Geneva, 7 March 2018 – During the Geneva Motor Show, the FIA presented its new programme, The European Young Women Programme, in the presence of Jean Todt, President of the FIA, and Michèle Mouton, President of the Women in Motorsport Commission (WIMC). Programme ambassadors Susie Wolff and Tatiana Calderón also participated in the event, along with Ambassador Peter Sørensen, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva. The Programme “The Girls On Track – Karting Challenge”, co-funded by the European Commission and supported by Yokohama Rubber, aims to promote motor sport among girls between 13 and 18 years old.
The Girls On Track aims to promote and develop the presence of young women in motor sport at the grassroots level using karting slalom, a cost-effective and easy to set up format. This two-year project received EU funding through the Erasmus+ programme, enabling the FIA WIMC to implement it as of March 2018. This new project falls into line with the ambition of this Commission to create a motor sport culture which facilitates and values the full participation of women in all aspects of motor sport. Throughout its eight years of existence, the Commission has created and developed various programmes and events, including sporting, promotional and educational projects all around the world.
“We are very proud to be launching this ambitious European competition among a young and feminine audience. I am delighted that the European Commission, through its funding, has recognised our strong commitment to the further development of women in motor sport. On its side, the FIA will keep actively promoting an equal space for men and women in motor sport for years”, said Jean Todt.
During the first year, the karting slalom events set up in central urban locations, will be promoted to young females between 13 and 18 years old at a national level in eight European ASN (National Sporting Authorities) partner countries (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden). This phase is expected to reach more than 3,000 girls.
In March 2019, the three selected girls from each country’s events will then pit themselves against each other at the European Final in Le Mans for the chance to be among the six drivers selected for the European Team. The six winners will attend the FIA Driver Training Camps, where they will be supported by the FIA through a sporting and educational programme. The programme will end with a closing event in Brussels in the autumn of 2019.
“This project is a huge challenge, although essential to raise awareness about motor sport among young girls and detect the female champions of tomorrow. With The Girls On Track programme, we have a great opportunity to open up the world of motor sport to a new generation”, said Michèle Mouton.
In addition, a sociological analysis will be conducted by CDES-PROGESPORT at the University of Limoges in order to analyse the success of the programme and make recommendations to the sport’s stakeholders and public institutions (such as the EU and the UN) on how to increase their level of female participation and fight gender stereotypes.
On behalf of Yokohama Europe, David Oliva, Communications Manager, declared: “We are very happy to be part of such an ambitious and important programme. We fully support this initiative that will help both fight against stereotypes and ensure a bigger space for women in motor sport.”
"The European Union champions gender equality all over the world. We have put the empowerment of girls and women at the core of our policies and support it through a vast array of means. The project launched today, with funding from the European Commission, is a concrete example of this global engagement," said Ambassador Peter Sørensen, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The programme will be promoted on social media through the hashtag #TheGirlsOnTrack. A devoted web page is available on the FIA website: www.fia.com/TheGirlsOnTrack