In addition to programs like FIA Girls on Track, there are a number of other organisations dedicated to growing female participation in motorsport.
Race Chix, for example, runs their own race school for females, and they hold a lot of events. Girls Torque encourages young female motorsport fans to follow their dreams, whether their “dream is to drive a race car, coach a team, wave a flag, work in the pits, or simply know that they have the choice to try.” They also provide talks, workshops and track days.
With such great organisations, the growth of female participation in motorsport feels like a guarantee. They help provide an opportunity for women to move beyond attitudes that have limited opportunities in the past, to a more inclusive and thriving environment.
Women’s competitions work
Where Australian women’s sport has thrived is in the determination to provide both quality and quantity. The AFLW has expanded rapidly in terms of size. Despite many fears fearing an increasing number of teams would dilute the quality on show, the competition remains extremely popular, and having more teams means the possibility of drawing in more fans who follow the same clubs in the men’s competition.
The Women’s Big Bash League has similarly been designed in the same mould as the men’s Big Bash League, with 8 teams. Last season’s most recent competition was comfortably the most popular. It seems there is a trend emerging; create women’s sport content, and Australian viewers will tune in.
Beyond that, what these competitions prove is that with proper funding and coverage, women’s competitions can be extremely helpful to overall enthusiasm around the sport. These sports are seeing an increasing number of female junior participants, and the genuine possibility that young girls can grow up and compete in their favourite sport professionally is a great motivation.
Women have already proven their ability to draw fans to the sport. Simona de Silvestro brought a huge profile to V8 Supercars when she formed with Renee Garcie the first female pair for the Bathurst 1000 in 2015. Superstar De Silvestro, who competed in IndyCar, Formula E and GT3 demonstrated, when given the opportunity, that female drivers can deliver the personality, competitiveness and excitement that grow fan bases and attract big sponsors.