Susie Wolff's Dare to be Different programme hosts first event

Susie Wolff's Dare to be Different initiative to increase female participation in motorsport held its debut headline event at Sandown Park kart track on Wednesday

Susie Wolff's Dare to be Different programme hosts first event

Former Williams Formula 1 test driver Wolff launched the programme, run in conjunction with the Motor Sports Association, at Autosport International in January.

The maiden event hosted 100 girls from local primary schools for a series of taster sessions designed to showcase the various forms of motorsport participation.

A challenge requiring the girls to build a hovercraft was among the activities as well as a fitness and nutrition session and practice pitstops on a go-kart with D2BD ambassador Tasmin Germain.

A 2014 Williams was on site, offering a unique opportunity to get close to the car, while Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham offered a masterclass in presenting, where the girls got the chance to recreate a post-race podium interview.

There was also an opportunity for the girls to take part in a karting session led by GP3 driver Tatiana Calderon and aspiring European Rally Championship competitor Catie Munnings, who both provided advice on karting and career options in motorsport.

"I'm really happy this has come up, I've seen so much interest in it," Munnings told Autosport.

"Lots of girls when they're young don't consider it, because they don't see a female sitting in the Formula 1 grid.

"It's been amazing to have Susie as a role model, and now we need someone not just for the drivers but for the engineering - this shows me, even now, 'oh that's a career, I could do that'."

Wolff kicked off the event with an introduction and was on-hand throughout the day to help and advise the girls.

"I think, fundamentally, we've put a really good day together and we're looking for what we can improve," Wolff said.

"When I saw the girls arriving this morning, all of them were quite shy and then suddenly they're jumping around with smiles.

"We're off on a very solid footing with the MSA onboard and some great partners, and for us it's just about slowly but surely expanding and making sure that every step of the way we're doing it correctly.

"It's all worked really, really well and of course we were very lucky the weather held up."

Four more D2BD events are planned this year, in Milton Keynes, Manchester, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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