Freedom Autosport Welcomes MX-5 Cup Champion Brad Rampelberg and Rising Talent Michael Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C.--Reigning Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup champion Brad Rampelberg and young talent Michael Cooper will be co-driving the No. 27 Freedom Autosport MAZDASPEED3 during the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season.
Rampelberg joins Freedom Autosport as part of MAZDASPEED's Motorsports Development Driver platform, and this will mark his first full season in GRAND-AM competition.
"I couldn't be happier to be racing a MAZDASPEED3 next year," says Rampelberg. "I really need to thank Robert Davis, John Doonan and the entire MAZDASPEED team for continuing the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver program and allowing me to move up the ladder after winning the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup series in 2010."
Rampelberg, who lives in San Jose, California, has a long history of success in Mazdas. He started racing in Spec Miata in 2002, and claimed the national championship in 2007. From there, Rampelberg won the MAZDASPEED Shootout at the end of 2007, and moved up to the MX-5 Cup series for 2008, where he finished sixth in points.
After taking 2009 off, Rampelberg returned in 2010 and went on to win five races en route to the MX-5 Cup championship.
Selecting Michael Cooper as the co-driver of the No. 27 Freedom Autosport MAZDASPEED3 was a natural choice. Rampelberg and Cooper were teammates last season in the MX-5 Cup.
"I think it's fantastic," says Rampelberg of working with Cooper again. "He's really quick, super talented, and it's only his second year of racing. To get a chance to race with Michael again this year is awesome; I really look forward to it."
Cooper, a 21-year-old college student from Long Island, New York, made his Mazda debut in 2010. He took the pole in his first MX-5 Cup race and went on to win a race during the season.
Rampelberg and Cooper are both excited about racing the MAZDASPEED3, which they have already begun testing in preparation for the 2011 season. "I got up to speed quickly even though it was my first time in a front-wheel drive car," says Cooper. "I'm definitely looking forward to doing some more testing. It's a good car, but we hope to see even more improvements this year."
Freedom Autosport team manager Tom Long says, "We're honored to have the best talent in the MAZDASPEED Motorsports ladder join our team here at Freedom Autosport. The MAZDASPEED ladder system is second to none in the sport; it's a fantastic relationship. The synergy that Brad and Michael carry as former teammates bodes extremely well for them. We look forward to an incredible year for the drivers, the team, and Mazda!"
-source: freedom autosport