Evans GP’s newly-signed GB4 contender Cooper Webster is gearing up for his first campaign of racing outside of his native Australia, and the 19-year-old can’t wait to get going.
The Victoria resident has competed in the V8-powered S5000 single-seater category for the past few seasons, establishing himself as one of Australia’s most promising young contenders. But he reckons the move to UK competition will be a key step in his career, and that GB4 gives him previously unavailable opportunities.
“The UK is the motorsport capital of the world and if you can perform there I believe it will give you exposure to the right people that you would need to help further your career.
“I chose GB4 specifically because it is potentially exposure I’ve never had before overseas, the category has GB3 as the next stepping stone and GB4 is very affordable in comparison to other European open wheel categories.”
Unusually, Webster has the luxury of making the move to the UK with a team from his homeland, as he joins category newcomers Evans GP, something he hopes will be of real benefit.
“It will for sure make me feel a bit more comfortable, working with people more similar to me at the very beginning when I move to the UK. Plus it’s cool to have an Aussie team and driver competing in the UK, I think we will impress the other Europeans.”
The leading Australian drivers of recent times, such as Mark Webber, Will Power, Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri all used the UK racing scene as a launch pad for their successful careers. While he’s keen to emulate their success, he’s keeping his expectations in check for now.
“A lot of great drivers have raced in the UK and then leapfrogged their career from there but I don’t want to think too far ahead yet” he admits.” It’s in the back of my mind but it’s not worth thinking about at the moment. It’s more important to first concentrate on doing my best in GB4 and that’s all I can really do, and then just see from there.”
After two years racing in 560-horsepower V8-powered S5000 machinery, the move to GB4 will provide a new challenge for Webster, and he’s relishing the task ahead of him.
“S5000 has been great, I loved driving high-powered single-seaters and combined with hard work the results are starting to show. I think it gives me a little confidence knowing I can learn and get up to speed to win, and then potentially in GB4 as well. I think it’s good to have a little confidence going into the season, but not too much. I know there is a lot of learning and work to be done in order to be quick in this different series if I want to do well.
“I suspect the biggest challenge will be the slightly different driving style of keeping the momentum up, more so than I have been used to in the S5000. Also, learning the UK tracks will be a challenge too, and if I can get those two things right then I believe I’ll be heading in the right direction to be quick in the car.
“I’m not going to overthink it too much, I’ve been in this position of a lot of unknowns and had to learn everything before, so I can’t wait to just embrace the challenge and work hard.”