Think of any role in motorsport, team manager, driver, mechanic, photographer, track marshall, and I’ll bet you a new set of tyres, that somewhere there is a woman in that very role.
Now while this observation may not surprise some of you, there are many people out there, in all levels of motorsport, who still see it as a “mans domain”. Having said that, there is a growing number of women, actively stepping out of the canteen, to prove they are not only more than capable, but also have the hunger to succeed in motorsport. Some of these women, like Betty Klimenko, Susie Wolff and Leanne Tander are highly visible in the media, setting a great public example for every girl who wants to know if they can too. These women are proving that while the men in motorsport may still outnumber us, it can no longer be automatically assumed that they will outperform us.
If you look a bit closer at your own motorsport, you’ll see there are women everywhere. And I’m not just talking about the mums in the cheer squad. You’ve probably got one in the starters box, and another in their full fire protective kit poised ready to react to a crash. There’s likely to be a few stationed at flag points around the track, as well as in the pits as mechanics, data analysts and PR personnel. And don’t even get me started on those working behind the scenes at an operational level to ensure the smooth running of race meetings.
On circuit tracks, drag strips, hills and even jet boat ponds around the country, girls of all ages are giving the boys a run for their money. They are no longer willing to sit on the sidelines, preferring to be a part of the action, throwing their all into every race, and encouraging their fans to join in the fun along the way.
It seems that quietly in the background, women are gaining ground in this sport and the industry which surrounds it. For most of us there is no big media fan fair, and we would probably shy away from it if there was. We’re not doing it to get noticed, we’re doing it for the same reason the men do. We love sport. We love the adrenaline. We love the challenge.
With each female success story comes a greater awareness and acceptance. So look a little harder next time you’re at the track. We’re not just standing on the grid in spandex anymore. Some of us have decided to join in the race.