By Patwant Singh | Posted: 21 February 2011 2245 hrs
SINGAPORE: Women and motor sports are getting into higher gear in Singapore, with more events being organised as interest in them picks up speed.
Red Bull is launching an inaugural search in Singapore for a woman driver to race in the upcoming 1,000-kilometre race in Sepang.
24 were shortlisted, and six will be picked for intensive training for the one spot, to race for its Rookies Team in December 2011. Joining the Singapore representative will be three other drivers, two from Malaysia and one from Brunei.
Some of the participants feel that the lack of female racers in professional racing is not due to a lack of talent.
One of the participants, student and motoring enthusiast, Nanthini Thirumoorthi, said: “I don’t think it is because of lack of talent, I just think it is a lack of exposure and the lack of maybe courage for women to step up, so hopefully with competitions like this and more exposure like this, everyone will start stepping up slowly.”
The women admit there are inherent limitations.
Fellow participant Nur Ashikin, said: “The pressure and us getting tired very fast because driving is not easy…you have to coordinate your legs, your arms and check blind spots. So it is mentally and physically draining.”
Despite the obstacles, women pursuing motor sports have an advantage.
Another participant, Cheryl Desiree Tan, said: “We are more willing to accept comments and critique from people so from there we can probably improve more quickly than male drivers.”
Meanwhile, motorsports specialist Cheryl Tay is forming an all-female team to compete in the OCBC Corporate Karting Challenge in May. There are already sponsors backing her for the six-member team.
“We have female officials, marshals but the OCBC Corporate Karting Challenge is in teams and is in rental karts, I think this is the perfect time for women to come up…karting being the basic form of motorsports is the easiest and most convenient way to start,” said Ms Tay.
She added that monthly female-only karting sessions are being planned.
There is also more support as well on the national level. The Singapore Motor Sports Association recently launched a Women and Motor Sport Commission. Among the activities being planned, more riding and driving clinics for all levels of female motorists.