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COOK EARNS PAIR OF TOP-15 FINISHES IN PORSCHE CARRERA CUP AT SEBRING

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Shift Up Now Athlete Sabre Cook followed up a P14 finish on Thursday with a P13 one on Friday, driving for MDK Motorsports in the Porsche Carrera Cup at Sebring International Raceway on March 14-15, 2024.

The two Porsche Carrera Cup sprint races took place in the evening as the sun set, and were a prelude to the 2024 Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Cadillac, which began on Saturday.

Driving the No. 37 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (992) on Yokohama Tires with Mobil1, and proudly displaying support from continued partner privé products, Cook was in the top ten during official test sessions that had taken place the previous week.

Qualifying for the 40-car Porsche Carrera Cup took place on Thursday morning in warm, dry weather. Cook qualified P21 for race one with her fastest lap, and P17 for race two, with her second-fastest lap. She and the MDK Motorsports team worked hard on the setup as they looked to achieve more speed and extract the more from the Yokohama tires. After qualifying, the team made positive changes to her Cup Car to prepare for race one.

That evening, the first race started at 4:55 p.m. ET. Starting from P21, Cook made sure to prepare her tires on the warmup laps so when the green flag fell, she was ready. Although she was boxed in on the inside of the first turn, she didn’t let that affect her focus, and made several passes on the opening lap, taking any gap she could find.

A big incident on lap one in the exit of turn five required wall-damage repair and brought out a full-course yellow. It was opportune for Cook, allowing her tires to cool after pushing to make passes early in the race. On the restart, she overtook another car immediately as the field returned to full pace in turn one, then several more cars over the next few laps.

As the race continued, Cook entered into a lap-after-lap battle with the No. 8 car for the P13 spot. She described the battle as “great fun” as the two raced hard but respectfully, driving side-by-side into several corners. With the end of the race in sight, the No. 8 car took the position.

The entire field was feeling the impact of the Florida heat by the time the checkered flag fell. But Cook’s P14 finish meant she had advanced eight places in an extremely competitive field. In addition, she was the highest-finishing Porsche Female Development Driver, and earned a new set of Yokohama tires.

Race two began at 7:15 p.m. ET on Friday. In what Cook described as a “messy start,” she took a heavy, side-to-side hit before turn one as several cars broke the rule that prohibits passing in your column before the start/finish line. Chaos ensued, but Cook reacted quickly heading into turns 3-5, picking the right path for her car to narrowly miss the melee. By the time the field reached turn 11, the full-course caution was out to allow for clean-up of several crashes.

Since it was only Cook’s second time navigating the tricky sunset visibility, she felt lucky that the yellow fell during the worst part of the evening. She said driving during sunset requires racers to have solid reference points and to trust the speed the car can take, even when depth-perception feels different.

When the checkered flag fell, Cook bettered her finish from the day before, earning P13 and another set of Yokohama tires for being the top-finishing female. She was then awarded a third set for being the top-finishing female overall for the race weekend.

“It felt great being back for the first race of the season,” Cook said. “While there were challenging parts to the week, and qualifying didn’t go as expected, we made up for it in the races and showed a lot of potential going into the rest of the season. I had some really good battles and passes, so that always puts a smile on my face.

“I can’t thank MDK Motorsports enough, and their partner, Ease Logistics, for bringing me into the team and providing great support to start the season. My partners PenFed Credit Union, privé products, Hagerty, Shift Up Now, Bell Helmets, Sabelt America, Rude Image and MySim have all continued their support of me this season. I’m excited to also welcome Senergy Builders, McKenna & Associates, and Mobil1 to the team! I’m proud and thankful to have so much support behind me, and can’t wait to keep progressing throughout the season.”

Races three and four of the 2024 Porsche Carrera Cup season will take place at the Miami International Autodrome, alongside the Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix, on May 3-5, 2024.

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