Lets Go Racing – Women Can Come Too!!!

Well, the season is well and truly underway here at Ginetta – since my last installment (yes, I have been rubbish) we’ve had our Media Day at Silverstone, as well as the first round of our three championships – the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, Junior Championship and Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

As we prepare to travel to Donington this weekend, I thought I would jump on the Sir Stirling Moss bandwagon, in relation to his latest comments about Female racers lacking the mental aptitude to compete in F1.

Lawrence Tomlinson and I traveled to BBC Radio Leeds today to discuss the statement on air with morning presenter Liz Green, and as the Ginetta boss quite rightly pointed out – its not that women are incapable of making it, it’s simply that the motorsport paddocks are awash with male drivers.

Let’s look at this in a different context – if we were at a horse race, and 20 of the 21 horses were mares, you would expect a female to win. Therefore, as F1 is such a fiercely fought category to break into, regardless of sex, the fact that the odds of a standout driver with the skills and financial backing to make it into F1, are heavily weighted towards male drivers.

Whilst I could sing the praises of Susie Wolff and Danica Patrick, I wanted to bring this a little closer to (my) home: since joining Ginetta, there have been no less than four female racers who have impressed me both on and off the track.

Firstly, I have to mention star of ‘Britain’s Next F1 Star’ and BRDC Rising Star, Alice Powell. Whilst she was ‘before my time’ at Ginetta, we continue to work with her throughout the year, and as the first female to win in Formula Renault BARC, a former F3 racer and the current leader in the British Formula 3 Cup, the former Ginetta Junior racer has been a great ambassador for women in motorsport.

Jamie Chadwick

I have also had the pleasure of working with 2013 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner Jamie Chadwick, who impressed both myself and Ginetta greatly with her driving skill and professionalism during our scholarship in 2012 – she was the highest-placed rookie in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, and in her first race weekend at Brands Hatch at Easter, she finished within the top three of the rookie class.

Louise Richardson is another great example of a female in motorsport, with karting highlights which include 3rd in the MSA Super 1 British Championship, 8th in the Stars of Tomorrow Series (now known as Formula Kart Stars) as well as being Vice Champion at the Rotax Cup, British Open Championship, Kartmasters and TVKC Club Championship.

Louise became the first Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner and has since been a RAC MSA Young Driver of the Year Contender, she also finished third in the Ginetta Junior Championship, was considered for Racing Steps Foundation and wowed everyone with a G50 win in the wet at Thruxton last year in our G50 cup class.

Zoe Wenham

Finally, I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning my good friend, Zoe Wenham – whilst she hasn’t come through the Ginetta single-make championships, Zoe impressed in karting (which, of course, is the usual starting block for F1 stars of the future) and moved into British GT for 2012, in which she finished as runner up, landing six podiums in the process; making her the most successful female in the history of the series. Not only that, but at Easter, Zoe once again made history as she became the first female winner of a British GT GT4 race.

Whilst there have been five female F1 racers in the past (Maria Teresa de Filippis, Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica, Desire Wilson & Giovanna Amati, Moss’ comments don’t discredit women as not being physically strong enough, but insinuate they are ultimately ‘too scared’ to run at the front and put themselves in danger on a racetrack.

If women are so scared of facing danger – why do they join the armed forces, police or fire services, or indeed, any rescue service? Surely Sir Moss, they are not incapable of performing they jobs too….?

To me, these kind of comments seem archaic and uninformed; modern race cars are safer than they have ever been before, but the aforementioned ladies (and plenty of others) have, in recent years, proven they are unaffected by the possible dangers associated with racing and have gone out and beaten the boys whilst they are at it.

4 thoughts on “Lets Go Racing – Women Can Come Too!!!

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  1. I think it’s a question of social conditioning and class, not of physical suitability. Young boys are conditioned to take risks and be messy, whereas young girls are conditioned to look inwards and be self critical. The higher you get in the class structure of the UK, the more bigoted and prejudiced the system appears to be, thus at the level where parents have a huge amount of money and are able to pay for little Rupert or Caroline’s early ventures into motorsport, it’s almost presumed that Rupert will want to race vehicles and Caroline will want a pony. In a few generations, as society shifts and more and more technology creeps into motorsport, we will see more women able to apply that attention to detail without the constraints of the outdated gender stereotypes.

    1. Does this blog not highlight the fact that women are just as capable of taking risks as men? Yes we are programmed to think differently, but this does not mean we cannot achieve the same goals or are less likely to take the same risks. Here you yourself Chris perceive women in an ‘outdated gender stereotype’ – “Young boys are conditioned to take risks and be messy, whereas young girls are conditioned to look inwards and be self critical.” You will find that boys are just as self critical – they just express this through different behaviour, largely because they have been brought up in a world where they could be perceived as ‘weak’ by people they look up to if they show certain emotions. Girls also play up to long term social expectations from their environment. I believe this is what you are referring to? However, what this article is highlighting is that women have always been capable of racing in motor support (we have not evolved over night with improved physical suitability… it was always there, honest!) and with modern culture changing the way we connect with and bring up our children, ‘little Rupert or Caroline’ would be asked about what they would like to do rather than have ideas pushed upon them. They would give an honest answer. And the chances are, they would feel less likely to be pressed by peers and family for doing so. The point is we were always able to race and do so successfully and the only thing that stood in our way was social and cultural expectations. Now times are changing and women are breaking through the rules in more ways than ever. Including motor sport. Gentlemen. We have looked ‘inwards’. We thought why the hell shouldn’t we? Get ready, here come the girls!

      1. Excellent response Diane… You sound like a teacher who know all about ‘kids today’

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