Women-only motorsport se­ries ‘will seg­re­gate women’

Cyprus Today - - SPORT -

A NEW women-only motorsport se­ries will “seg­re­gate” fe­male rac­ers and is a “sad day for motorsport”, says Bri­tish IndyCar driver Pippa Mann.

W Se­ries will start in 2019 and is backed by a num­ber of ma­jor F1 names.

It aims to at­tract up to 20 of the world’s lead­ing fe­male rac­ing driv­ers to com­pete for a £1.14 mil­lion prize fund across six races in Europe,

“I am deeply dis­ap­pointed to see such a his­toric step back­wards take place in my life­time,” said Mann, 35.

In a tweet on Wed­nes­day, she added: “What a sad day for motorsport. Those with fund­ing to help fe­male rac­ers are choos­ing to seg­re­gate them as op­posed to sup­port­ing them.”

For­mer Bri­tish F1 driver David Coulthard says W Se­ries would iden­tify the lead­ing ex­ist­ing fe­male tal­ent and help them progress their ca­reers.

The cham­pi­onship is free to en­ter and com­peti­tors will be se­lected through a pro­gramme that as­sesses their abil­i­ties. The win­ner will re­ceive £381,000 to help fur­ther her ca­reer, as well as sup­port and ad­vice from the ex­perts em­ployed by the se­ries.

“I stand with those who feel forced into this as their only op­por­tu­nity to race,” added Mann, who com­petes in the IndyCar se­ries and was the first Bri­tish woman to race the Indy 500 in 2011.

“I stand against those who are forc­ing the above men­tioned rac­ers into this po­si­tion as their only so­lu­tion to find the fund­ing to race.”

Cather­ine Bond Muir, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of W Se­ries, said the aim was to “show the world just what women are re­ally ca­pa­ble of”.

But mo­tor rac­ing driver Char­lie Martin, who hopes to be the first trans­gen­der driver to com­pete at Le Mans 24 Hours and has com­peted in the Ginetta GT5 Chal­lenge, echoed Mann’s com­ments, say­ing she found the pro­posal “jar­ring”.

She said: “This se­ries is founded on seg­re­ga­tion, and while it may cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for some fe­male driv­ers, it sends a clear mes­sage that seg­re­ga­tion is ac­cept­able.

“We don’t dis­crim­i­nate in sport based on race, so it is par­tic­u­larly jar­ring that we feel it is ac­cept­able to do so based on gen­der in 2018. As rac­ers, we want to com­pete against the best driv­ers — re­gard­less of age, race, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der — and prove we are the best at what we do.”

Michele Mou­ton, pres­i­dent of the Women in Motorsport Com­mis­sion for gov­ern­ing body the FIA, said its ob­jec­tive was for women to com­pete along­side men.

In a blog post in June 2017, Mann said she had been ap­proached to take part in the se­ries.

She said: “As fe­male rac­ers we are rac­ers first, and our gen­der comes sec­ond. We grew up dream­ing of win­ning races and win­ning cham­pi­onships, against ev­ery­one — the same as ev­ery male racer does. We did not grow up dream­ing of be­ing seg­re­gated and win­ning the girls-only cup.”

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