ONLY one of the 56 drivers in last weekend’s Western Australian Production Sedan Title was female.
For that sole female, Hamilton Hill’s Laura Byrnes, numbers like those are what have fuelled her push to break down the stigma and get more women involved in traditionally male-dominated motorsport.
Appointed to Women of Australian Motorsport in January, Byrnes said she was eager to increase female participation in all areas of motorsport, whether it was driving, in the pit crew or as administrators.
“As a speedway racer for the past 10 years, I know the struggle, the pain, the late nights, questioning and lack of support faced from time to time,” she said.
“I think an attitude change is necessary. I want other female racers, particularly those in speedway, to know they’re not alone in their journey.”
She said numbers in the sport were already improving, with female participation in her chosen field of speedway sedans now at a record 12 per cent, with the majority of those in junior competitions.
“I feel like it’s important for me to set a high standard and be a role model for what these young women can achieve if they stay within the sport,” Byrnes said.
“Men and women within motorsport are not equal.
“Women in motorsport have already conquered far more than our male counterparts will ever face through breaking through the traditional feminine stereotype, putting up with the constant sexist comments and having the confidence and self-belief to stay in a sport that can so easily turn on us.”
Another dream is the creation of a driver development program that would help young female racers succeed on and off the track.
She will be one of |two women in the 66-driver field at the National Production Sedan Titles in Moora |this weekend.