The recently unveiled “Women Empowered” initiative from TrueCar, Inc., which provides sponsorship to six female racers at various levels of North American motorsport, includes five drivers with strong ties to the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Katherine Legge, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear driver Ashley Freiberg, Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda racer Shannon McIntosh, Pirelli World Challenge Championships driver Shea Holbrook and Rally American Series driver Verena Mei are associated with the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation established by Lyn St. James to help women achieve their goals in motorsports.
“I want to congratulate TrueCar, Inc. for creating this remarkable motorsports campaign with its sponsorship of six women racers in six different professional racing series,” said St. James, the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “After watching so many women racers struggle to secure funding just to get in a race car, now these drivers know they have the support to run a full season with proper race teams, which is history making. Too often, women drivers are only able to secure short term deals, and generally aren’t funded well enough to have a competitive effort.”
Appropriately, the new program launched in March, which is “Women’s History Month.” McIntosh opened her 2012 season at Sebring International Raceway on March 13-17, while Legge, Holbrook and Freiberg opened their respective seasons last weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. All six of the “Women Empowered” drivers, which also includes SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup Series driver Emilee Tominovich, participated in a meet-and-greet and autograph session during the weekend at St. Pete.
Three of the drivers – Freiberg, McIntosh and Holbrook – are graduates of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation’s Complete Driver Academy, which is the most comprehensive educational and training program of its kind for talented women race drivers who aspire to the professional levels of motorsports. The Academy’s two-fold purpose is to identify potential champion women drivers who have demonstrated success on the track and have a desire to pursue a career in professional motorsports; and create an experience that will provide the tools to further women drivers’ careers in motorsports as well as enhance their lives on and off the track.
“It’s ironic how things turn full circle,” said Holbrook, who claimed her first World Challenge victory last year at Long Beach. “At the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, I was talking to a group of kids about how important it is for anybody in any profession to find confidence, knowledge about the industry, have an elevator speech, and business cards! All of those things I learned at Lyn’s Women in the Winners Circle development program. Lyn’s program helped give me the foundation I have today. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today nor would I have accomplished everything I have so far. Having passion and perseverance really does go a long way. I feel very fortunate to have Lyn as a mentor and friend.”
Freiberg, McIntosh, Holbrook, Mei and Legge have all been featured at the annual Women in the Winner’s Circle awards celebration, and Legge, Freiberg and McIntosh are featured in the organization’s traveling exhibit. St. James and Legge, who is driving the TrueCar Lotus/Dallara for Dragon Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, have a relationship that dates back to Legge’s earliest efforts to launch a racing career in North America.
“Lyn has been an inspiration and a role model for myself and many other young drivers both male and female,” Legge said. “She has opened many doors before us and continues to help and support the up and coming young talent in the racing arena. She was the first person I called when I came to the USA and is still the first I call when I need guidance. She is a rock star!”
McIntosh and Legge are back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, while Holbrook’s next event is a tripleheader at Miller Motorsports Park on April 27-29. Mei returns to action at the Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, Ore. on May 4-6, and Freiberg’s next event is the prestigious “Night Before the 500″ at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis on May 26.
“I look forward to watching them as the season progresses,” St. James concluded. “I know they’ve worked hard and are prepared for the challenges ahead. Without having this opportunity, they know they might be watching from the sidelines, or just struggling to get on the racetrack.”