WTCR to launch "Female Driver Title"
Subject to at least 3 full-season female entrants, the World Touring Car Cup - WTCR will award the Female Driver Title from 2021.
Following some F4 championships, the FIA World Touring Car Cup - WTCR will recognize from 2021 the Female Driver Title, a competition within the overall classify that will award the highest ranked female entrant in the world's top TCR series.
The new Female Driver Title was approved by the World MotorSport Council on 17th December and will be launched in 2021 with a minimum 3 full-season female competitors in the series.
The eligible drivers will obviously score points for the overall classification as well.
While no female drivers contested the 2020 WTCR season, a significant number of competitive women are moving up the ranks of the national and international TCR championships.
23 year old Swede Jessica Bäckman is among the most successful racers targeting a WTCR seat: "Right now, my goal is to go to WTCR in a few years, that's my goal." - she had told us in an 2019 interview.
Bäckman, a Hyundai Junior driver, was the first female competitor to score a podium in the European-based TCR championship in 2019, when she finished 3rd in Hockenheim. She would repeat the result in a guest appearance in the ADAC TCR Germany championship on the same track and at Anderstorp in the Scandinavian TCR.
Racing for Target Competition alongside her brother Andreas, Jessica endured a more unlucky second season in TCR Europe, but showed more promising pace and progress.
“My ambition is to get to the World Touring Car Cup and be a professional driver." - she said. "That’s my dream in a few years. It’s hard to get there but to get there I need to get good positions in TCR Europe and then show I belong in WTCR."
“What I like about this sport is that you actually can drive with women and men against each other. There are not so many sports where you can do it and I feel I have the potential to succeed as much as a man does.”
The 2020 season of TCR Europe also saw Michelle Halder joining the field at the season opener in Le Castellet after a late switch from the German series.
21 year old from Germany, Michelle made history at the second round at Zolder, when the young lady took an outstanding victory for her family-run ProfiCar Team Halder.
Halder became the first woman to win a race in the championship after she had already proved her skills in the ADAC championship by winning two races.
While Bäckman and Halder might be the closest competitors to WTCR levels, more and more young women are climbing the TCR ladder.
Race winner Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky has been a constant presence in the Scandinavian TCR top-5, just as Rio Shimono made headlines for winning her first race in the Japanese TCR earlier this month. 18-year old Francesca Raffaele also made her TCR Italy debut in 2020 with notable results, while the postponed 2020 Australian TCR season should have featured Alexandra Whitley and Chelsea Angelo on the grid.
Michela Cerruti and Anett György were the latest female entries in the International TCR Series in 2017, while German racing star Sabine Schmitz was the last female point scorer in 2016, in the formerly named WTCC championship.