For a very long time, car racing has been a male-dominated sport. From drivers to crew members, most of the people associated with car racing have been men. In recent times, however, as women continue to break barriers in other sports, car racing is seeing the participation of more and more female racers.
Whether we talk about American Stock Car Racing driver Danica Patrick today, or Italian Formula One participant Lella Lombardi in the 1970s, female race car drivers have left no stone unturned in making a name for themselves in the sport. It did not matter to these women that they had to compete in a world dominated by men. One recent example of such women is Formula E driver Simona de Silvestro. Swiss-born Simona is about to make a historic deal as several teams have offered her a spot in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, but will she be able to create history?
Formally known as Australian Touring Car Championship, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is among Australia’s biggest sports. It is run under regulations set by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, more commonly known as the FIA. The series of local events are held in Australia and the Northern territory, while the international round takes place in New Zealand.
All the way back in the 1960’s, the champion was decided in a single race. After 1969 though, a series of races began to take place. All participating cars must run on a naturally aspirated V8 engine of 5.0 liter capacity. This is done so as to make sure that all makes of participating cars are equal. Thus, in 2003, the event gained the title of V8 Supercars Championship.
Simona in the Racing World:
The Swiss-born race car driver’s proficiency has earned her the nickname ‘Iron Maiden’ in the racing world. The 28-year-old has recently been driving for Amlin Andretti in the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Her racing debut, however, was in the 2008 Atlantic Championship as part of the Newman Wachs Racing's Nuclear Clean Air Energy-Entergy team. She participated in the IndyCar Series in a test in 2009, going on to participate full-time in the following year.
Supercars CEO James Warburton described her as “first and foremost an incredible driver”, and went on to voice his interest in creating history by adding Simona to 2017’s Supercars Championship as a full-time driver. This interest was sparked by her remarkable performance when she paired up with Renee Gracie to take on Bathurst in Mount Panorama earlier last year. He hopes that seeing the “fastest woman on four wheels” participate in Supercars will not only bring a new, more passionate audience to the sport, but also inspire more women to break down stereotypes and enter racecar driving.
Over the years, Simona has achieved many great things in the world of racing. She is one of the only three women to have stood on the IndyCar podium. Having such a successful history in racing at her young age, Simona seems to the perfect choice in order to make history as the first full-time female racer in Supercars.