The British Women Racing Drivers’ Club (BWRDC), financially supported by Motorsport UK, is introducing an initiative called Into Speed, aimed at encouraging women to explore the world of motorsport for the first time.
Founded in 1962 by Mary Wheeler, the BWRDC aims to promote and support women in all forms of motorsport. Members compete in prestigious championships worldwide, including racing, hillclimbing, rallying and other events from Monte Carlo and Silverstone to the Nürburgring.
Into Speed is designed to familiarize women with various aspects of motorsport competitions. It covers the basics of operating vehicles, the initial experiences of driving on a track and eventually participating in their first competition. The program will primarily focus on hillclimbing, a discipline where participants race against the clock in easily accessible and affordable road cars across the UK.
Motorsport UK is providing financial support for the program as part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing female participation in the sport.
Women interested in joining the initiative can follow a three-stage process. Initially, they will receive a day of instruction at Harewood Hill near Leeds in late March, where they will become comfortable in a car and learn fundamental motorsport principles such as timing and safety before driving the hillclimb course. Driver kit will be provided on this day.
A second optional day may follow at Curborough Sprint Course, allowing participants to refine their driving style with one-to-one guidance from BWRDC competitors and other expert driving tutors.
The final stage offers the opportunity to enter an event with the full support of a BWRDC mentor. Three such opportunities will be available, and points will be accumulated to identify a series winner. Throughout the process, participants will also be introduced to various roles in motorsport, including steward, engineer, media and marshal.
Events are scheduled to take place at Shelsley Walsh (Worcestershire) in May, Prescott Hill (Gloucestershire) in June, and Harewood Hill (Yorkshire) in August. The BWRDC will also assist women in obtaining a racing license with the support of Motorsport UK.
Helen Allen, chair of the BWRDC, commented, “With the support of Motorsport UK we are proud to have created this program to take women through the sport from the very early stages to their first competition. It is all about access and enjoyment, and trying to show that there is a place for everyone in motorsport.”
Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK, added, “Probably the largest unrealized opportunity for motorsport is the greater involvement of females, whether competing, officiating or running the sport.
“Motorsport is one of the few sports that present no fundamental barriers to full gender inclusivity. And yet at present women make up just 10% of our membership. We know from recent research that many more follow the sport within the community or via the media, so it is not from lack of interest but rather a lack of clear pathways into the sport. We are very proud to assist the BWRDC – which has for so long supported women – in reaching a new generation of women to enjoy the challenge of motorsport.”
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