Grace Autosport focuses on Plan to Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016 …

Posted: August 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
Beth Paretta and Katherine Legge at Indianapolis MotorSpeedway - Photo by Michael C. Johnson for motorsports.com

Beth Paretta and Katherine Legge at Indianapolis MotorSpeedway – Photo by Michael C. Johnson for motorsports.com

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The Indianapolis 500 has seen nine different women compete as drivers, but an initiative announced im May at IMS would see participation expanded in 2016 to the first all-female team focused on drawing women into all areas of the sport.

Grace Autosport is the brainchild of Beth Paretta, former marketing director for SRT Motorsports/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

She has formed a core group that includes driver Katherine Legge, a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter, aerodynamicist Catherine Crawford, motorsports engineer Lauren Elkins, junior design engineer Jessica Rowe and motorsports public relations veteran Barbara Burns.

“This is a very visible campaign for women’s empowerment,” said Paretta. “Motor racing is one of the few sports where men and women can compete side by side and win.”

The initial plan, Paretta said, is to have the team ready to race in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2016. Longer-term goals include a full-season entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series and eventual expansion into other forms of motorsports.

Just as important, Legge added, is developing a path for young women interested in any area of motorsports – driving, engineering, mechanics, management and more. Legge has been a proponent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of the USA.

“What we’re trying to do is make it a positive thing, get rid of the stigma of being a woman in motorsport and make it something that everybody is very proud of,” Legge said. “It’s going to be very successful. So I’m very much looking forward to the challenge to seeing it from the beginning, from an idea, kind of turn out and bloom into something very special.”

SpeedwaySightingsNote: Although I’ve been tracking this story since their press conference in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I’ve chosen not to write a full story about this newly formed race team till after the season. Reason being that I didn’t want the story to be lost in the myriad of racing news that emanates during the course of the season. The foundation of this organization is built on dynamic business leaders and racers. This is a compelling story and with the team’s focus on STEM – Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics, it’s going to be a terrific story to follow right through the Month of May at Indianapolis in 2016.

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