Automobile racing has always been a predominantly male sport and this trend continues in its Esports counterpart. While women have been pushing their way into the industry for quite some time, it wasn’t until 2019 that the W series — a female-only racing championship — was established. Now McLaren Automotive is doing its part to break the gender barrier in esports racing.
“Within gaming, there’s a huge opportunity to bring more women into it and encourage more women to try their hand,” Lindsey Eckhouse, Director of Licensing Ecommerce & Esports at McLaren, told GiveMeSport Women. “And that’s where the McLaren Shadow Academy plays a really big role in terms of going out and trying to encourage underrepresented communities to test their hand at racing.”
The world of Esports continues to expand as more consumers turn to virtual competitive sports. Players, a new esports mockumentary following the exploits of a fictitious League of Legend team, is streaming now on Paramount+. Additionally, the first player-owned Esports Metaverse Arena was recently launched by ESTN.
Empowering Women in Esports
McLaren Shadow Studio is attempting to get women involved in simulation racing by raising awareness of the Esport. The company even held an event to promote the recent instalment of F1 Esports Women’s Wildcard, in which members of the media were able to try the company’s simulation rigs.
“The more that we can break down barriers for underrepresented communities more broadly — certainly, gender being one of them — to get into the sport, the better,” added Eckhouse. She is hopeful that empowering women in sim racing will lead to more female drivers becoming motorsport participants in the real world.
Only one F1 Esports Women’s Wildcard event has taken place in the past, with a woman known only as Rebecca winning the event in 2021. Women applied to the second F1 Esports Women’s Wildcard by submitting their best lap times at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.