Getting girls into motorsports

Getting girls into motorsports

 

You may be surprised to learn that by the time our girls reach teenager-hood, they are twice as likely as boys to drop out of sport – and by sport, we mean any sport.

Which is discouraging, because there’s great opportunity to be a part of the change in recognising the importance of strong female role models and getting involved in women’s sports.

Professional female drivers are rare in the motorsports industry, but amongst the women who do race, there are two things they all appear to have in common – they got into racing at a very early age, and the most influential person at the time was their motorsport-loving father.

Queensland racer Holly Espray might just be 14 years old, but she’s already got her sights set on the V8 circuit, and her passion began at the age of six when she was introduced by her father, a former racer himself, to go karting.

She had her first official go kart race when she was seven, and then began racing regularly at nine; it was through go karting that she developed her skills to later move on to cars.

Similarly, 20-year-old Caitlin Wood from NSW also started her racing career with go karts at the age of seven, and last year got a fully funded drive in a Reiter Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3 for the 2017 Blancpain Sprint Series in Germany.

She recently told Racing.GT that go karting started as a family hobby with her older brother, where she ultimately competed in the Australian Junior Rotax Go Kart Series before switching to Formula Ford aged 15.

Other successful professional female drivers who started with go karts include Jamaican Lisa Bowman-Lee, American Danica Patrick and Scot Susie Wolff.

Despite the examples of fast-paced and talented drivers, the main issue why there aren’t as many female professional drivers as there are males is because preparing to be a race car driver requires an early start – and it’s a very small percentage who are currently doing so.

If more girls were encouraged to participate in junior motor sport, with go karting a fantastic level to be introduced to because they’re safe to drive and don’t require a driver’s licence, then the chances of successful drivers at the senior level would increase.

Even professional racer Michael Schumacher has said there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be competitive in any of the motor sport fields available, and perhaps more than any other sport, go karting and motorsports are a place where an even playing field between men and women can exist.

Introducing pre-teen and teen girls to any, and all, sports to see which ones they enjoy the most is key to opening doors and allowing opportunities for growth.

As they see their skills improving and goals becoming reality, they begin to feel better about themselves, physically and socially, and their psychological wellbeing fights depression and anxiety.

Just like boys, girls need to find outlets to relieve stress, make friends outside school and create a positive body image, and heading out to the go kart track will improve reflexes, teach team building skills, and gain confidence.

Overall, there isn’t an obvious negativity towards women in go karting or motorsport, it’s just not that common place at the race track, so maybe it’s time we do something about that.

Bring the family down to Kart World Belmont and get the girls’ adrenaline pumping as they hit the track and race in go karts. It’s a great way to spend a weekend, and for some of the girls who haven’t tried it before, they may find a new hobby or a new passion that could see them racing in the future.

But on top of just giving it a go, we cater to birthday parties and have go karts to suit all levels of ability, including children from the age of 8. We guarantee everyone will have a great time, and who knows…you might have the next female racing champion in the family!