The first-ever all-female motor-racing championship has crowned its winner. The W series uses Formula Three cars to give a platform to top female drivers from around the world.
The series aims to promote female racing drivers and help them get into the Formula One championship, which has not seen a female driver since 1976. CGTN’s Kitty Logan reports.
For decades motorsport was man’s world, but this is a victory for female racing. 21-year-old British driver Jamie Chadwick claimed the first-ever title in the all-female W Series. Twenty international drivers took part in this inaugural six-race season.
“My motivation comes from the feeling that I get when I’m in the car. It may sound like a cliché, but when I’m in the car and when I’m driving I’m one with the car.” Said Finnish W Series driver, Emma Kimilainne.
Female drivers want to dispel the myth of any possible physical barrier to competing on the racetrack. They’re confident they have the strength and stamina to handle any car at any level of competition.
“The question was why, why do we need, because I’ve been able to race against men and won, like in every series that series that I’ve driven. But then I realized that this is an opportunity for all of us women to show our talent,” Kimilainne said.
Despite the obvious ability, women are still vastly under-represented in motorsport. W series organizers said it’s time to redress the balance.
“We demonstrated that women can drive cars well, they’re really fast, they’re highly competitive; they’re just as competitive as boys – we’ve had some fantastic wheel to wheel racing.” Said Catherine Bond Muir, the CEO of W Series.
The biggest challenge for young female drivers is to navigate their way through the glass ceiling of motor racing. Training at top level is an expensive business. The idea is to give talented women the chance to race without the huge cost. The W Series supports female drivers from all backgrounds – with travel, training and expertise. In this sport, money creates opportunities – and until now female racing drivers weren’t considered a good investment. But with the popularity of this first season, all that could be about to change.
The ultimate aim is for women to eventually compete in Formula 1. It’s been 43 years since that’s happened. So – with the interest shown this season, what’s holding women back?
“In an ideal world, there shouldn’t be a separate series. But until we can get lots more women coming into the sport at the bottom and until we can demonstrate that women are as worthy as the boys are to fund, then I think women need this platform.” Said Catherine Bond Muir, the CEO of W Series.
Organizers want to run more women’s races in 2020 – expanding into the US and Asia, with an eye on a Chinese race too. And one day they hope the female drivers will overtake their male rivals – on the same track.