A 100% female Birel ART team with Richard Mille

(James McMahon) #1

Press Release by: Birel ART
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A 100% female Birel ART team with Richard Mille


A few days after the selection organised at Le Mans in single-seaters, the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy unveiled another of its objectives, this time in karting at Lonato.

In a similar procedure, six girls aged from 13 to 17 were assessed to form a two-driver women’s team for the 2019 international season. Brazilian Julia Yaoub was chosen to wear Richard Mille’s colours in Junior and the Spanish driver Maya Weug was selected in OK.

The detection and support of young talent initiative undertaken by the Richard Young Talent Academy continues for female drivers in karting in close collaboration with Birel ART. Six young women were selected to participate in this first edition of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy, dedicated to women’s karting. The operation took place in Italy, on 17th and 18th December 2018. Lola Lovinfosse (FRA), Julia Ayoub (BRA) and Mariana Machado (PRT) took part in OK-Junior, and Maja Hallen Fellenius (SWE), Maya Weug (ESP) and Mathilda Olson (SWE) were in the top karting class of OK.

“I would like to thank Richard Mille for continuing his work with young talents with us,” said Ronni Sala, President of Birel ART Group. “Karting has had great female drivers in its history, but it seems to be more difficult now for young women to compete at a high level. Our joint initiative is part of a longer-term project to ensure them the representation they deserve.”

Welcomed to Lissone, the six participants were able to explore the Birel ART factory and get to know the Racing Team before proceeding with the preparation of their equipment and adjusting their driving position. Each with their own kart, the technicians ensured the equivalence of the equipment within the two categories.

The next morning they arrived at the famous circuit of Lonato in rather cold weather to begin the phase of evaluation of their driving. After three track sessions to learn the track of South Garda Karting, they learned lessons during a debriefing with Davide Foré, the Team Manager of Birel ART Racing.

The end of the morning included two sessions on new tyres to observe their implementation and their pure performance. To complete this active selection phase, two other sessions were scheduled in the afternoon, the last of which was again on new tyres.

Composed of Ronni Sala (Birel ART), Davide Foré (Birel ART), Debbie Gourdon (Richard Mille), Amanda Mille (Richard Mille) and Morgan Caron (All Road Management), the jury then met to take stock of the speed and the consistency of the contenders behind the wheel, also taking into account their general attitude and ability to communicate.

At the end of the deliberations, Maya Weug was chosen in OK, thanks to her mastery and experience of international competition. Fast and dynamic, Julia Ayoub (BRA) was selected in Junior. They will have the chance to participate in a complete international season in 2019 under the colours of Richard Mille within the Birel ART Racing Team.

“I had the pleasure of meeting six bright and motivated girls,” said Debbie Gourdon, Richard Mille’s representative. “The choice was not easy, but some criteria were decisive. It is important for us to support women in motorsport. Along with Enzo Valente, selected last week in F4 at Le Mans, we now have a nice formation of young hopefuls to defend the colours of Richard Mille next year. The Richard Mille Young Talent Academy could not start under better auspices!”

(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #2

This should have been W-Series, IMO.

(James McMahon) #3

What do you mean by that?

(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #4

W Series should have been supporting women in karts, rather than F3 cars.

(Michael Zahorski) #5

I’d love to see the support in the US for something like this. I’ve always said that if I had the financial backing, i’d put together a team for my daughter that would help promote the talented young women that race karts. We have 3 cadets at our home track in HCKC, and have another 6 that race in the Texas Sprint Race Series here. We had another great one that decided to give up karts and go to dirt oval mini sprints.

(Michael Zahorski) #6

I’m ok with the W-Series being F3, but along with that there should be a support series/sponsor/program that starts with young female talent in karts. Much like there is the Red Bull Rookies cup for motorcycles, it would be great to support the women starting at a lower level to help them develop and get to the higher levels.

(Dom Callan) #7

I’ve never understood why there are so few adult women racers. There’s a good amount of girls karting, usually at the front, that seem to drop out in their teens.

(James McMahon) #8

I think it’s mostly because they are on the “ladder” and once parents stop paying, they stop racing.

(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #9

That, and also you don’t see a ton of female racers who get the positive press they deserve to be role models/examples, so it’s probably less encouraging.

Not everyone thinks that Danica Patrick is the greatest female racer of all time… (I was actually just having a conversation with a friend of mine who used to run a Women in Motorsport program about the same topic.)

(Michael Zahorski) #10

David Cole wrote an article on EKN about the lack of women in motorsports (around the time the W Series was announced). Basically he said it was law of averages. If 10% of the racers are females, that means 10 of every 100 are girls. And if 10% have the funds to move higher, that becomes 1 female for every 10, and it just dwindles from there.