Today, 8 March, International Women’s Rights Day, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) takes the opportunity to emphasise its wholehearted support for the promotion of women in motorsport. Endurance racing, in particular, is a team sport in which women and men work together on equal terms. This weekend Le Mans hosts the final of Girls on Track, the women racing driver detection programme led by the FIA. The 27 finalists aged between 13 and 18 will be raging battle at the Circuit International de Karting, starting today and throughout the weekend.
As drivers, spectators, mechanics, engineers, technicians, marshals, doctors, team managers, organisers and ACO employees, women play an active role across the whole spectrum of motorsport. Of course, several women stand out for their contribution to promoting their gender, namely 1930 drivers Odette Siko and Margueritte Mareuse and more recently, three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi engineer Leena Gade.
Women drive in all ACO 24-hour events: motorcycling, karting, trucks and cars. On and off the track, women play a key role in endurance racing and the ACO is, and always has been, a keen supporter of equal rights.
This year, both the car and motorcycle 24-hour races include all-women driver line-ups (Kessel Racing et Girls Racing Team). More and more women play a role in ACO events, as competitors, team members or race organisers and their contribution is increasingly encouraged and acknowledged throughout the discipline: the Asian Le Mans Series recently elected Michaela Dorcikova, team manager of LMP2 Am champions ARC Bratislava, as personality of the year.
This weekend Le Mans hosts the final of Girls on Track, the women racing driver detection programme led by the FIA. The European challenge Girls on Track was instigated by the FIA Women in Motorsport commission and its president Michèle Mouton, former rally driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans contender in 1975. The scheme is part of an ongoing effort to attract more women drivers to motorsport. The finalists from nine countries will be vying for the six places on a coveted driver training course.