A new initiative to encourage more young women to take up karting will get underway this summer at Hooton Park Kart Circuit, home of the Cheshire Kart Racing Club.

Starting in July, the Girls in Motorsport programme will give 50 x young women aged 14-25 years the chance to discover the fun and thrill of karting and access free coaching. To be eligible, participants must live in Cheshire, currently do little or no exercise and can commit to attend 6-8 weeks, attending weekly sessions.

Funded by Active Cheshire through the Sportivate programme, it’s the biggest ever initiative in the UK aimed at inspiring more young women and girls to feel confident and comfortable about participating in motorsport, and reinforces the Sport England This Girl Can campaign to get women active. Girls in Motorsport is a partnership between Hooton Circuit Club and young drivers academy The Blair Project.

It has attracted the support of female role models in motorsport such as 18 year old kart racer Charlotte Eyre, who is a champion for the US Girls female sports participation programme, and Helen Bashford Malkie, the MD of Chevron Racing based in Cheshire who’s a former chair of the British Womens’ Racing Drivers Club, and a board member of the prestigious Motorsport Industry Association..

Charlotte, who was introduced to karting by her father Nicholas said “ Karting is a sport that anyone can enjoy regardless of shape, size or ability. It’s a sport I love, and I hope other young women will give it a go and take part in these summer camps. I have volunteered to deliver some coaching sessions, and help out in anyway I can. I’m really looking forward to it”.

The pilot programme will run from July 6th, giving the 50 participants access to free expert coaching from former pros, racewear and 2 behind-the-wheel driving sessions per day. Karting is a very social family friendly sport, providing opportunities to join a club, make new friends and participate in friendly Cheshire Karting Club competitions.

Motorsport is one of a handful of sports where male and female competitors compete together. But only 5% of licence holders are women. The aim is to increase the participation of young women and girls and close this gender gap.

Said Helen “Closing the gender gap in motorsport is an imperative. The Blair Project has worked tirelessly to secure the funding to support Girls in Motorsport and are to be applauded. I hope it will inspire more young girls to take up motor racing and compete at the highest levels!

Targeted opportunities are available for all newcomers of all abilities to become involved at all levels as a Grid Mate – whether as drivers, volunteer mechanics, engineers, marshalls or general club volunteers and gain valuable race meeting experience.

Sarah Tilling, Strategic Lead – Voluntary Sector, with Active Cheshire added: “Hooton Park Kart Circuit is an important local sport facility in Ellesmere Port, that can help us to achieve our goal of getting 50,000 more people, more active in Cheshire by 2017. “

The Hooton Park Kart Circuit is well established and is used by over 4000 participants every year. But it’s keen to reach out further into the local community to motivate inactive people take up karting for fun, or as a sport.

Club chairman Bob Wilson said: “Motorsport is perceived as a sport for the men and the boys. This award gives us a great opportunity to change this perception and attract more young women and girls to karting, and help them develop a sporting habit for life”.

Anne Boyd, CEO of Active Cheshire said: “We are so pleased to be able to award funding to this ground breaking project. We look forward to keeping in contact with Hooton Circuit Club and The Blair Project throughout this exciting programme and sharing in their successes.“

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