The FIA Girls on Track Program took to Queensland this week, with Norwell Motorplex and Triple Eight Race Engineering hosting events.
The program aims to build interest in all elements of motorsport amongst school aged girls in order to increase female participation in STEM subjects and highlight the opportunities available in the motorsport industry as a whole, not just behind the wheel.
Norwell Motorplex was the first event to run of the two as it welcomed a number of schoolgirls from around the area to take part.
Like many of the Girls on Track events, the girls participated in plenty of activities at the circuit such as a pit stop challenge, fitness and reaction, a STEM/Lego workshop and media training.
While participants also got a chance to jump on the simulator for some laps of iconic global circuits, one of the more popular activities was the go-kart sessions on the racetrack, putting the students’ driving skills to the test.
Lola, who was attending her first FIA Girls on Track program, was inspired by the event and was eager to work towards becoming a race engineer.
“I really enjoyed the day, especially being able to race the kart on the track,” Lola said.
“Although I wasn’t as fast as many, I still had a lot of fun and was definitely better than when I was on the simulator.
“I also had fun during the STEM workshop. I learned how to build a car – even if it was with Lego. I want to be an engineer and work on race cars in the future and doing things like STEM helped with that.”
The following day, Triple Eight Race Engineering held the second event with many of the similar activities available for attendees – only instead of getting to cut laps on a race track, the participants were treated to an exclusive tour of the Repco Supercars Championship team’s workshop by Triple Eight Commercial Operations Officer and Co-Owner and Girls on Track ambassador Jessica Dane.
Triple Eight engineer Romy Meyer and Earl Bamber Motorsport’s Madeline Stewart were also on hand across the two days to help the program.
Upper Coomera State College was one of the many schools to have students attend the events and teacher Rob believed the program is fantastic for the girls, which is why the school continues to come back.
“Girls on Track gives girls a chance to do something completely out of their comfort zone,” Rob explained.
“They get to come to these events and jump on a racetrack or see the technical insights of how motorsport works which is fantastic.
“Getting an insight into what it is like as a motorsport engineer is something they wouldn’t see every day and the girls are always excited after each event.
“In the succeeding days, they always give their peers a rundown on the day and express their desire to continue going back. I highly recommend it to other schools.”
One of the parents of the participants who wasn’t part of the school groups was a big fan of the program and also recommended it to other parents.
“We saw the program through Facebook and joined as I just think it’s a great initiative,’ Vanessa said.
“To have all these girls come here and learn through fun and engaging activities is just so fantastic. There are so many happy girls here.
“My daughter had an extremely good time and loved the simulator – so much so that you couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.
“I would really encourage other parents to enrol their daughters into it. We need to give girls these opportunities and once they get them, it can help them excel – especially with all the extra activities they put together that connects the dots and helps form a little pathway.”
Click here for more information on Girls on Track.
The next instalment of FIA Girls on Track will be at The Bend Motorsport Park as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships on 16-17 October.