Holden chases female Supercars driver

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/03/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Holden is currently exploring ways to get a female driver into its Supercars program.

The manufacturer is keen to follow in the footsteps of Nissan, which secured Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro to a three-year deal from 2017.

Holden marketing director Mark Harland says the brand, which is also sponsoring womens' AFL and NRL programs, is eager to promote opportunities for females in motorsport.

The most likely pathway for a female into a Holden Supercars seat is through the SuperUte Series, where it also has factory involvement.

Holden is known to have shown interest in getting Australian Rally Championship star Molly Taylor into the class, but her factory Subaru deal has proven a sticking point.

“We’ve had a few chats with a couple of teams to see what we can do to bring a female up through the ranks, but there’s nothing to confirm yet,” Harland told Supercars.com.

“We’re looking at SuperUtes as a great way to develop some drivers. If we have someone like Simona, who is at that Supercar level, then absolutely we would do that [put them straight into Supercars].

“If that’s not possible, because there are only a few people capable of that, then bringing someone up and developing someone like our 15-year-old [Tomas Gasperak] through SuperUtes is a great way to do that as well.”

GasperakSuperUteThursdayGasperak's Colorado SuperUte is run by Charlie Schwerkolt's Team 18 Supercars outfit

Harland says Holden has looked at the impact De Silvestro has had and believes increasing female involvement will help bring new fans to the sport.

“We’ve looked at that and it’s something that we want to do because it does bring in some new people,” he said.

“Quite frankly from our CEO down, our CEO is Mary Barra, who has an engineering background, so our company GM as a whole, not just Holden, is really intent on developing female engineers and drivers.

“Through the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] program, I’ve been talking to the guys at CAMS about what we can to support them on their program.

“Bringing females through the ranks – drivers, engineers, things like that – is good.

“We want to find that balance, but at the end of the day, whoever is in the car on any given weekend, that’s who we’re supporting.

“I think you’ve got to look at how you can develop young people and women and bring them into the sport.

“That’s not only good for Holden, but it’s good for Supercars as well.”

Former IndyCar driver De Silvestro drove Supercars-backed Bathurst wildcards in 2015 and ’16 before moving to Supercars full-time last year.

The first female to race full-time in the ATCC/Supercars Championship in almost 40 years, De Silvestro’s entry has been backed by Supercars and retail giant Harvey Norman.

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