D2BD: Inspiring the next generation of women in motorsport

Being one of the only females in a typically male-dominated environment can be tough - it can be tough to break away from the stereotypes and get a chance to demonstrate what you are truly capable of. Dare to be Different strives to change this, by empowering women and driving female talent.

Credit: Dare To Be Different

Founded by Susie Wolff and Rob Jones, D2BD launched at the Autosport International Show in January this year. The initiative has inspired many women to follow their dreams, connect with professionals in the motorsport industry and, as the name suggests, to ‘dare to be different’.

Yesterday, the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone Circuit, hosted the first Community Event, where inspirational stories were told and heard alongside some exceptional racing. I was fortunate enough to attend the event, with some other aspiring motorsport journalists.

The day began early, travelling from the hotel where we’d stayed overnight to the race track. Upon arrival, we picked up our tickets and walked to the Brookland hospitality suite, where already I was left speechless. I had never been to a race before and witnessing the British F3 cars fly around the circuit left me smiling.

Once reaching the suite we were given a wristband and proceeded upstairs to where the event was being held. We signed in and were given our lanyard with an ‘area of interest’. These included; media, engineering, racing and motorsport in general.

Excited at seeing some familiar faces around the suite, we sat down at our table and introduced ourselves to those who were already seated. Already there was an excellent atmosphere, chatting filling in the air.

Grabbing a cup of tea before the welcome from Susie Wolff began, I was overwhelmed to see how many members of the community had travelled to Silverstone. Some had even travelled as far as Australia! Regardless, we were all here for one reason - we all had a passion for motorsport and all wanted it to be a significant part of our life.

Susie Wolff opened the event, reiterating the aim of Dare to be Different and how the initiative was created, before introducing us to some key members of the team who help to make events, such as that of Silverstone, possible.

Susie when handed over to some very inspirational speakers- Louise Goodman, Kathryn Richards, and Janaina Alves-Lopes, all of whom are very influential ladies in motorsport. After hearing their stories, I was even more determined to one day make it to working in the paddock.

Lunch was served and we watched the Silverstone 500 whilst ‘networking’- a word Susie insists is overused. ‘Connecting’ is better.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Tatiana Calderon, a GP3 driver whom I had interviewed recently for Women in Motorsport. I was blown away by how kind she was and the passion she had for her sport. Mark my words, you will be hearing a lot more of Tatiana in the years to come!

The thing that struck me the most was how welcoming everyone was. Everyone was approachable and everyone was willing to chat, which is nice to see in the highly competitive industry of motorsport. It can be daunting too- especially talking to the likes of Louise Goodman who is certainly one of my inspirations. If anything she ignited my passion for writing even more - that is all I want to do - write about racing.

In the afternoon, tea and cake were served (and may I say thank you to Jenny for making such wonderful cakes) we shared some more stories, creating new contacts and making new friends. Stories of people who had been knocked back time and time again but had never given up, those who strive every day to make a difference to the female motorsport community and those who devote their time to others to help them achieve their dreams.

After ‘connecting’, we took a walk over to the paddock (trying very hard not to get run over by the British F3 cars) before the heavens opened and the Great British weather decided to live up to its name.

It was a real pleasure to talk to so many determined and kind women yesterday, and a big thank you to all those who made not only the event possible, but to D2BD who have build a community for inspiring females.

We left the track in the torrential rain, whilst it began to thunder. I may have been soaked by the time we got to the car, but that was irrelevant.

It felt good to be daring to be different.