NHRA: Brittany Force and Why We Need Women in Motorsports

The field of Motorsports is perhaps even more male-dominated than its non-mechanic counterparts – and that’s the reason we need more like the NHRA’s Brittany Force.

Let’s not beat around the bush. The collective of Motorsports has not had the best track record with the participation of the “fairer” sex. Look at the wide breath of its history and you’ll struggle to find female drivers winning World Championships or being vaulted into international fame. Over the years, women have managed to make more of a splash in the upper echelons of various series – such as NASCAR’s Danica Patrick, but the field still remains fairly male-dominated. It’s moments like these that highlight the importance of a diversified participation pool. And moments like these that make us appreciate rising stars like Brittany Force that much more.

Force, who achieved the distinction of being the first Top Fuel driver for John Force Racing has managed to secure herself a total of four wins already, and is looking to make herself a mainstay in the realm of NHRA dragster racing. Although Force has grand ambitions for the future, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be the daughter of the racing team owner. As such, John Force racing has made sure to offer Brittany any possible accommodations that she may need:

“I never had a car that fit Brittany. Because she’s so light, we had to move a lot of weight (around the car) and had to move the steering closer to her.

We’re making a bunch of changes to make it fit her perfectly. There’s no real hurry. I want my daughter to experience the Funny Car. Hell, I may get into that dragster.” – John Force

Regardless of her team advantage, Force has undoubtedly shown a prowess out on the track, and likely has a very bright future ahead of her. But she is one of far too few. Perhaps one can chalk it up the, at times, overly-projected machismo that Motorsports cultivates as an image. There is the argument to be made that your ability to operate a motor vehicle with skill and aptitude akin to an artform is not dependent on your sex/gender/whatever you choose to call it. And yet, somehow, that sensation manages to be perpetuated almost subconsciously.

Just earlier this year, two-time Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 winner Danny Watts came out as homosexual, and his quotes from that time were disheartening to still have to read in the 21st century:

“You feel like you have to hide it within motorsport because it’s a very masculine sport. The biggest thing is worrying what people will think and how they’ll portray you, how they’ll act around you. It’s stupid things like thinking do I go and shake hands with people, will they shake your hand back?” – Danny Watts

The world of Motorsports has so much to offer to so many, yet there is still the barrier of entry that can make the art of racing seems as something that is only reserved for the select few. It isn’t. It’s something that everyone can and should have the ability to both participate in, and excel in. But that’s a hard point to get across when the majority of featured women on Motorsport programs are still grid girls.

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