How to get started in racing with the British Women Racing Drivers’ Club

Friday 08 March 2024

The BWRDC was formed in 1962 by Mary Wheeler MBE, with the aim of promoting and supporting women in all forms of motorsport. Members compete in some of the most prestigious championships held worldwide, from racing to hillclimbing to rallying, from Monte Carlo to Silverstone to the Nurburgring. They have set records, inspired trophies and won championships and continue to champion women within the sport.

The club now has another objective: to inspire more women to give motorsport a try, regardless of age or driving experience. Into Speed with the BWRDC is a programme designed to introduce women to the thrills and rewards of competition, from the first stages of sitting in a car through their first runs on track to contesting their first event. It aims to give a clear, friendly and cumulative pathway.

The programme centres around the hillclimbing discipline, which is contested against the clock in a range of easily accessible and affordable road cars throughout the UK. Motorsport UK has contributed a fund to underwriting the programme as part of its ongoing commitment to increase female participation throughout the sport.

Women wishing to participate in the initiative follow a three-stage process. Initially they will have a day’s tuition at Harewood Hill near Leeds on 28 March where they will focus on getting comfortable in a car and learn the different ‘basics’ associated with motorsport such as timing and safety, before driving the hillclimb course. Driver kit will be provided on this day.

A second optional day may then take place at Curborough Sprint Course where participants can start to dial into their driving style with one-to-one tuition from BWRDC competitors and other expert driving tutors.

The final stage will be the chance to enter an event with the full support of a BWRDC mentor. There will be three such opportunities available and points will be accrued from each of these to identify a series winner. Throughout the process participants will also be introduced to the different roles available throughout motorsport, including stewards, engineers, media and marshals.

The events will take place at Shelsley Walsh (Worcestershire) in May, Prescott Hill (Gloucestershire) in June and Harewood Hill (Yorkshire) in August. The BWRDC will likewise guide women through the acquisition of a racing licence, with the support of Motorsport UK.

A representative fee will be payable for each day to cover the entry fees. Participants must be willing to use their own road car for the driving tuition days and any competitive events.

Helen Allen, Chair of the BWRDC, commented: “The British Racing Drivers Club was created to represent women in a sport that is perceived to be only for men. In 2022 we celebrated our 60th anniversary, but we wanted to continue to inspire a new generation of ambitious women.

“With the support of Motorsport UK we are proud to have created this programme to take women through the sport from the very early stages to their first competition. It is all about access and enjoyment, and trying to show that there is a place for everyone in motorsport.

“We aimed to create a safe environment for women to ask the questions they may not have the courage to do in a mixed environment, and to build their confidence in a welcoming and open way. We will offer training, tuition and hand-hold through every step of the process until each participant feels able to compete independently.”