The days of motorsport being seen as exclusively for men are long gone – but British racer Alice Powell insists more still needs to be done to encourage young girls to get involved.
Powell finished third in last year’s inaugural W Series, a ground-breaking all-female Formula 3 racing series, securing four podiums including one race victory across six races.
And ahead of the competition’s second year, which features two extra races in Austin and Mexico City, Powell explained it was important to build on the great strides women have made in the sport.
“We need to show girls that they can do it and it’s not limited to boys, because it’s still seen as a boys’ sport, and it’s still a male-dominated sport,” she said, speaking at a Women’s Sport Trust event.
“The W Series is good because it’s an expensive sport, but the W Series is fully funded and with the prize money women can take it to the next level.
“It’s really important to target these levels of racing, but we also need to target grassroots to help young women into motorsport, and to progress through it.
“One important element is that we need to make women aware it’s not just about driving, because driving isn’t for everyone. They need to see that it’s also about engineering and the mechanical side of things.
“Racing at Brands Hatch was really nice because I met lots and lots of young girls who said they wanted to get into motorsport.”
The 27-year-old from Oxford has been a fan of motorsport from a young age and loved watching it years before she started karting at the age of eight.
Despite nobody in her family being a racing driver, she quickly progressed and became the youngest female driver in a Formula Renault race in 2009 at the age of just 16.
She has been competing as a driver for over a decade, with her career highlights including becoming the first woman to win a Formula Renault Championship in 2010 and becoming the first woman to score points in the GP3 series in 2012.
Powell said that coverage of her, and of the W Series, which is now shown live across the world, is really important for women’s motorsport to move to the next level.
She also values her work as part of the Women’s Sport Trust, something she’s been involved with since it started in 2012.
Powell said: “It’s an incredible campaign, and it’s great to see how it’s developed alongside women’s sport in general.
“It’s moved on leaps and bounds from 2012 to now and that’s because people have worked so hard behind the scenes.
“I’m really looking forward to diving into helping the girls here progress, both inside our sports but also outside them.”
Alice Powell is part of Women’s Sport Trust’s new Unlocked campaign, powering up 40 of Britain’s best sportswomen. Find out more at www.womenssporttrust.com