One hundred eight to 11-year-old girls arrived at the state-of-the-art Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone yesterday morning (10 July 2019) eager to take on a host of fun yet challenging activities, designed to showcase the potential of what a future career in the world of motorsport could look like.
The girls, the majority of whom were from local primary schools, tried various tasks specially designed to develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills.
The series of challenges began with the ‘Pirelli Pit-Stop’ where they worked in teams to change a wheel against the clock. This was followed by a reaction-time test with the Porsche Batak board and a lesson in life-saving resuscitation including how to use a defibrillator. The girls then got an insight into motorsport media techniques with F1 television presenter Rosanna Tennant and a close-up tour courtesy of Natalie McGloin of her Porsche Club Championship race car.
National flagship programme STEMnet was present to assist with a fun hoverboard-building exercise and the ‘F1 in Schools’ project was there to showcase its inspirational learning resources. And then to round off an already action-packed day, the delighted girls were treated to thrilling high-speed passenger rides with Porsche’s motorsport professionals.
Also on hand to meet and talk to the girls were leading female motorsport personalities Susie Wolff, who founded the Dare To Be Different initiative and Claire Williams, the Deputy Team Principal of Williams F1 – both of whom were delighted to share their valuable career advice and expertise with the enthusiastic young audience.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal Williams F1 Team, said: “We are working hard to improve the numbers, but there is still a considerable shortage of women across many disciplines in today’s motorsport industry particularly in engineering. If we don’t show these girls at a young age what our world is about then they are never going to look at it as a potential career route down the line especially when they are thinking about the subjects that they are going to study at GCSE or A-Level.”
Susie Wolff, Dare To Be Different founder, said: “First of all a massive thanks to Porsche for hosting our event at this amazing facility. It was wonderful for the girls to be able to get up close and personal with the road and race cars and on top of that, to experience the thrill of a passenger ride. What happened to the girls taking part yesterday is invaluable and will potentially shape their future – my hope is that one day one of these girls will say, ‘I remember that day – it’s what made me want to be an engineer/designer/racing driver’ or whatever it is she chooses for her future.”
Gill Kerr, Manager, Porsche Experience Centre, said: “It was a total pleasure for the team at the Porsche Experience Centre to be able to host Dare to be Different. The girls were highly engaged in all of the activities and it was great to observe a real sense of excitement as well as a growth in confidence in all of them throughout the day. Dare to be Different is clearly inspiring future generations of women in motorsport and I have no doubt we will see some of these girls playing their part in the teams of the future.”