ONE of the south-west's most prominent sprintcar rising stars hopes a multi-year stint racing through North America can lift his driving to the next level.
Kirkstall-based competitor Brayden Cooley will in January shift to Canada as a full-time driver for Glenn Styres Racing, ticking off a childhood dream in the process.
The 23-year-old will navigate a jam-packed calendar for at least two years, racing regularly at home track Ohsweken Speedway while also contesting dates throughout the United States.
Cooley said it was "a dream come true".
"We've probably planned this over the course of 12 months. It was hard to go last season because COVID was quite bad over there and I don't think they got a season in," Cooley told The Standard.
"Two or three months ago (Glenn Styres) contacted us and said 'I've got an opportunity racing every week at Ohsweken and down in Florida for three months as well'.
I'll just focus on getting ready for Florida in early February and go for it.- Brayden Cooley
"There's a lot of racing to do. I think we'll head to Knoxville after we head back to Canada as they start their season up there for 360 sprintcars."
Cooley said the team would complete about "60 or 70" race meetings.
He hoped the increased time in the car would be beneficial to his growth as a driver.
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"Just the fitness side of it as well. Once I come back here and race here for someone it'll be really good," Cooley said.
"Hopefully I'll have that advantage of being race-fit and having that experience of racing so often.
"Over here you're lucky to run a couple of nights in a row a few times a year but over there you're racing pretty much every week for the next eight months is pretty crazy but I'm looking forward to it."
Cooley said he'd embrace the travel and culture of North America. He revealed he'd sit out the start of the Australian season in favour of preparations for his trip.
"We'll just sit out over here for now. There's a tyre shortage so that'll be hard," he said.
"I'll just focus on getting ready for Florida in early February and go for it."
Building consistency throughout meetings was Cooley's biggest focus heading into life as a professional driver.
"I want to keep that going from qualifying right through," he said.
"Racing on some big and small tracks over there I want to adapt to them as quickly as possible and I really just want to build aggression.
"If we're in a position to get a few wins and that, that'll be good and we'll work on that as well."
Cooley thanked his supporters and those who followed his progress in the V20 car.
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