Heading into their first official race weekend of 2019, Cooke and his co-driver, Kenton Koch, were ready to hunt down a podium finish! A week's worth of activities started off with a visit to the Halifax Health Centre with the Austin Hatcher Foundation. Cooke spent some quality time with the Speediatric VIPs in support of pediatric cancer research. Pumped from a great day, Cooke looked forward to the beginning of the official weekend.
Loaded in and ready for action, eEuroparts ROWE racing took to the paddock and jumped right in; the crew worked diligently to prep the car for on-track activities while Cooke and Koch practiced their driver changes until content with their speed and accuracy. With the start of Day 1 rolled in some heavy rain - eEuroparts elected to opt out of first practice realizing that with the outlook of the full weekend, rain practice would offer little to gain and a lot to lose. Running top-ten speeds in the remaining practices of the day, Cooke and Koch were ready to race. A combination of lap traffic and a mishap on the only clear lap, Koch qualified the car in P12 in a very tight field - only 6 tenths separated P3 to P12. Being an endurance race, the duo were prepared to shine while climbing the ranks.
Unfortunately, the great weather on race day was too good to be true. Koch got off to a strong start until the series of unfortunate events began to unravel. The #2 Audi R8 LMS GT4 suffered a penalty that put them a lap down after a tire went out due to debris on track under a yellow. After nearly two hours of pushing, with the help of a few more yellows, Kenton finally regained his ground and brought the car onto lead lap just before Cooke jumped in to bring home the car. Things were looking up for the team as Cooke climbed the ranks quickly with each passing lap. Not even an hour into his stint, Cooke was collected from the rear by the #26 Classic BMW M4 GT4, which ultimately resulted in rear suspension damage. The car was retired with a little over an hour left in the race.
While not the race they hoped for, Cooke and Koch are holding their heads high, the crew is working hard to put the car back into tiptop shape, and the team is ready to come back even stronger at the next round of the IMPC. Follow along the #2 eEuroparts ROWE Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 while Tyler Cooke and Kenton Koch conquer Sebring from March 13th-16th!