What does inclusion mean to W Series?
Inclusion means getting more women racing; it means helping existing female drivers get into championships at higher levels than they may have been able to reach without the financial support and on-track learning that W Series offers. Unlike most competitions, we are free to enter, which means we prioritise talent above anything else, and we do not discriminate drivers based on where they are from, or how much money they (or their parents) have.
But we also have a broader mission, which is to show young women and girls the myriad ways in which they can get involved in motorsport, not just as drivers, but as mechanics, technicians, engineers et al. As much as W Series is about giving opportunities to drivers, it also aims to inspire, empower and encourage girls and women around the world to move towards careers in industries that have historically been heavily male-dominated. In line with that, W Series aims to promote the studying of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in schools, colleges and universities.
One of our favourite – and most inclusive – days to date was at Brands Hatch in 2019. For the grand finale of our inaugural season we teamed up with charity London Youth and invited 100 girls and young women from youth clubs across the UK capital to come and enjoy the full VIP W Series race experience. The girls and young women, aged between 13 and 19, were able to meet all the W Series drivers and many of the mechanics, technicians and engineers, to learn first-hand about what it takes to work in the motorsport industry. It was a brilliant day, because it exemplified everything that W Series stands for, against the backdrop of some truly nail-biting racing.
The W Series family is made up of people from all walks of life. We have drivers from 15 different countries, and, as it is standard W Series practice for drivers to share data during race weekends, they are a vital support network for one another. Together with our Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, Naomi Schiff, who raced in the 2019 W Series season, we are continually looking to become more accessible to a wider audience. Two of our lesbian drivers, Sarah Moore and Abbie Eaton, as well as our Director of Communications, Matt Bishop, a gay man, are ambassadors for Racing Pride, which exists to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the motorsport industry.
It is our belief that, in order to inspire future generations of female drivers, mechanics, technicians and engineers, there must be visible role models. Feeling included means seeing a space for yourself in whatever field you hope to be a part of. By shining a light on our drivers, and thus changing the face of motorsport, we are showing girls and women across the world that there is room for them in this industry.
If you can see it, you can be it. That is inclusion.