Women in racing are few and far between. Sure, a smattering of notable names comes to mind – like Danica Patrick, Sabine Schmitz and Susie Stoddart – but in this male-dominated sport, they're the exception. The FIA is taking steps to fix that, however.
Two of the regulatory body's organs – the Women & Motor Sport Commission and the Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK-FIA) – teamed up to award the most outstanding young female talent a helping hand. They held a shootout among nine candidates, all below the age of 16, who were tested for their physical and mental capabilities over the course of two days in Geneva before pitting them against each other in a track competition.
At the end of the process, the jury – consisting of commission president Michèle Mouton (a former WRC runner-up); two-time WTCC champ Yvan Muller and his karting-champion sister Cathy; and CIK-FIA executive secretary Vincent Caro – selected Lucile Cypriano, 15, of France. As a result, she'll receive a fully funded ride in the 2011 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, where she'll face off against 50 contenders, each representing a different country, on her climb up the motorsport ladder. Follow the jump for the full press release.
Young Female Karter Wins Funded Drive
Fifteen-year-old Lucile Cypriano has been selected by representatives of the CIK-FIA and Women & Motor Sport Commission to receive a funded drive in the 2011 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. Lucile, from France, won this opportunity following a two-day shoot-out against eight other young karters vying for a drive in this low-cost educational formula.
Lucile Cypriano said: "I am obviously delighted to have won this selection. I have learnt many things and being able to receive the advice of Cathy and Yvan Muller was a privilege. They are so experienced with karts and cars; they are enthusiasts and enjoy sharing their knowledge. I wish to thank the Women & Motor Sport Commission and the CIK-FIA for having implemented this selection and for enabling me to compete this season in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. I look forward to starting!"
Working in association with the FIA's National Sporting Authorities around the globe, nine aspiring female kart racers were invited to attend a two-day assessment process in Geneva, Switzerland. The youngsters, all 15 years of age or younger, were put through their paces both physically and mentally, taking part in activities designed to assess their movement, agility and reflexes, the reaction of their bodies to stress, as well as their knowledge of karting history and sporting regulations. The second day the young karters took to the wheel at the Scientrier circuit to demonstrate their speed and racing ability.
The jury - which among others included Commission President and former vice FIA World Rally Champion Michèle Mouton, 1986 Karting Champion of Europe and double World Champion in the FIA World Touring Car Championship Yvan Muller, former European Kart Champion Cathy Muller, and Vincent Caro, Executive Secretary of the CIK-FIA - unanimously selected Lucile as the winner of the 2011 CIK-FIA shoot-out. Lucile had the honour of receiving her award from FIA President Jean Todt.
Michèle Mouton said: "Lucile displayed a high level of perseverance, agility and speed of reaction, as well as a great capacity for adaptation, concentration and stress management. She was also fastest on the track and we feel her potential for progression is considerable. The level of competition was high and we wish all these young karters success for the future."
The 2011 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy takes place over three races, in addition to the official pre-season test session in June. Following the success of the series, the entry has been increased from 34 to 51 karts this season, and each of the other 50 competitors will represent a different country, providing a truly international competition. All competitors will compete on equal terms in karts provided by the official equipment supplier.