On June 22nd Daytona, Milton Keynes staged the third headline event for the newly-established Dare To Be Different initiative, introducing 100 local schoolgirls to the highly diverse world of motor sport.
Founded by former racing driver, Susie Wolff and the Motor Sports Association (MSA) – the governing body of British Motor Sport – Dare To Be Different has been created to inspire and connect females in all aspects of the motor sport industry.
Daytona Motorsport is a key partner to Dare To Be Different, providing three out of the five venues for the headline events – Daytona Sandown Park, Daytona Milton Keynes and Daytona Manchester – and consults on all aspects of kart driving and venue activities.
The focus for Dare To Be Different at the five headline events is to educate young girls aged between eight and 11 in the various career and sporting opportunities within the motor sport arena. Campaign partner Williams F1 had staff and a show car on hand to explain the workings of a Formula One car, and all the girls were able to take part in the Pirelli Pit-Stop Challenge competition using a specially prepared frame.
“This is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted to be involved,” said Claire Williams OBE – Deputy Team Principal of the Williams Formula One Team and one of the Dare To Be Different Ambassadors.
“Motor sport offers so many career opportunities as well as the obvious participation, and as a woman working in the sport I am delighted to be able to help encourage future generations into the paddocks of the world.
“For these girls to be doing things like pit-stop challenges, testing their engineering skills as well as karting and media, they gain experience in so many diverse disciplines. It is a great snapshot of the sport, something which will hopefully leave a lasting impression so when they come to choose their subjects, they’ll think, ‘you know what, I’d love a career in motor sport’. It may propel them to do something.”
The karting aspect of the day at Daytona Milton Keynes was obviously hugely exciting for the girls, most of whom had never sat in a kart and the smiling faces at the end of each on-track session told the story – a welcome sight to all at Daytona Motorsport.
“Daytona Motorsport is delighted to be partnering with Susie and Dare To Be Different,” said Daytona Motorsport Director Jim Graham. “More than 90 per cent of the 100,000 drivers who race on our circuits each year are male. Any initiative that attracts girls into the sport should be applauded.”
The girls also spent time with campaign partner, Sky F1, who provided a camera for total authenticity and ITV motor sport presenter Louise Goodman was on hand to offer invaluable tuition – an experience none of the girls will forget.
To help bring the racing aspect of the day alive, the girls also met disabled driver, Nathalie McGloin and from the world of two wheels, Maria Costello, who showed them around their racing machines and explained their entry into competitive motor sport.
The topic of health and fitness was similarly an important aspect for the youngsters, who were given an exercise class and a healthy eating tutorial and a chance to try some juices and healthy snacks. The Willow Water Workout, meanwhile, included a chance to test reaction skills on a BATAK board.
To complete the circle, Dare To Be Different partner, the national flagship programme STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) was again present to assist with a fun and educational hovercraft-building exercise, providing an engaging and ‘hands-on’ introduction to the world of engineering.
The day was thoroughly enjoyed by the girls – particularly the karting aspect – and they all left inspired and unafraid of ‘daring to be different’.