THE VOICE OF NATIONAL RACING
It was great to bump in to Susie Wolff at the Autosport International Show as our paths hadn’t crossed that much since she was taking the very first steps on her motor racing path in Formula Ford and Formula Renault at the turn of the century.
Now she’s retired from driving, her next project, as she was keen to tell me all about at the show, was the Dare To Be Different campaign that she is throwing her weight behind. She is fronting the scheme, backed by the national governing body, the Motor Sports Association, to promote women in motorsport.
This isn’t just another campaign to find female racing stars. The premise of this scheme is to show younger females the opportunities that exist in motor racing across all areas of the sport: be that engineering, media, driving and within the industry.
The plan is to create an online community that will offer advice and support to girls who want to get involved in the sport, and there will be a series of seminars held throughout the United Kingdom for girls aged eight to 14 to highlight the opportunities to the next wave of talent.
Several high-profile females who have already made their names within the sport will be available to offer encouragement and support.
Wolff said: “Our main aim with Dare To Be Different is to drive female talent. This is an ambitious and long-term project that will build an online community of women from all over the world. It will connect them through a shared passion and empower them to become the next wave of role models, while also providing access to some of the most successful female names in the sport.
“Our UK events for young girls will boost awareness and demonstrate the varied and exciting areas of the sport – showing that they too can dare to be different.”
Sadly, it is true that sexism does still exist within the male-dominated world that is motorsport – although those shackles are being gradually shaken off. A lot of people involved in motor racing are of a certain generation when this attitude was more prevalent but, with each passing season, fresh blood enters motor racing and the industry that surrounds it. It means those with a blinkered view are being slowly drowned out, which is a great thing.
Wolff’s campaign is something that hasn’t been tried before and that is a great reason people should get behind it. Anything that helps motor racing be more inclusive will have a beneficial impact at every level in the future.
JAMES “This will help the sport be inclusive”