The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and Women of Australian Motor Sport (WAMS) have raised the benchmark in off-track events at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix in style with Williams F1 development driver Susie Wolff making a special guest appearance to support women in motor sport.
Hosting its second annual luncheon proudly supported by Mazda, WAMS was delighted to have Wolff as its special international guest speaker, imparting her career experiences with the gathered guests from the business, media, motor sport sectors and female participants of motor sport.
Wolff, who is also an ambassador for FIA Women in Motor Sport Commission, was pleased to see WAMS celebrating at the biggest event on the Australian racing calendar.
“It’s fantastic when women come together to support and inspire each other, and it’s really nice for me to be here with so many other women who are passionate about motor sport.” said Wolff.
“Ultimately we are no different to the guys who love motor sport and it’s nice that we can all come together to support each other.”
Wolff was happy to impart some of her experiences on the gathering, many of whom have shared her love and passion for motor sport from a young age.
“For me it was just about being passionate about motor sport. I loved the racing, I was never aware that I was different, that I was a girl in a man’s world, and a lot of that comes down to my parents. They never made the differentiation between my brother and I, we were simply just two kids who loved racing.”
Wolff began her career in karting, being named British Women Kart Racing Driver of the Year in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, and in 2000 was named Top Female Kart Driver in the World. Progressing to single seater racing in 2001, the following year she made her debut in the full Formula Renault UK Championship.
In 2003, Wolff won the BRDC Rising Star of the Year Award, as well as being selected as a finalist for the BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award in 2003 and 2004.
Having also competed in the British Formula Three Championship, 2006 saw Wolff compete for the first time in DTM, the German Touring Car series and in her debut season achieved six wins with a best finish of ninth in the season finale.
The 30-year-old continues to race in DTM for Team Persson Motorsport who she joined in 2008 and last year drove the TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, as well as being confirmed as Development Driver for the Williams F1 Team.
“What’s tough for us all is that we’re fighting against a stereotype, we’re fighting against the idea that a woman can’t be successful in a man’s world,” added Wolff. “I think it’s about earning the respect, I kept my head down, I did a good job and ultimately motorsport is performance based so if you’re good enough at what you do you deserve to be there. When you put your helmet on you’re just the same as any other guy out on track, there’s no differentiation. “
The WAMS committee, supported by CAMS, was founded in 2010 to help promote and encourage participation among women and girls in the sport.
WAMS Chairperson Belinda Taylor said she was proud that the event has now grown into one of the most important occasions on the WAMS calendar.
“This luncheon is all about bringing together the most successful and prominent people in all sorts of industries – from government, various sporting bodies, business and the media – so that we can educate others on all the great work that women do in the within motor sport in Australia, and showcase what WAMS has in store to support those women in the coming season.
“In what is a busy weekend for Susie, we can’t thank her enough for sharing her story on not only being the only female driver in F1, but also the inspiring road she’s taken to get to where she has. It was such a valuable opportunity for all of us to meet with her, and along with Mazda and our supporting sponsors in Castrol, Melbourne IT Solutions and Dyno Dynamics… we can’t thank them all enough for making the day a great success,” concluded Taylor.
ABOUT THE WOMEN OF AUSTRALIAN MOTOR SPORT (WAMS)
WAMS was established in 2010 with the aim of increasing female participation across all facets of motor sport in Australia. Within motor sport, only 18% of participants are women, and with such a low retention rate it is crucial to develop programs to keep women in the sport, as well as create leadership pathways and opportunities for future development of women in motor sport.
In 2010 the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) created the Women & Motor Sport Commission (WMC) to address this challenge on a global scale and a similar committee was established here in Australia.
All members of WAMS are volunteers and have extensive experience in various roles within motor sport. Members are currently involved as drivers, officials, administrators, team personnel, and the media. Each member dedicates much of their own time, expertise and resources into making WAMS a committee of action, not just words.
Visit www.wams.org.au for more details.
The 2013 WAMS Luncheon is proudly sponsored by Mazda and support sponsors are Melbourne IT Solutions, Dyno Dynamics and Castrol.
For further Information please call CAMS Media Manager Leith Mulligan on +61 418 899072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org