Racing Together has taken another major step forward in its mission to involve more Australian Indigenous teenagers in motorsport, with the program launching an all-girl karting team.
The new team, which has the backing of Gold Coast-based karting organisation Patrizicorse, will see four teenage girls of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background contest 10 events in South-east Queensland next year.
Behind the wheel of the Patrizicorse 4SS-class Ricciardo kart will be Karlai Warner, while Ayesha Burke and Amber Rahurahu will serve as mechanics. The final member of the team, Tayla Warner, will be in charge of tyres, data and logistics.
Racing Together founder Garry Connelly was pleased with the girls’ attitude and passion for the project since getting involved.
"Despite being completely new to motor-racing at the beginning of the year, the girls have shown tremendous dedication and aptitude and have thoroughly earned this new opportunity,” Connelly said.
“Karlai has just turned 15. The karting will prepare her for car-racing and we intend for her to race a second Hyundai during next year.
“We’ll hold an open day next February to recruit some new team members – hopefully including another female driver for 2023 - and continue the growth of Racing Together.”
Founded last year by Connelly and his wife Monique, the not-for-profit program had a successful first year with the first intake of 10 Indigenous high-schoolers featuring in this year’s Motorsport Australia Queensland Circuit Championships.
Made up of six boys and four girls, the team spent the year building, maintaining, preparing and racing a Hyundai Excel in the Series X3 Queensland competition at Morgan Park Raceway, as well as in a support category for the Repco Supecars Championship's Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.
The program also gathered plenty of support from a variety of athletes, including seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton and Australian Tokyo Olympics beach volleyball Silver medallist Taliqua Clancy.
Clancy, who is regarded as one of Australia’s most successful Indigenous female athletes, also holds a position on the Racing Together Board and was highly supportive of the new karting project.
“To create an opportunity especially for young Indigenous girls is a very exciting development in the Racing Together program,” Clancy said.
“We don’t believe anything like this has been done anywhere in the world and as an Indigenous sports person I’m delighted to give it my full support and will take a keen interest when the girls hit the track next season.”