|By Kelly Brouillet; As seen in RACER Magazine, March 2011
Skipping Ahead With and Without Fenders
Skip Barber and MAZDASPEED ensure that the Mazda Motorsports Ladder isn’t just for open-wheelers.
While the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development system is instrumental to providing the starting steps to help young and dedicated open-wheel racers, it also offers significant boots to drivers interested in sports car racing�in tandem with Skip Barber Racing School.
Consisting of equally-prepared Mazda MX-5s, the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge prepares drives to advance up to series such as the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Series or GRAND-AM.� Skip Barber Racing School sophomore Tyler Wolfson took home the championship with Angelo Dinkov close behind, but two more young drivers stood out in the 2010 summer season of the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge.� Sixteen year old Tyler Cooke and 12-year-old John Capestro-Dubets ran impressive seasons, proving their strength on and off the track.
In his 16-race 2010 Summer season in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge, Cooke earned two race wins, three pole positions, nine podiums, and placed in the top five 14 times.� When faced with mechanical issues or a less than desirable result, the calm teen would simply shrug the incident off and look forward to the next event.�
“It taught me how to adjust my driving,” said Cooke of the obstacles he faced and overcame during the season. “I continued to learn car control and how to carry the car to the finish. It’s all about how you manage the car and keep it under you.”� Cooke earned the third spot in the championship standings, winding up just nineteen points behind the series champion. This year, he’ll be joining Long Road Racing to compete in NASA’s Spec Miata championship.� He will also take part in select rounds of Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series as he makes his way up the pro ranks.
John Capestro-Dubets started 2010 determined to make the most of his time on and off the track and quickly became popular in the paddock with his relaxed yet enthusiastic demeanor.� He kicked off his rookie season of the MAZDASPEED Challenge on a high note, grabbing the pole position his first race weekend at Virginia International Raceway. The next time out, Capestro-Dubets earned his second pole position as well as his first and second career race wins. In his 14 races, John finished the season with four wins, three pole positions, five podiums and eight top-five finishes. Finishing sixth in the Championship, Capestro-Dubets earned his Rookie of the Year title. This year, he will compete with BimmerWorld Racing in the Continental Tire Challenge.
There is no rest for the dedicated, as these two young men are currently spending the winter racing in Skip Barber Racing School’s regional series, the Southern MAZDASPEED Challenge.� Still learning all they can and aiming for the maximum amount of exposure, the commitment and enthusiasm of these two drivers is already starting to pay off and undoubtedly will continue to do so in the years to come.
RACER is published monthly by Haymarket Worldwide LLC
Copyright 2011 by Haymarket Worldwide LLC