What Drives Her: Sabré Cook Is Here to Make Motorsport Better for Women

A Girls Guide To Cars | What Drives Her: Sabré Cook Is Here To Make Motorsport Better For Women - 085284E3D71270D8B7Dd41B2980956F3 1

Sabré Cook just ended her second season in the all-female W Series Championship.

And while it wasn’t an easy season for her, Sabré (pronounced say-bra) has been making a name for herself in a big way. She proved competitive in the W Series, and her success has left her a finalist for a sports car racing championship’s Drive for Diversity program, which would provide her with $250,000 if she can find a team that will sign her for all of 2022.

Related: Jessi Comb Foundation Awards $30,000 to Women Pursuing Automotive Trades

What Drives Her Motorsport

Photo: W Series

Born Racer

“I was born into [racing] in a way,” the Grand Junction, Colorado native said in a recent interview with A Girls Guide to Cars. “My father used to race motocross and supercross professionally, and he founded karting after he retired. I can’t even remember at the time that I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is cool.’

“But I remember thinking that this is something I wanted to do for the rest of my life when I was 13 and I won my first world championship. It was very tough, character building weekend, and then it ended up working out in the end. And I just remember after I crossed the finish line, I was just like, ‘Wow, this is such a special feeling. This is such a special sport and I could do this forever.’”

Sabré has been competing ever since — even while attending university in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree and joining tons of different groups, like the Society of Automotive Engineers, Formula SAE, the Alpha Phi-Iota Zeta International Fraternity, the Society of Women Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

Now, having graduated, Cook has set her sights on racing.

Related: What Drives Her: How Alex Taylor Is Beating the Boys One Drag Race at a Time

What Drives Her Motorsport

Photo: W Series

Finding Funding

One of the biggest problems that most racers will encounter is the issue of funding. Motorsport is expensive, and if you don’t come from an independently wealthy family, it can be difficult to find the hundreds of thousands — or millions — of dollars it takes to compete.

I asked Sabré what it’s like to pursue a sponsorship, and her answer was enough to make anyone exhausted.

“First, maybe you get the contact through one of your current business contacts, through someone that may be a family friend who knows that you’re looking for funding and they have a contact into a company that might be interested and match up with you brand wise,” she said. “Or the company could even reach out to you and say, ‘Hey, we like what you’re doing. What are your plans?’ And then you start your initial conversation, your initial talks. You get a gauge, you basically tell them what you’re doing, what you want to do.

“If it progresses from there, then they’ll ask to see probably your social media metrics. They’ll try to see what your interactions, your engagements are. And then they’ll basically gauge whether or not your brand is valuable to them. From there, hopefully then you’ll start talking numbers. Usually you start out with a deck and then you move on to a proposal. The proposal hammers off the hard numbers, and then also lists cut-and-dry what they would get and what that would cost. And then obviously you’d go through negotiations on that and basically come up with a final agreement. Then you have a contract that outlines all that, and then both parties sign the contract.”

And that’s if things even work out: “The majority of time, things don’t even progress past the initial talks, or maybe you give them the proposal, and then they decide to go in a different direction, or you get all the way to the contract, and they’ve decided to do something different.”

That’s what makes the W Series so crucial; the series is free for women to compete. Instead of buying a set, talented female drivers go through a rigorous selection process to choose the series field. There, these drivers are not only evaluated on their on-track talent but on their business plans and social media strategy, all of which are important for young drivers to establish a name for themselves and to prove to potential sponsors that they’d be a worthwhile investment.

A Confident Legacy

Sabré’s goals are threefold. In the racing world, she’d like to contest a full season of IndyCar, an American open-wheel racing series, which would make her the first women to do so in years.

But her biggest goals often come off the track. Sabré told me she would love nothing more than to help guide other women — and even struggling male racers — to make their way into motorsport.

Motorsport, she told me, is mysterious. “There’s so much unknown about it. I’d love to provide [information] like that, that people would have access to.”

And she’s even thinking longer term. In the future, Sabré told me she’d love to set up a program that would help veterans adopt dogs in need.

I'm Elizabeth Blackstock, managing editor of AGGTC, blogger, journalist, novelist, editor, MA/MFA graduate student, wife, motorsport fanatic, and bearer... More about Elizabeth Blackstock