Former F1 test driver Susie Wolff is set to launch a new programme to support females in motorsport at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park later this month.
Wolff, test driver with the Williams F1 team from 2012-15, will launch her ‘Dare to be Different’ programme in Australia in conjunction with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport.
“It’s a collaboration between Dare to be Different and CAMS,” Wolff told drive.com.au at the Geneva motor show. “They’re very excited and enthusiastic about the project and have great hopes.”
The Dare to be Different programme, essentially an expansion of Wolff's existing European scheme, aims to help connect females interested in getting involved in the sport with teams or events, in addition to helping provide school-aged girls with access to local kart tracks to experience driving.
Wolff is now retired from racing, but competed at a high level in her career, which included several seasons as a factory driver in the German equivalent of the Australian Supercars Championship, the DTM series. She says a programme like Dare to be Different would have made a significant difference to her own career development in the early years.
“I never had someone I could reference against. Someone I could look up to and say ‘she did this, I can learn [from her]’. I think women who are in the position to help other women and pass the baton on have a moral obligation to do that, that’s my belief. Because if you want to change something and break down barriers it’s not going to happen by itself.”
Dare to be Different ambassadors include Williams F1 Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams and recently announced Alfa Romeo-Sauber F1 test driver Tatiana Calderon. Locally, former Australian rally champion and factory Subaru driver Molly Taylor and Nissan Supercars driver Simona de Silvestro will be involved in the programme.