On top of the massive list of championship trophies and race winner awards at the 2015 Florida Winter Tour finale in Ocala, Florida, there was a special award to be announced.
Following the tragic death of Indycar driver and avid kart racer Dan Wheldon in 2011, FWT founder Bill Wright created the ‘Dan Wheldon Karting Ambassador Award Winner’, an annual award that saw a true karting ambassador winner be annually at the FWT finale. With Wright moving on from the FWT, Mike Maurini of Koene USA, a very close friend of the late Dan Wheldon, took control for the awards future and following months of nominations the 2015 award winner was announced via a touching piece by Chris Wheeler, another close friend of Wheldons.
Touching on many of the highlights of the young career and keeping the suspense until the end, Wheeler eventually confirmed that Ben Cooper was the 2015 award winner based on his true passion for the sport and devotion to continue to better it.
The story was touching. The winner was perfect.
“It’s a huge honour to be named the 2015 Dan Wheldon Ambassabor. I feel privaliged to have been even thought of for this award, let alone win it. I unfortunately never got the chance to meet Dan or race against him but I have been told by many people that he was an incredible person and an even better driver. He did a hell of a lot for karting by competing in the FWT and other major events and I only wish I had got to have met him and competed with him.”
– Ben Cooper
Cooper’s story is very documented. From his three Rotax Grand Finals titles, to his childhood story of not doing his homework and his father pulling him out of a race that he was leading to finish it, he is a happy face at every event he attends and is always willing to help, no matter the team or chassis association. His passion for the sport run deep through his family roots with his parents also making the move to Mont-Tremblant to help Ben’s venture with the Jim Russell Karting Academy and his race team.
A true ambassador to the sport, Ben Cooper was a great choice for the 2015 Dan Wheldon Karting Ambassador Award.