Would you watch women only car races?

New Tatuus W Series race car

After reading Christie’s recent post regarding equal funding for Paralympians, I came across an article?that got me thinking, on motornews.co.nz

It seems that ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard and a few others have come up with the idea of creating a brand new international single-seater series that will be only for women. The idea is that it will help females reach Formula 1.

The new championship will be named the ‘W Series’ and will use Tatuus F3-spec cars, and will have a prize pool totaling $1.5 million. I’m presuming that will be US dollars so this is pretty big in the racing world. Quote.

The winner of the category will earn $500,000 to help fund her next step up the racing ladder to F1.

The six-round W Series will launch in May 2019 and feature 30-minute races in Europe, with one round to he held in the UK. Expansion in Australia, Asia and the Americas is expected longer-term.

Those hoping to compete will not have to bring sponsorship, but will have to prove their ability through a selection process to ensure the grid is full of the best talent possible.

Judges will include Coulthard, former F1 team manager Dave Ryan ? who is the series? racing director ? and designer Adrian Newey, who is an advisory board member. End quote.

I’m not sure how I feel about all this. Do we need a separate category for the ladies? Are they not in F1 right now simply because they are not good enough? Speaking about why an all-female category was created, Coulthard said: Quote.

?We at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity.

?At the moment, however, women racing drivers tend to reach a glass ceiling at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent.

?That?s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required ? W Series ? to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms.? End quote.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir, who has helped raise funding, added: ?There are just too few women competing in single-seater series at the moment. Quote.

?W Series will increase that number very significantly in 2019, thereby powerfully unleashing the potential of many more female racing drivers.

?W Series drivers will become global superstars ? inspirational role models for women everywhere ? and every organisation, every company, every sponsor and indeed every single person who helps W Series? winners and champions achieve those ground-breaking successes will be able to celebrate their part in it, publicly, to lasting worldwide acclaim. ?W Series is an inspiring innovation whose time is now.? End quote.

Newey said he felt there was no reason why women could not be successful in F1. Quote.

?I believe the reason why so few women have so far raced successfully at the highest levels against men is a lack of opportunity rather than a lack of capability,? he said.?End quote.

There is no doubt that there are a couple of women around the world who can foot it with the blokes when it comes to driving. They never seem to be able to get to the top step, and I for one often get the feeling that they are there because of the marketing side of things rather than being the best driver for that particular seat.

Simona DeSilvestro from V8 Supercars comes to mind. She was an okay Indycar driver, and she is an okay Supercar driver, but she seems to be running around mid-field at best. I wonder if one of the young guns could do better in her car.

A couple of years ago Harvey Norman sponsored an all-girl team for Bathurst etc. Simona was teamed up with female up-and-coming racer Renee Gracie and whilst there were great marketing opportunities for them, in the end they just weren’t good enough. In fact, they seemed to be in the news mostly due to one of the other racers getting in trouble for calling their car the “Pussy wagon!”

Simona DeSilvestro (left) with Renee Gracie.

What does this new series say about women’s abilities and feminism etc?

Is it just admitting that women aren’t equal to men so they need a helping hand, or is it just levelling the playing field?? After all, there are separate series for women’s golf, cycling, rugby and the ultimate in spectator viewing, women’s surfing, so why not motor racing?

At the end of the day, the W Series will only fly if the people who are sponsoring it are getting a return on their money and those returns can be pretty good with the right person.

Danica Patrick has also raced Indycars and Nascar and she is one of the highest paid drivers out there. It doesn’t seem to matter that she isn’t that great at her job as she has won one race, but really, she is famous because she is pretty and does a good job of showing off her sponsors.

Personally, I’m not too keen on her. Yes, she’s attractive and all but I lost any respect that I had for her after seeing her stomping down the track like a 9-year-old girl who had just been told she couldn’t have a new pony!

So I will watch the new ladies’ racing and give it a chance, but I do wonder how many others will. At the end of the day, if the racing is good, it might work; but if the racing is boring it will fail.

What do you think, will you watch it?