- Over 100 schoolgirls enjoy action-packed day of activities at Thruxton Circuit
- BTCC stars and their cars help to inspire the girls into engineering, mechanics and racing
Female motorsport initiative Dare To Be Different (D2BD) broke new ground yesterday (17 May 2019) when it made its first ever visit to a round of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
One hundred 8-to-11-year old schoolgirls arrived at Hampshire’s Thruxton Circuit to take part in a host of fun and challenging activities designed to develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills as well as to show them what a future career in the wide world of motorsport could look like.
Yesterday’s event gave the young attendees a chance to get up close and personal with the BTCC through exclusive access including garage tours, meeting the top drivers and even sitting in the race cars whilst learning aspects about their design and performance. In addition the girls spent time with a number of influential women who are employed within the championship in a diverse range of roles such as team management, race engineering and fabrication.
Also on yesterday’s D2BD menu was the Pirelli pit-stop challenge where the girls worked in teams to change a wheel against the clock; a reaction-time test with the Pirelli batak board and other fast response challenges; a lesson in life-saving resuscitation techniques and vital aspects regarding health and safety. And that’s not all.. the schoolgirls also tried a spot of presenting with Sky Sports F1 broadcaster Rachel Brookes to get an insight into motorsport media. Meanwhile, the F1 in Schools Programme was present to showcase its inspirational learning resources.
After giving the excited young audience a close-up tour of his race car, BTCC driver Jason Plato said: “The girls had a fantastic time and hopefully it will light a candle in a few of their minds that motorsport is a great opportunity. Not just for driving the car, because there are many more things in this industry than driving the car.
“I’ve been in this game a long time, and it was a male-dominated place when I started. It’s not now, and it’s a better paddock for it. It has changed massively, and I think the way the world is at the moment motorsport needs to be more inclusive.”
ITV Motorsport presenter and D2BD Ambassador Louise Goodman said: “What Dare To Be Different is all about is working on the premise that you’ve got to see it to be it. It’s showing girls and importantly their parents and teachers that there are a whole range of career opportunities in motorsport. In this industry they don’t care if you’re male or female, they just want the best of everything. We’ve got to get more girls engaged in engineering and STEM activities with motorsport-orientated career options and subjects at the bottom level. It’s all about changing those perception.”
BTCC Chief Executive Alan Gow says, “It was great to see over a hundred enthusiastic girls have their eyes opened to what is possible for a future career in our fantastic sport and industry. As we have shown today, there is no ‘glass ceiling’ in our sport and a female can truly realise the same personal and professional achievements as any male.”