Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro's three-year full-time Supercars deal could be a watershed moment for Aussie female racers. With an influx of women competing in junior formulas and a talented bunch of females climbing up the motorsport ladder, we look at the careers of three young Australian drivers most likely to follow de Silvestro's footsteps into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #98.
Issue #98 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on issue #98.
While the focus is currently on de Silvestro and her progress in the Nissan Altima, her arrival in the series and in helping to break the gender barrier in Supercars is inspiring the next-generation of female racers from Australia.
As she battles the men in the main game, three young Australian female racers will be hoping her progress helps with their own Supercars ambitions.
Issue #98 profiles Renee Gracie (pictured above), Chelsea Angelo and Emily Duggan, the Aussie female drivers looking to follow in de Silvestro's slipstream.
Gracie says she hopes strong results from the likes of de Silvestro will encourage more women to pursue a career in motorsport.
"Yeah, it's no longer a myth, we have actually done it," she says. "Hopefully we will encourage young women to make their way into motorsport whether its racing or engineering or whatever because we beat plenty of other people on track there so it shows that it's possible."
While admitting she gets tired of the focus on her gender, she doesn't mind being a point of difference in a grid full of men.
"I feel sorry for the boys because it would be hard to stand out in a male dominated sport as a male," she says.
"I feel pretty lucky that we stand out and I wouldn't have it any other way. But that doesn't mean there aren't some negatives to being a female racer.
"One thing a lot of people think is that we get handed things because we are female, that's not it at all.
"You still have to be fast. People spend big money on this sport; motorsport is a very money-orientated sport. It is one of the most expensive that there is. It's millions and millions of dollars and no one is going to spend that much money on you just because you're a girl.
"I think it's definitely changing, 20 years ago probably not. I think now it's not that bad. I mean, teams respect us a lot more and people are willing to have female drivers like Simona and I. It's not something I've found people do or don't want. I definitely think times are changing and in another 20 years' time it will be completely different again."
CLICK HERE to purchase issue #98 to read the feature.