Although representatives of the fair sex have always been present in Karting (the best proof thereof being the world crowning of Suzy Raganelli in 1966), several specific actions have been conducted by the FIA via its new “Women in Motor Sport” Commission in order to encourage the participation of ladies and promote it.
In automobiles the Commission supports the entry of Denmark’s Maiken Rasmussen in the VW Scirocco Cup, a Series appearing as a curtain-raiser to the DTM. In Karting, in co-operation with the CIK-FIA and with the contribution of Parolin, a place in the Academy Trophy has been granted for the winner of a selection especially organised between ten candidates from different nationalities selected by their respective ASNs (Federations).
This “contest” took place at the end of April in Geneva, Lausanne and Scientrier; it consisted in opposing the candidates within the framework of physical, theoretical and practical assessments. At the end of two days under the supervision of a jury which comprised in particular Yvan Muller (double World Champion in the FIA WTCC and former European Karting Champion) and Michèle Mouton (Chairlady of the Women in Motor Sport Commission and World Rally Vice-Champion in 1984), France’s Lucile Cypriano won the prize.
Even if she draws attention because of her role as the standard bearer of the Ladies’ Commission it will not be the only woman on the starting grid of the Academy Trophy: she will be accompanied by Thunchanok Hirunvanijkul, selected by the RAAT Federation to represent Thailand.
Perhaps inspired by the example of Chiara Poletto, who stepped on the podium of the second event of the 2010 World Championship held at Alcañiz (ESP), no fewer than six girls are entered in the “U18” this season: the Briton Hannah Pym, the Czechs Barbora Stepanova and Gabriela Jilkova (a former Academician), Switzerland’s Isabelle Von Lerber, the South-African Naomi Schiff and the American Raquel Martinez.
Like all the ladies entered at this level of competition, they will fain state again and again, and possibly as a choir, that on the track they will be Drivers before being women. Their sheep’s eyes will turn into steel looks once helmet visors are down. The (young) gentlemen have been warned!