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Motors, Columns

Petrolhead: Women will Drive us Forward

“We need fewer testosterone-fuelled males with inflated egos and more level-headed women to help guide us towards the promised land”
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The scene unfolding in my rear-view mirror filled me with excitement and terror: two Lamborghini Huracan GT3's, being tested for the British GT Championships swarming around me like angry hornets. An hour earlier I had walked into the paddocks of the Donnington racetrack, ready to begin my day of 'joyousness'.

My better half had bought me a day’s racing tuition with DTO Motorsport. On arrival I'd felt slightly demoralised when introduced to my 'female' instructor for the day. My outdated chauvinistic views had kicked in. It turned out that Jade Edwards was a British racing driver who competes in the highly competitive British Touring Car Championships and was a demon behind the wheel. She was also a very calm and knowledgeable instructor.

Driving back from Leicestershire I felt bad that – once again – I had underestimated the female species. I'd made the same mistake at The Silverstone Rally school some years earlier. My goal for that day was to learn how to drive sideways in an old Ford Escort MK2 Rally car. On arrival I asked the receptionist in a patronising tone whether they sometimes let her have a go in the rally cars?  She looked up in a nonchalant manner: "occasionally”. As I walked through to the main office, I noticed pictures adorning the walls of the same 'receptionist' standing on various winning podiums. She was a professional rally driver who had competed in the FIA World Rally Championship. Whoops, I'll get my coat.

One of my favourite Top Gear episodes featured the late Sabine Schmitz who was a professional racing driver. The host Jeremy Clarkson had set a lap time around the Nürburgring Circuit in Germany driving a Jaguar S-Type. Schmitz had laughed and said she could drive faster in a van. She got within 9 seconds of his lap time driving a Ford Transit overtaking Porsches and Ferraris along the way.  

In many areas of life, the top spots are taken by males. This often has nothing to do with talent. The situation is slowly improving but the world would be a better place if more of our global leaders were female. We need fewer testosterone-fuelled males with inflated egos and more level-headed women to help guide us towards the promised land. In our household it's the women who get things done.

My daughter still can't parallel park though.


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