(featured image credit: David Yowe)
A big thanks to Cooper for taking the time out of his busy racing and school schedule to answer our questions. We wish him and the WeatherTech Racing team the best of luck for the rest of the season.
Matt: When you first heard about the ALMS and Grand Am merger, what were your initial thoughts?
CM: When I first heard about the merger, I was not happy. I knew that it would go one of two ways: either it would be the next best thing to happen to American SportsCar racing OR it would be a disaster. Unfortunately it has been the latter. With the BoP being way out of whack, the horrific call at Daytona that cost the true winners their well deserved podium celebration, and the atrocious call at Sebring that cost me and my team our second win in a row, you could say I am FAR from pleased. I understand growing pains, but those are for newborns. Our officials have combined decades of experience, yet they issue calls as if this is their first time—unacceptable. If I had it my way, I would be racing WEC or ELMS however my school schedule does not allow that, so I am stuck with Tudor, for now. I know things will continue to get better because I can’t see how they could be any worse.
Matt: During the Sebring 12 Hours, WeatherTech president, Allan Thom, made some interesting comments about Pirelli World Challenge “looking interesting” after the blown penalty call. Could a World Challenge entry become a reality, or was it just frustration?
CM: We will explore ALL of our options and PWC is absolutely one of them.
Matt: What have been the biggest adjustments from the GTC Porsche to the GT America?
CM: The largest adjustment going from the 997 to the 991 has to be the way it handles differently. The 991 handles more like a proper mid engine car and not like the engine is hanging off the rear axle! The new 991 Porsche is a lot of fun to drive. The paddle shifters are cool and the car makes a lot of great sounds- gearbox sounds, engine sounds, etc. They all put a large grin on my face! The car is also a lot less taxing on the driver so longer stints are now somewhat easier.
Matt: You’ve already had a very successful racing career (multiple GTC championships, Sebring class wins for example), what goals are you still trying to obtain?
CM: Thank you. Being 21 and having wins and championships is quite special however, I want to win the big one. The 24 Hours of Le Mans. My first time racing there was last year and it was an absolutely amazing experience, there is nothing else like it in the world. One day I will stand on the top step of that podium.
Matt: What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
CM: Clinching my first championship with one race to go in the schedule was a pretty special feeling. It was my first year in ALMS and Leh Keen and I had 7 or 8 podiums and a bunch of wins. That was truly a special year.
Matt: What sparked your interesting in racing and what/who keeps you inspired to keep racing?
CM: My Father raced for 20 years. He raced mostly SCCA but also finished on the 2nd step of the podium at Sebring in 1999. Without him and his support my career would have been extremely difficult. I am grateful that I have a dad that is passionate about the same things I am, so much that he will write a large check to support me! Thanks dad.
Matt: When you’re away from the track, what do you do to relax?
CM: When I am away from the track I am supposed to be working on my school work, which I do most of the time! Of course, when I am done with all of my homework, then I relax! I like to hike, mountain bike, dirt bike, camp, ski, and shoot. Basically any sport that puts me in the mountains relaxes me.
Matt: Favorite track and why?
CM: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is my favorite track, but Road America (home track) and Laguna Seca fall shortly thereafter. I have had some of the best sprint racing in my career at the famed track in Montreal, specifically in Ferrari Challenge and IMSA Cup.
Matt: Who is your best friend in the paddock?
CM: My best friend in the paddock is my codriver Leh Keen. Sure, I am friends or at least acquaintances with everyone in the paddock, but my co driver is who I spend the most time with and we get along so well.
Matt: You’re behind the wheel of any race car from any era, what is it and why?
CM: 1974 Porsche RSR on the Circuit De La Sarthe. Just like the one I will drive at Classic Le Mans this year 🙂