Proudly celebrating diversity in motorsport

Thursday 03 June 2021

A crisis on the scale of the coronavirus pandemic has the power to reorder society in dramatic ways, causing us to re-evaluate what is important, and acting as a catalyst for positive change. A year ago this week, that process was already underway when Black Lives Matter protests gave the world pause on another global issue – that of racial injustice. That moment evolved into a movement – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – that encapsulated all aspects of prejudice and discrimination.

Motorsport UK, aligned with the wider world of sport, responded with determination and commitment, eager to ensure this opportunity to use its reach and influence to celebrate and enable participation in motorsport did not go to waste. Its aim was to not only engage in the conversation around ‘EDI’ but to make a difference through meaningful action. Positive steps have already been taken in recent years with our programmes supporting women in motorsport, disability and accessibility, and in addressing the affordability of participation, particularly at the entry level. However, there is much more work to be done to change the culture to one that values and celebrates diversity, and enables the full involvement of disadvantaged groups.

That realisation was at the heart of Motorsport UK’s decision to form its new EDI Committee: “We all need to recognise that new regulations or policy statements alone will not achieve what is required,” commented David Richards, Chairman of Motorsport UK. “It is a far deeper issue that goes right to the culture of our sport and requires each and every one of us to examine the way we behave and the values we want to uphold.”

Motorsport UK invited Catherine Bond Muir, founder and CEO of W Series to chair its newest committee, which was ratified by the Board at the end of 2020. Such is the necessity and importance of gaining a deep understanding of the various issues around EDI, the decision was taken to form four sub-committees, so that resulting actions are relevant.

The Women in Motorsport Sub-Committee will be chaired by Motorsport UK Board Member Helen Bashford-Malkie, who has been involved in motorsport since the age of 18, having competed in various categories including Formula Ford and in the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship. She has been a team principal, race car manufacturer as the owner of the Chevron marque, and a committee member of the MIA (Motorsport Industry Association). As the long-term chair of the BWDRC (British Women Racing Drivers’ Club) she has remained steadfastly committed to the interests of women in motorsport for many years.

Mike Bugembe will chair the Racial Diversity Sub-Committee. Born in Uganda, his family has competed in Safari Rallies and his 10-year-old son in karting. Bugembe is passionate about racing and helping young people of diverse ethnicity to get into motorsport, which prompted him to establish the BAME Motorsports Foundation. From his work in analytics and Artificial Intelligence he has been able to demonstrate through research that even AI has been shown to have an inherent bias against women or people of colour.

The Disability and Accessibility Sub-Committee will be chaired by Nathalie McGloin, the inaugural President of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission and the only female tetraplegic racing driver in the world. In 2015 she became the first female with a spinal injury to be granted a racing licence in the UK, and in 2019, the first ever female disabled rally driver.

As Motorsport UK joins the rest of the world in celebrating PRIDE MONTH, it is pleased to announce that Richard Morris, founder of RACING PRIDE, will chair the governing body’s LGBTQ+ Sub-Committee. Racing Pride launched in collaboration with Stonewall in 2019 to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the motorsport industry and has since begun to initiate significant and lasting change. Morris started karting at 12 years of age before moving into car racing, competing in Formula Ford and as a works driver for sports prototypes. Previously an international level fencer before moving into motorsport, he brings a great deal of experience of how other sports address welfare and inclusion, allied to issues he has encountered in a racing environment.

Over the coming months Motorsport UK will outline the objectives and vision for its EDI Committee and its four sub-committees and invite the community to support its work in ensuring that motorsport is safe, fair, and fun for all, and an environment in which competitors and participants can feel comfortable and welcome.

Proud to support Racing Pride in Pride Month