Autocar India and Ford team up for the second edition of #SheDrives – a first of its kind programme giving women the chance to hone their skills and drive like a pro.
Motoring events are high up on every true blue automotive aficionado's wish list, as they present a chance to live the passion that drives them. Sadly, they don’t see enough participation from women. This begged us to question - Why should boys have all the fun? Can’t women manoeuvre a car around a track equally well? Who is to say they aren’t as good as their male counterparts when it comes to driving too? To put this to rest, Autocar India teamed up with Ford to organise #SheDrives – a first of its kind pro driving school for women. And to help the ladies get in touch with their inner petrolheads, we had Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, Gaurav Gill as driver coach for the day. With the first event in Mumbai being a resounding success, this time around, the bandwagon moved to Delhi-NCR to give women another go at driving like pros.
The second edition of the #SheDrives event was held on March 30 and 31 in Gurugram and saw participation from over 120 women from all walks of life. To show them advanced driving techniques, an autocross track consisting of fast straights, tight corners, chicanes and the works was especially carved out. The morning began with ace rally car driver, Gill, taking each of the participants on a sighting lap in a completely stock Ford Freestyle, acquainting them with various portions of the track. This was followed by an all-out hot lap which showed them what it would mean to drive on the edge. All women were then given a chance to go around the dirt track themselves and were timed.
Having set a benchmark, the participants were moved to a slalom course where they practised various skills like tackling corners on dirt, dealing with understeer and oversteer and using the handbrake to go sideways (in a controlled manner, obviously!). Finally, the ladies were given another shot at a timed lap to see if they could shave crucial seconds off their time.
With practice over, the participants put the pedal to the metal. They could be seen discussing stuff like right lines around the race track, acceleration and braking with the instructors to wring the most out of their cars. And the results, should you ask? They managed to outperform their previous selves, that too by a considerable margin. Some left even the instructors highly impressed, which is no small feat. According to Gill, the time spent on the circuit was not just about fun. “The new insights into driving techniques will also help the participants become better and safer drivers on the road, and that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.
By the day’s end, there were plenty of grinning faces. The participants felt that the very concept of an “all women’s driving program” had made them feel more comfortable about signing up for such an event. Some had such a blast that they showed up again the second day, just to have another chance at bettering their lap times. Renuka Kirpalani, Editor of the Autocar India show, said “It was great to see the ladies become more confident and faster over the course of the program. And the smiling faces made it more gratifying still.”
With two successful iterations wrapped up, the #SheDrives pro driving school will soon move to another city. Keep your eyes peeled for further information.