Sabré Cook: “It feels like it’s not so us against the rest of the guys”
“If you succeeded all the time, you probably wouldn’t learn very much because you learn from failing,” says W Series driver Sabré Cook.
“If you won everything and everything always went your way, then when something bad did happen, or adversity, then you’d have a really hard time dealing with it because you’ve never had to experience that before.”
We’ve been laughing and joking throughout our whole interview, as you’d expect from a very bubbling Sabré. Living in Colorado, USA she’s determined to make the best out of the Coronavirus pandemic and is using her time to catch up on things that she’s missed while being away from home and racing in Europe last year.
“There’s quite a lot of cases in the mountains that we have, between where I am and Denver,” she says. “Where I am, all essential businesses are still open. You can’t sit in a restaurant or anything - places are only open for takeout. Gyms, malls and movie theatres are all shut down.”
She may have three books on the go at once, but she’s ensuring that she can stay as physically and mentally fit as possible so she’s ready to go racing again.
“We’re all going through this together, so it’s not like you can be like ‘why is this happening to me?’ and get like that,” she says. “This is the situation and you have to make the best of it.
“I have a lot of equipment that I can use for a home workout and then at my dad’s house he has a home gym area where there’s weights and a pullup bar, spin bike and treadmill. That’s pretty helpful right now to be able to use that and train as much as I can. It kinda sucks because for strength-wise it’s a bit more challenging if you don’t have the heavy weights but I’m doing the best I can.”
Sabré has grown up in and around racing. She has an extensive motorsport CV and her father owns a kart track. Yet, despite all of this, Sabre chose to pursue a demanding degree in engineering alongside her motorsport commitments. Graduating from Colorado School of Mines in 2017, Sabré has always been fascinated with science.
“I’d always been one of those kids that liked school and I really started liking maths and science from an early age, probably like third grade,” she says. “It was a normal progression for me and then I really started thinking that I would go into the STEM field when I was about 13. Regardless of racing and motorsports, I definitely still would’ve chosen that career path.”
W Series has tested the 25-year-old as a racing driver but introduced her to so many like minded people. Like many of the competitors, she was apprehensive of the idea of a female-only championship to begin with.
“When someone says that they’re going to create an all women’s series, if you don’t really open up and see it as an opportunity then you may see it as ridiculous,” she says. “You don’t need your own series. We can race with all the boys just fine as we’ve been doing it our whole life. Why change now?
“From that perspective, it was hard to step out of it. But actually, they weren’t saying that we need our own series because we CAN’T compete with the guys, but they’ve created a driver development programme that helps us improve as drivers so we can go back and do even better against the guys. It’s realising that was the overall goal, rather than you guys need your own series.”
Last year she finished 12th in the championship, just keeping hold of her seat for the 2020 season. She’s the first to admit that her journey wasn’t straightforward, where highs and lows made it a challenging affair.
“The reverse grid podium at Assen was great, as was beating Sarah Moore in the race of champions at the evaluation,” she says. “Zolder was not good when I got the drive-through penalty and then the same again in Assen. They were definitely rough points of the season.”
She may be laughing now about it, but it’s clear she still feels strongly about those events.
“With Assen, it was harder because that was a big mistake on my behalf to start in the wrong grid box,” she says. “I was very upset with myself. It was silly and I was just so focused on other things that you can forget to do the simple things!”
Despite this, Sabré has met a grid full of women that have the same passion as her and there’s not anyone that she wouldn’t want to sit and chat with.
“It was great to be a part of that first season because you got to see how they really ran things professionally,” she says. “Not everything went perfectly to plan all of the time, but if something - however minor - happened, they were very on top of things to get it sorted out to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
“It was very well run and a great experience to be a part of. I was so happy to meet all these women drivers because we didn’t all have that connection before last year. We’ve all become friends, talk to each other and rely on each other. It kinda feels like it’s not so us against the rest of the guys. It’s a nice thing to be a part of.”
All photos are credited to W Series.