The Contenders: Cooper Webster (Versa Motorsport)
BUILDING on his strong seventh place in the 2021 season, Melbourne teenager Cooper Webster has become a bone fide title contender in the 2022 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
Driving for the newly formed Versa Motorsport, Webster sits fourth in the championship heading into the final round at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown next week (June 17-19) but mathematically remains in contention for his maiden title.
His task is a challenging one – he is 107 points behind leader Joey Mawson with 110 up for grabs across qualifying and the three races in Darwin – however his impressive season is worth documenting.
His season started strongly in Tasmania with fourth on the grid and second in the feature race, chasing Tim Macrow down throughout the race’s duration.
He then backed that up with a supremely consistent weekend at Phillip Island to qualify third and finish the three races in third, second and second, respectively, to hold second in the standings approaching the Grand Prix.
S5000’s strongest ever field presented a new challenge at Albert Park: Webster qualified eighth, gained two spots to finish sixth in race one and then made the most of the inverted race two grid finish third again.
Seventh in the finale’, however – behind several drivers not in the championship mix – proved costly from a points perspective.
A reverse-grid win in Sydney – the second of his S5000 career – ensured he remained in the hunt however a non-finish in the heavily weighted feature was a blow, making his title quest ever more challenging.
Regardless, 2022 has represented a breakout season for both Webster and the Versa Motorsport team, who have proven more than capable of challenging the series’ establishment in GRM, Tim Macrow Racing and Team BRM at any circuit.
A championship title may prove challenging this year, however a strong Darwin weekend could see the young Victorian score a top three finish for the season – proving his ‘star of the future’ credentials.
Standings: 4th (-107 points)
2022 Races: 12
2022 Wins: 1
2022 Podiums: 6
Best Qualifying: 3rd (Phillip Island)