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More Than Equal launches Driver Development Programme

Six young female racing drivers aged between 13 and 14 have been selected by independent motorsport research organization More Than Equal for its inaugural Driver Development Programme, and attended the first training camp in Austria.


Ivonn Simeonova, Katrina Ee Wing Thung, Kristýna Kalistová, Lana Flack, Laura Bubenová and Skye Parker, More Than Equal Driver Development Programme
Photo credits: More Than Equal

Six young female racing drivers aged between 13 and 14 have been selected by independent motorsport research organization More Than Equal for its inaugural Driver Development Programme, following an extensive selection process.


The selected drivers have shown high promise in their respective competitions and will therefore be supported by More than Equal to maximise their potential via a specialized programme, designed with an Olympic-style approach to provide an age-appropriate high-performance environment.


The panel included More Than Equal driver coaches Jordan King and Sarah

Moore - former F2 and W Series drivers who have been working closely with the organization to establish the programme - and former British cycling coach Tom Stanton, whose experience in Olympic coaching programmes provided an important insight in the assessment.


Candidates were evaluated based on a range of criteria, including a proprietary global talent ranking system developed by the organization, which aims to compare data from drivers from different racing series - as well as drivers applications, which offered a glimpse of their personalities.


“This is just the beginning of a journey for this group and for our programme, and together we want to show that with the right support early in their career, we can accelerate the development of talented female drivers so that they can have an equal opportunity to reach the top of the sport", said Ali Donnelly, CEO at More than Equal.


THE DRIVERS

The inaugural six successful candidates identified are from six different countries and traveled to Saalfeden, Austria, to the Alex Wurz-created Wurz Test and Training Center, which hosted the first training camp in the last two days. They will continue their journey up the ranks of motor racing with the help of expert coaching - including from leading group Hintsa Performance, which will work on bespoke technical, physical and personal development programs.


Ivonn Simeonova, Katrina Ee Wing Thung, Kristýna Kalistová, Lana Flack, Laura Bubenová and Skye Parker will be part of the pioneering programme.


Simeonova, 13 from Austria, has international experience in the Rotax Max Challenge categories, in the Mini and Junior classes - and most recently competed in the FIA Academy Trophy.

"This is a huge step in my racing journey and I can't wait to get started and take all of you with me. Looking forward to working with the team at More Than Equal", she commented.


From Malaysia, Katrina Ee Wing Thung won't be a new name to followers of international karting either, as the young racer has been racing at top levels in the sport for the last few years, in series such as WSK Euro Series, the highly competitive Italian Karting Championship, Rotax Challenge and IAME Warriors. She is currently part of the Champions Of The Future Academy Program in the OK-N Junior class. A winner in the 2023 Rok Cup Asia, Katrina Ee is the only Asian driver selected.


"My main goal is to be a better driver and learn as much as possible by maximising their support", she said. "It’s truly amazing what More than Equal are doing for young girls, and being the only Asian driver selected, I’m honored to be representing my region!"

"I promise to give my all in this programme and I really can’t wait to get started!"


Czech racer Kristýna Kalistová was born into a rallying family and is keeping the tradition alive although on racetracks; Kristýna has raced at top level nationally and also entered international races, as well as participated in the F4 CEZ Academy, where she started testing the new generation Tatuus F4 car, impressing for her quick adaptability.


From Australia, Lana Flack was the first female driver to win a multi-round Australian karting championship since Leanne Tander over 25 years ago. The second-generation racer from Queensland is a two-time Ladies Trophy winner in the Australian Kart Championship and now looks forward to continuing her progress in the sport internationally.


Another driver to climb the ranks in Central Europe is Laura Bubenová, who raced in the Rotax Max Euro Trophy as well as in WSK Super Masters Series in the OK Junior class last year, as well as on home soil in the Slovak karting championship.

"I’m very thankful for this opportunity. I can’t wait what the next months bring", Bubenová wrote.


Skye Parker, 13 from the UK, has been karting since she was 4; she was NKF series Vice-Champion in 2020 and UKC Series Vice-Champion in 2021, then stepped up to the IAME X30 Junior category in 2023. The young British talent has also raced in the Rotax Max Euro Trophy, as well as in the uber competitive Champions of the Future series.


Alongside these six drivers, four more talents under the age of 13 have been identified - from Italy, Japan, Poland and the UK - and will join the More Than Equal Preparation Programme.

However, they will be further assessed before joining the full Driver Development Programme and will be supported through coaching and development support.


“Our drivers will benefit from a programme that has been designed with female athletes in

mind from the very start, when too often girls have had to navigate programmes and

systems in motorsport that were built entirely for boys", explained Donnelly. "Our programme will be highly relevant to young female drivers with potential, applying the latest in sports science to their age and gender.”


“By supporting emerging talent at a critical stage in their development with top-tier coaching, resources, and an evidence-based approach, this programme builds on our commitment to equality of opportunity and removing the barriers which have limited women in motorsport for decades" - Karel Komárek, co-founder of More Than Equal, concluded.


The initiative, which also sees former F1 driver David Coulthard as co-founder, produced a crucial study in 2023, titled ‘Inside Track’, which offered the first data-driven research on the challenges and barriers that girls and women face in motorsport. Its ultimate mission is to find and develop the first female F1 champion.

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