S5000 team confirms youngest driver to full-time seat
Ambitious S5000 team 88 Racing has signed Cooper Webster to its car for the 2020 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
Webster, 17, is regarded as one of the most exciting talents to come out of the karting scene in recent times, and will be the youngest driver to compete in the all-new open wheel class.
The signing of Webster to 88 Racing by team owner Albert Callegher follows his squad’s mantra of giving young talent an opportunity.
The seat in the team’s S5000 has come about after original driver Jordan Michels was forced out of the seat, as the New Zealander is unable to navigate the tight travel restrictions at present.
Callegher invited Webster to drive his S5000 car at Phillip Island recently, with backing from Webster’s personal supporter Toby Pope, getting a feel for the car ahead of a full season behind the wheel.
Callegher is also looking at securing a second S5000 car to expand his racing operation to two cars before the start of the season at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 4-6.
Webster’s rise to S5000 has included success in karting, winning the KA4 Junior title, racing karts internationally, and also competing at the front of the competitive Hyundai Excel class here in Australia.
Another test day for Webster is planned before ahead of the opening round in Sydney.
Driver, 88 Racing
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be signed to race the S5000 category for the 2020 season, it is such a tremendous opportunity,” said Webster.
“Being the fastest category in Australia, my first open wheel competition and the youngest in the field, I am hoping to build a solid foundation throughout the season with the 88 Racing Team to be able to compete for a championship position by the end of the season.”
Owner, 88 Racing
“I have made it clear from me starting this team I have been looking for young, exciting talent, not necessarily supported by a big budget, that could join the team and build together to become a competitive team to reward our backers,” said Callegher.
“I am a firm believer that the next Australian F1 champion will come from karting not F3 as when you go up the power ranks, many times the fast guys drop away and the fastest shine. This is what this category will do.
“With the unfortunate circumstances recently around COVID-19 travel restrictions and Jordan Michaels not being able to travel back and forth freely, we had no option but to look around for a replacement driver.
“After conducting an evaluation day, it was clear to me that Cooper Webster was the perfect fit and willing to work with me in both driving style, driver feedback and car setup.”