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The Importance of Women in Motorsport

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The Importance of Women in Motorsport

Hey CKN Nation!

I’m super excited to be back for another blog!

As the long winter off-season is coming to an end, it’s time to dust off your karts and buckle up for another exciting season! To get you all in the spirit to start this season, I want to shed some light on the importance of women in motorsports and my experiences as a woman racing in Canada.

As a woman in motorsports, I’ve never looked at my gender as a disadvantage and for the most part, neither have my competitors. But there’s always one driver, who thinks because of my gender I don’t deserve to be on track, I don’t deserve to win the race or be a part of the team. Over my years in karting, I’ve experienced the stares as I take off my helmet and my competitors realize I am a girl or the drivers who talk to my Father when they want to work with me rather than speaking to me directly. It comes and it goes, for the most part, I’ve earned my respect and created a name for myself through my accomplishments. But getting to that point wasn’t easy.

As a female in motorsports, I had to earn my way into being accepted by my competitors. This meant toughing it out for a few years, working by myself in qualifying because the boys didn’t want to team up with me, or having to push my way to the front of a race alone. But these tough years paid off, as I continued to persevere and defy the odds placed against me, I began to gain the respect and acceptance of my fellow drivers.

When I began racing at the age of nine there were very few female drivers at the Canadian go-kart tracks I was going to. But as I got older and began to travel more, I got the opportunity to meet other female drivers and bond with them. The relationships I have built with other female drivers I have met are very supportive and encouraging. Being able to share my experiences and what I’ve encountered through my racing journey with other female drivers is a very rewarding experience. On the other side of things, being able to listen and hear from other females involved with motorsports has significantly inspired me.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the FIA Women in Motorsports STEM Workshop which was held on March 10th, 2021. At the workshop, I got to hear from McLaren F1 Performance Engineer, Amelia Lewis, and Andrea Preacher who is a current Mechanical Engineering student at Georgia Tech who had the opportunity to work with the Mercedes Benz EQ FE Team! Both women spoke about their journey and experiences as women working within motorsports and how they got to where they are today.

During the workshop we built Rube Goldberg machines which are chain reaction-type machines designed to use multiple steps to perform a simple task, our task being to knock over a cup. The workshop had over 100 participants from all over the world and helped to inspire and educate young women in the opportunities available through the field of engineering. The workshop also educated us on our opportunities within motorsports, and how to begin planning for our futures.

For those of you who are not aware, I am currently studying my Bachelor of Engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a woman in STEM, I believe workshops introducing young girls to their potential and opportunities in STEM fields are so very important. Although more and more women are becoming involved in STEM fields, women continue to be a minority. But this does not limit nor define what we women in STEM are capable of, if anything this fuels me to be better.

Being involved in motorsports and engineering has taught me that I am capable of anything and that boundaries are meant to be pushed. To any females in motorsports or STEM or thinking about entering either field just know that your gender will never define you. It will only limit you if you give it the power to. Strive for greatness, push the boundaries and keep defying the odds!

If you’re interested in following my journey, please like my Facebook page Hann Racing or follow me on Instagram at @kelseyhannracing for updates!

That’s all for now CKN!

-Kelsey Hann

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