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Chadwick launches karting series to increase female participation

Three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick is launching a new initiative in an attempt to increase female participation in grassroots motorsport.

Chadwick, who currently races in America’s Indy NXT series, has partnered with Daytona Motorsport in a year-long commitment to provide free karting and mentorship for girls.

The programme will begin with free karting for all females above the age of eight at Daytona kart racing venues across the UK, before the launch of ‘The Jamie Chadwick Series’, an all-female racing championship that will take place over the remainder of 2024.

Chadwick is the UK’s most decorated active female motorsport driver, having dominated all three years of the W Series before crossing over to the fiercely competitive Indy NXT series.

She told Sky Sports News: “Something that I’ve looked at in the last few years, especially, is, what could we actually do to try to help more at grassroots level?

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments as Chadwick claimed a third W Series title in 2022

“And I think something I’ve noticed a massive improvement with over the last few years is we’re having a huge push to get more and more women in the sport, but a lot of that is coming at a slightly higher level – we’ve got F1 Academy, we’ve got initiatives around higher to world championship level karting, British Championships.

“But I actually started in, ‘arrive and drive’ kind of style karting at a pretty low level when I was 12 years old and never really had much of a career roadmap or anything to suggest that there was opportunity beyond that. I just did it as a hobby, so I was fortunate enough there were opportunities that did come around and I had an older brother that helped the early sort of stages of the next progressions, but without that, I definitely wouldn’t have had the chance to progress.

“So it’s kind of going back to that level and trying to identify some talent, encourage and mentor the young girls at that level and give them ideally an opportunity then to progress through to the next step of their careers.”

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Highlights of race one from the final round of the F1 Academy series in Austin last year where Marta Garcia was crowned champion

Chadwick in 2023 became the first woman in 13 years to compete full-time in Indy NXT, scoring 262 points across 14 races in her rookie campaign.

The 25-year-old is also part of F1 team Williams’ driver academy, and is taking on a mentoring role with their F1 representative Lia Block this season.

As well as the initiative offering financial support for participants, Chadwick simply wants to create a more “comfortable” environment for girls to compete in.

BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 30: Jamie Chadwick (28) during the INDYNXT Series Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on April 30, 2023 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image: Chadwick races in America’s Indy NXT series

“I think there are a few elements to it. Of course, even when I started, there were no female drivers competing in Formula 1 to watch at the weekends, there still aren’t, and for that reason, a lot of people won’t believe that they can be Formula 1 drivers or compete at the highest level,” she added.

“So why should they start in the sport in the first place? But it’s opening their eyes, giving them the opportunity to progress and have that chance. But also I think when I started as well, I was the only girl going to the karting events and I was lucky enough to have my brother with me and that made it easier and made the transition not so intimidating.

“But if we can create an environment and a culture that there are a lot more young girls competing and they’re able to go and enjoy it and be in an environment they feel comfortable in. I think that’s also important.”

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