all 16 races, numerous tests, race entry fees, and everything from tires and fuel to Kelly Moss’ championship team of engineers and technical experts.

Cook’s impressive reputation and his absolute dedication to the sport were a true representation of the talented trio of finalists. In fact, Thomas was so impressed with the performance of riders Loni Unser, 24, of Haley, Idaho, and Sarah Montgomery, 28, of Lafayette, Louisiana, that she hopes there may be other opportunities on the team for at least one of them. in future.

Thomas said what struck her the most, aside from their driving talent, was how the trio wholeheartedly supported each other despite the fact that they ended up competing against each other.

“When one went to the track, the others said, ‘You’ve got it,'” Thomas said. “They truly believe that together they are stronger. It’s such a difference.”

This is certainly a great opportunity for young riders, but, according to Thomas, and for the team. And sports.

“We decided to invite women who have shown that they can compete at the required level,” Thomas said. “We believe that Kelly Moss’ pedigree with 35 national championships to our credit truly provides the support needed to break the barrier of the first women’s team championship and women’s professional driver in the history of motorsports.”

Contributors included Lyn St. James, two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner, 1990 class winner in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and 1992 Indianapolis 500 rookie. A Hall of Famer driver, one of the sport’s most accomplished female competitors and a longtime equal opportunity advocate, St. James said she was impressed not only by the women selected for evaluation, but by the “chance” they presented.

“It’s a great opportunity – singles series, single driver series and very competitive – so I think it’s a great platform for a rider to show his talent and get a lot of good time against a lot of good competition.” – St. James said. “It’s a great way to get on the platform, have a great experience, and show what you’ve got.”

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver Katherine Legge, Porsche Carrera Cup driver Riley Dickinson and longtime motorsport journalist Jeremy Shaw also helped with the scores. For Thomas, the whole experience exceeded her expectations. And those are very high expectations.

She hopes this will usher in a new era in the sport where women are seen as more viable and valuable components of a racing team.

“The most visible part of the team is the driver, so it’s very important to put a really strong female driver in the seat,” Thomas said. “And I think we are uniquely qualified to provide technical support to do our best to help a woman achieve her goals. And the reason it’s so important is because it’s the most visible role.

“My role this year is to stand on the rooftops and shout that women should support women. There has been such an incredible response from the industry and the general population. Ultimately, the more important goal is simply to get more women into the sport so that fans and sponsors support it.”

The true sign of success, Thomas concluded, would be when women were well represented in all aspects of racing.

“Ultimately,” she said, “what we want is No be history.”



Source: www.imsa.com

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