Discover Your Drive grows from strength to strength

Friday 08 March 2024

F1 Academy Discover Your Drive has already started revolutionising opportunities for young females in entry-level karting. And now, after a super-successful pilot scheme run last autumn, the programme has shifted up several cogs in 2024, with ten nationwide TeamSport centres hosting the latest intake of novices over the recent half-term break.

As part of the global initiative introduced last year by F1 Academy, the goal of Discover YourDrive is to show girls aged between eight and 12 that motor sport is both accessible and fun – and then to support those with obvious talent to progress into the British Indoor Karting Championships. The scheme, run by Motorsport UK in collaboration with TeamSport, is open to everyone and no previous experience is required.

The initial 2023 pilot programme ran across six venues and had an immediate impact with a 265 % uplift in the number of girls entering last year’s BIKC and one actually making it all the way to the grand final. Proof, if required, that by increasing the pipeline, more will make it to elite level.

“The pilot has already had a huge impact,” confirmed Rosa Dakin, Discover YourDrive Manager at Motorsport UK. “Now we are looking to build significantly on what was achieved in that initial programme.”

To that end Dakin – together with Motorsport UK’s Head of Competitor Development, Katie Baldwin – recently went to TeamSport Leicester to run an instructor workshop for the TeamSport Chief Instructors who are delivering Discover YourDrive across the UK.

“We took the instructors through the off-track activities they will be delivering, and then in the afternoon they completed a practical on-track where we refined their ability to select talented drivers,” continued Dakin. “Around 45,000 young girls visit TeamSport centres every year but very few progress.”

But this looks set to change: of the 137 girls who partook over the February half-term, 85 per cent enjoyed the experience, with 54 per cent signing up for the follow-up Academy, which consists of five instructor-led coaching sessions to provide girls with the skills and techniques to compete at junior level. Those keen to put their learnings to the test can then join a new race league set up to encourage girls to compete against boys on a weekly basis.

“Our target is to attract 1,000 young girls in 2024… and, hopefully, more,” confirmed Dakin. “Currently only five per cent of Motorsport UK competition licence holders are females and that’s a statistic we want to change.”

To find out more about this amazing opportunity, click here and to find out what to expect at a session, watch this video on Motorsport UK TV.