Women in Motorsports
By EmBuchanan on October 16, 2013
Scan the lists of drivers and riders in motorsports and you’ll see competitors from a diverse range of countries and backgrounds. Which is great – but with all that diversity one thing is seriously lacking - women.
When it comes to performing at top-flight track events, only a handful of female competitors have broken the glass ceiling and raced against the men, but that looks to be changing. Whether you’re talking about American Nascar or British Superbike racing, women are making their mark in 2013. Here are a few of the biggest stars, and some names to watch out for in the future.
US driver, Danica Patrick, has been impressing the IndyCar and Nascar crowds now for over 8 years. She started in karting when she was 10 and moved to the UK when she was 16 to race in Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall, taking on drivers such as Jensen Button.
On the IndyCar circuit she was the first woman to win the Indy Japan 300 in 2008 and placed third in the Indianapolis 500 in 2009 - just one of the seven podium finishes she achieved as an Indycar driver. In 2012 she moved to Nascar, and got the season off to a great start when she put her car on pole at the Daytona 500.
British biker, Jenny Tinmouth, has been racing full time in the British Superbike series since 2011. She initially rode for Splitlath Motorsport before switching to Hardinge Sorrymate.com Honda in 2012 and this year she’s riding for Two Wheel Racing Honda, the team she owns and manages. As well as being the first female British Superbike competitor she’s also the first female team owner in the sport.
Prior to racing in British Superbikes she competed in the Isle of Man TT, winning a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the fastest female lap on her first ever visit.
Spanish biker, Ana Carrasco, is the only woman competing in MotoGP in 2013, and the first woman to compete in her class, Moto3. Her best finish so far was 17th, putting her just two spots away from a points-winning place – which is her first goal for the 2013 season.
Speaking about racing against her male competitors, Ana said “In the Spanish Championship you could tell the boys were a bit upset if I overtook them when we were racing or if I finished in front of them.” And added about the riders in Moto3 “in the end they have to get used to having a women on the grid.”
British driver, Susie Wolff, is tipped to become the next female driver in F1. In 2012 Wolff was signed as a development driver for Williams F1, one of the oldest teams on the grid. After enjoying a successful karting career, she raced in Formula Renault, where she achieved three podium finishes in one year, Formula Three and DTM, the German touring car series.
Susie hopes “to demonstrate that women can play a role at the highest levels of motorsport”. She’s not the only female making her name in motorsports at Williams F1. Claire Williams is Deputy Team Principal and Louise Evans is their Finance Director.
Names to Watch Out For
Karting and junior teams are the places to find the racers of the future, like 18-year-old Beitske Visser who recently signed for the Red Bull Junior Team. She’s the first female signing for the team that produced the reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel – so look out for Beitske lining up on the grid in a Toro Rosso, or even a Red Bull F1 car, sometime in the future.
Up-and-coming karting stars include Ashley Rogero from Naples, Florida. Ashley’s wins this year include the GoPro Be a HERO Karting Challenge at Mooresville, North Carolina, where she beat some big-name competitors including Denny Hamlin and former F1 driver Scott Speed. 14-year-old Nicole Coffey from Ireland is another name to watch out for. She’s already won three championships, including the All-Ireland Championship, and has represented Ireland in an international karting event in Bahrain, where she placed 6th out of a possible 60.
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