She’s an open-wheel racer, an engineer, and was born into the sport, which makes Colorado’s Sabre Cook a fascinating representative for the USA as she embarks upon her second season in the W Series this weekend in Austria.
“My father used to race Motocross and Supercross professionally back in the ’80s,” she said. “My parents actually used to host Supercross races, and so my mom had to be rushed from this Supercross track to the hospital to give birth to me. Then shortly after they made my dad leave so that he could make it on time for me to be born. So yeah, it started from the beginning. And then my father found karting after he retired from motorcycles just as a hobby and obviously [to] get that adrenaline fix.
“He got my brother and I into karting when I was about eight years old; my mother did not want us racing motorcycles, so it was a bit of a compromise. And I loved it instantly. I was so excited.”
Like her father and the other MotoX racers, an attacking approach to vehicular competition came naturally to Cook.
“I went out, first lap on this little kid kart track, they’d set up for us, and I spun out, because I didn’t realize you had to slow down. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ and I scared myself,” she explained. “I drove so slow for maybe a year or so; they called me ‘Driving Miss Daisy.’ Then I got teased by some boys at some local race and like, ‘Well, I’m faster than you, I’m going to beat you; you’re slow.’ I didn’t like that very much.
“I went to my dad and just was like, ‘I think I can win if I had a faster kart,’ because I had a kart that was a hand-me-down and it really couldn’t win, the class I was in anyways. So he got me a new kart and I went out and won the next race by like, 10 seconds.”
It’s with the new kart where a 10-year-old Cook found her passion for the mechanical and engineering side of the sport as she took care of the little machine. And despite her family’s ability to supply a new kart, her open-wheel journey over the next decade-plus would be shaped by a lack of funding to consistently develop her talent.
It took the dawn of the W Series in 2019, in fact, for Cook to contest her first full-season championship, where she placed 12th while learning a new car and every circuit she visited on the all-European calendar.
Get to know more about Cook and her Road to Indy efforts, educational pursuits in mechanical engineering, and reviving her career in the W Series in the full podcast interview below, or click here.