The Motor Sports Association’s Women in Motorsport Group is supporting next week’s International Women’s Day (8 March) by drawing attention to the many female competitors and organisers already involved in motor sport in a bid to attract new female participants.
Motor sport is one of the few sporting activities in which men and women compete alongside each other on an equal footing, yet as they make up only 8% of registered competition licence holders, women are hugely under-represented among motor sport drivers.
There are, nonetheless, an estimated 50,000 women actively involved in British motor sport, organising events, running clubs and associations, timekeeping, marshalling and fulfilling a host of other support roles without which the sport itself could not continue.
International Women’s Day aims to draw attention to the exploits of women around the world. The Motor Sports Association’s Women in Motorsport Group aims to capitalise on this initiative and demonstrate that the world of motor sport is a welcoming place for women.
“There’s no doubt that people presume that it is a sport for the men,” says group chairman Sue Sanders. “But the truth is that both among competitors and organisers there is far more female representation than you would imagine. There is a great crop of really promising young girls coming through the sport at the moment and their achievements will really help to inspire others.”
Among the notable supporters of the initiative are some of the UK’s top female competitors:
Jayne Kay, 17, from Bury, Lancashire started drag racing in 2001 at just eight years old. She is now the world’s youngest Funny Car driver, piloting a 2500bhp, 250mph racer that can cover a quarter of a mile in a little over six seconds.
Katherine Legge, 30, from Guilford, Surrey contested the Champ Car World Series in 2006 and 2007, then DTM for Audi from 2008-2010 and is now back in the US IndyCar series.
Sarah Moore, 17, from Tockwith, North Yorkshire in 2009 won the Ginetta Junior Championship, the Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award and was nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. In 2011 she will contest the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.
Alice Powell, 18, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire became the first female driver ever to win a Formula Renault title when she won the 2010 Formula Renault BARC Championship, earning her the prestigious BWRDC Lord Wakefield Trophy.
Louise Richardson, 17, from Grantham, Lincolnshire came third in the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship and was runner-up in the International Driver Shootout for the FIA Volkswagen Scirocco Cup last year.
Susie Stoddart, 28, from Oban, Scotland is about to begin her sixth season in the highly competitive DTM, an international touring car series based in Germany.
“I think this is a great initiative,” says Louise Richardson, who was a finalist in the inaugural RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year award as part of her studies as an Advanced Apprentice in Sporting Excellence. “We need to show everyone that this is a sport for girls as much as for boys. The more that people see girls racing and getting involved in motor sport, the more likely we are to get more females into the sport. I am sure that one day we will see a female world champion – hopefully it will be me!”
Release MSA11-035: 3 March 2011
For media information only. No regulatory value.