Do We Need a Showcase Series?

Editor's Notebook, April 1998



T.W. Theodore

Auto racing is gender neutral. Women race car drivers have no inherent disadvantage in the sport. Given equal opportunity, a woman can compete head to head with men and be successful.


We've seen it on the track. We've heralded it in every forum we can find. We've reported it in Distant Thunder and displayed it on the Thunder Valley Racing website for the past three years. We've worked with a number of women drivers, trying to create opportunities for them to succeed in established racing series.


we are angry

We are angry. Name one woman driver whose skill, determination, commitment, and courage have been matched by adequate sponsorship and the racing equipment she needs to compete consistently at the highest level of the sport. If you think you might be able to name one or two, I could give you countless stories of women drivers who have been shut out, held back, under-rated, discounted, and, sometimes, even punted off the track.


not a model for my daughter...

The fact that so many women drivers are out there, competing on an uneven playing field, is a great testament to their courage and determination. (It is also an indication of the tremendous thrill and addiction of motor sports competition.) There must be hundreds of women drivers with the desire and skills to advance professionally who have given up or not even tried to move beyond the amateur ranks. This is not a model I want for my daughter.


Thunder Valley Racing will continue to work in any way we can to support women race car drivers in major race series. This website and our sponsorship activities are geared towards that goal.


we are intrigued

We are intrigued, however, with the possible advantages of a women's auto racing championship series that would showcase the talents of women drivers, give them exposure on television, and demonstrate the value of their skills, personality, and gender to potential sponsors. Would exposure and success in such a series translate into adequate sponsorship, team support, and first class equipment in mainstream series?


a showcase series?

Perhaps, if it is positioned correctly. Perhaps each driver could be identified with the mainstream series she is coming out of and intends to return to. (Like, you should pardon the expression, the IROC series.) Perhaps a driver might compete in both the woman's series and a mainstream series in the same season. Perhaps the woman's series should be positioned as a showcase series rather than as a traditional championship series.


lend your voice

We'd like your thoughts. We'd like to continue this dialogue so we can help the developers of the series match what they are doing with the interests of women drivers and their fans.


If you haven't done so already, please fill out the consumer survey and, if you are a driver, the driver survey. If you'd like to give us more extensive comments, send us an email.


The comments section of this month's Distant Thunder is devoted to responses to the idea of a women's auto racing championship series. Add your voice to the dialogue.


Yours, 'til the green flag drops.

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