Twelve women drivers who completed their training in the Mazda Women in Motorsport Project 2015 (MWIM) will have their race debut at the Mazda Fan Endurance Race, which will be held at the Autopolis in Oita Prefecture on July 19.
MWIM started as a project to support the activities of “Women in Motorsports,” a theme proposed by FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de lâ€™Automobile (FIA) and Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). It also promotes the “Activities of Women in Motorsports” together with Keiko Ihara, FIA’s Asian representative committee member.
An eight-day training was performed at Mazda’s Mine Proving Ground in Yamaguchi Prefecture since April 2015. After the final training on July 4 to 5, 25 female drivers have graduated from the first step. At first, five people were set to debut towards the second step where they will participate in a practice race. However, the growth of MWIM training participants was remarkable that they decided to debut three teams, with a total of 12 people.
Enami Kitahira (21), a champion at a cart national tournament, Yumiko Sekizaki (30) who recorded the fastest time in the final training, Marie Iwaoka (21) and Yukari Otakara (19), both college students, were chosen for Mazda WIM Selection Team.
Megumi Tsujita (42) who worked as an official at the Tsukuba circuit, Yumi Hoshi (36) who served as a chief priest in Ishikawa Prefecture, Naoko Inose (26) who cheered during Ihara’s participation in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Akiyo Sato (38) who owns a Roadster car, were chosen for Mazda WIM Housewife Team.
Tomoyo Uryu (27), an active model, Eri Okumura (30), an idol, Megumi Ohashi (39) who has two sons, and Saori Murazato (37) will participate as the Mazda WIM Model Team.
MIWM Project Leader Ihara said, “Because we have a common goal that we want to make happen in our lives through the joy in driving, all members really get along and are looking forward to the race, regardless of age, status, and careers. We want to show the results of our training in the race.”
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)