Susie Wolff and The Motor Sports Association launched a new initiative – Dare To Be Different on the first day of Autosport international 2016.
It’s hoped that it will inspire, connect and celebrate women who work in every aspect of motor sport.
Dare To Be Different is about increasing female participation in motorsport, not just on the track but in all aspects of the sport and then other perceived male-dominated industries. It aims to achieve this in two key areas – creating an expansive online community, and bringing young girls (aged 8-14) together with some of the sports’ most inspiring women in a series of special events.
Dare To Be Different is not something just to find the next female F1 driver – it’s much more than that. It’s about inspiring women of all ages and backgrounds to break the mould and shatter perceptions. In the coming months, a fully integrated online community will be formed across an all-new website and other social media channels, bringing together girls and women from all over the UK who share a passion and desire to get involved in motor sport. Susie Wolff spoke at the launch;
“Our main aim with Dare To Be Different is to Drive Female Talent. This is an ambitious and long-term project that will build an online community of women from all over the world. It will connect them through a shared passion and empower them to become the next wave of role models, whilst also providing access to some of the most successful female names in the sport.
“Our UK events for young girls will boost awareness and demonstrate the varied and exciting areas of the sport – showing that they too can dare to be different.
“I’m proud to launch today and must thank my team and our ambassadors for their invaluable contribution and dedication to the project.”
More on the Community
The Dare To Be Different network will aim to bring women involved motorsport together in an unprecedented way, with members benefitting from direct access to their peers, colleagues and even their idols for information, advice and inspiration.
There will be networking events exclusively for Dare To Be Different Community members, bringing aspiring girls and women face to face with our Ambassadors. In addition there will be giveaways, competitions and other benefits.
It has been set up as a non-profit organisation and the cost to access the community is £25 per year. As the initiative grows, so too will the benefits to its members. For more information on the community, visit www.daretobedifferent.org/sign-up
More on the Events
In its first year, Dare To Be Different will aim to inspire the next generation with five free special events across the UK:
13 April, Daytona Sandown Park, Surrey
5 May, Nutts Corner, Crumlin, Northern Ireland
24-26 June, The Sports Show at the NEC, Birmingham
25 August, Knockhill Circuit, Fife, Scotland
15 September, Daytona Manchester, Manchester
(All dates are provisional and subject to change)
These events will offer a money-can’t-buy experience to girls, and will be open to school groups as well as passionate individuals. Girls aged 8-14 will be getting tips from some of the top female racers in the world – Susie will be at every event along with an incredible team of ambassadors including current racer Alice Powell to inspire racing spirit. The Williams F1 show car will be there for the girls to get up close and snap a selfie with, but it’s not just the driving that Dare To Be Different is here to promote.
The girls will be checking out life on the other side of the camera, as Sky Sports will be bringing a crew to showcase the opportunities in the media that come with a life in racing, plus renowned presenter Rachel Brookes will attend several events to give insider tips from the F1 media centre.
In partnership with STEM, there will be activities that focus on the engineering side of racing, while the girls will also get to hear about the nutrition and fitness regimes needed to get racers to the top of their game. The events are going to be special, and start some of the next generation down the path to a career in motor sport.
More on the Ambassadors
The Dare To Be Different Ambassadors will play a crucial role in Driving Female Talent, and some of the most high-profile women in Motorsport are already confirmed. Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Martini Racing, Sky Sports’ Rachel Brookes and current racer Alice Powell are all on board and all are appearing on the Dare To Be Different stand during the Autosport International weekend (14-17 January 2016) as well as at future events.
Claire Williams is happy to join with Susie’s project;
“I’m delighted to support the Dare To Be Different initiative and add my encouragement to women everywhere who aspire to work in motorsport. I am constantly inspired by the women I work with within Williams and I hope that my participation can help to spread that message.
“Sometimes it takes courage to pursue your dreams, Dare To Be Different will provide that encouragement and support.”
Rachel Brookes spoke about her career “I always dared to be different. I am proud that I became the first woman to present live cricket updates from the boundary edge, and to host the Post Race FIA Formula One Press Conference.”
Alice Powell also spoke about the project; “Motor sport is a male dominated sport and I have witnessed girls turn away from it because of this. I would not have had the most incredible experiences if I did not dare to be different. I always believe that you should aim high and try and better yourself. Sometimes to do that, you need to be different.”
With such a strong combination of passionate people and an important message, Dare To Be Different there is much more to be revealed in the coming weeks. It looks to be an exciting project to boost women’s participation in Motorsport. Look out for more news! By Marc Waller