During the Zandvoort weekend we’ve got a chance for an exclusive chat with Racing Pride Ambassadors Abbie Eaton and Sarah Moore, who are competing alongside Formula 1 in the W Series. Both of the Brits are very well established racing drivers: Abbie has raced before in various GT series prior to W Series, and is probably best known from her appearances in The Grand Tour, and Sarah is the first female ever who won the Britcar Endurance Championship. They are both here racing now for the ECURIE W and SCUDERIA W, and we’ve caught up with them prior to the W Series Race to discuss a little bit the topics of women in motorsports and the LGBTQ+ awareness.
To begin with, we started with a discussion about W Series and if Eaton and Moore had any personal outlook on the series. This is the first time a female oriented series has been created, and it has shed a lot of light on not only female drivers, but also female members of racing crews. To that, they responded:
Eaton: “I think (on a general note) we need more investment in women in motorsports, but at least things are happening and it has definitely been a great step for us. W Series is making a difference by bringing more opportunities by not only featuring female drivers, but giving a place for female engineers and other members of the racing crew. It increased female participation and is helping in creating a profile for women in the environment”
Moore: “I think it is exactly what we needed for women in motorsports. Growing up there were not many girls in the paddock. I had some doubts when it came to the selection process (for W Series) but I didn’t have a clue that there were so many females in motorsport! When it came to that, to see so many girls in the same space - it was mind blowing. I think for W Series, racing alongside Formula 1 has been the biggest achievement so far, and I think it’s having a very positive impact overall”
Because W Series has been a relatively new racing category, going into its only second season now, we’ve asked if the drivers wished an initiative like this was brought up faster. As they said:
Eaton: “I think, personally, I wish there were initiatives like this earlier in my career, since I never had that. I never had a coach or an engineer until when I was in my twenties and I started to race when I was, like, 10 years old, so initiatives like this are definitely helpful. I never wanted to race single seaters as it is very expensive to do so, hence only my first time racing in a series like this, but it is quite special, and we’ve got to start somewhere”
Moore: “I think W Series is a great step into the future, and it is in its perfect place as it is now. Its minimising a gap in a way because some of the girls are very young and putting them in an F2 car could be too much, but with F3 it’s definitely going into the right direction”
W Series runs with the same machinery as Formula Regional and Asian F3, and it is definitely helping female drivers of any age to advance in their motorsports careers, which is a huge step.
During the chat, we’ve asked the drivers about their personal feelings towards the Racing Pride initiative, an organisation that both Moore and Eaton are ambassadors of. If you so far never heard of Racing Pride, it is an organisation created to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and promote inclusivity in motorsports. The organisation aims at educating on different levels within the sport and so far has been probably best known for working with Aston Martin F1. To that question, Sarah Moore responded:
Moore: “Just to be a part of Racing Pride is a fantastic thing to be a part of. It is amazing to be able to raise awareness and to be a person others can feel they can come back to, ask for advice and have support from. I am not doing this for myself, but rather to make it more safe for everyone else in the community, and I can use it to help promote and raise awareness and support people that are a part of it”
We’ve asked both girls if they’ve ever felt like they’ve run into issues due to the fact that they have been openly a part of the LGBTQ+ community. To that, they answered:
Eaton: “Personally, I’ve never dealt with any problems because of being openly LGBTQ+ but I know I’ve been lucky in that. I am thick skinned and if there was ever any negative response I never let it got to me, but I know that might not have been the case for others. As Racing Pride, we’ve worked with Aston Martin to educate and teach and from that we’ve got nothing but a positive response and that has been great”
Moore: “I think I’m very much like Abbie as of I’ve never had issues myself when it comes to that. I think (in relation to negative comments) social media is never gonna be a nice place. I tend to stay away from it, especially twitter. When it comes to private you just need to pick the bad people out of the group and surround yourself with only good and supportive ones. The only time when it possibly gathered some “negative” attention was after Austria (Moore got a podium that weekend), because it got a lot of coverage and attention then, but I never let it get bad to me.”
Lastly, we’ve asked if the drivers had any recommendations for the future, or any steps that they would like to see being taken in order to advance further the visibility of LGBTQ+ community in motorsports and making it more inclusive. To that, both Eaton and Moore responded:
Eaton: “I think the next step would be more companies working with Racing Pride to educate people. Education is the key to go forwards and I hope that eventually, hopefully, we will arrive at a point where we don’t need organisations like Racing Pride to exist because it will be a norm”
Moore: “I think just continuing to raise awareness, being available for other people for advice as well as being there for support for the rest of the community”
Both W Series and Racing Pride have been amazing steps for women and the LGBTQ+ community in order to advance the inclusivity and accessibility in the motorsport environment. It is amazing to see such initiatives being brought forwards, and hopefully with more work (and such amazing ambassadors), the sight of not only women in motorsport but an inclusive and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community will become the new norm in the top categories of racing.
A huge "Thank You" to Abbie, Sarah and Racing Pride for spending their time to chat with us and the amazing opportunity.