WTCR celebrates International Women's Day
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO is celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March) by highlighting the work of just some of a growing number of female members of the WTCR / OSCARO community.
Sylvie Buzzighin, Timekeeper, ITS EVENTS
For Sylvie Buzzighin, timekeeping is not just a job but a passion as well, as Sébastien Mascret, her colleague and the WTCR’s chief timekeeper explains. “Sylvie started timekeeping on the French circuit for the FFSA events and it was during these events that I had the chance to meet her. I immediately saw her attention to detail and her professionalism. To be a timekeeper at this level of competition requires great rigour and absolutely no mistakes. Sylvie has all the qualities needed to be part of the team.”
Michela Cerruti, Operations Manager, Romeo Ferraris
A racing driver of note, Michela Cerruti is the linchpin of Romeo Ferraris, the organisation behind the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo entry in WTCR / OSCARO. “I take care of many aspects of both the road cars and the racing department,” Cerruti explains. “The main responsibility inside the second one is the relationship with customers before, during and after the sale of the cars, from searching the potential buyers, following the contractual part and, at the end, satisfying the customers’ needs and requests once the purchase has been completed. “I’ve never felt discriminated in this new role of mine, but when I was active as a race driver I have to admit that there were a few episodes where someone tried to make me feel uncomfortable because of my being a woman. I don’t blame anyone for that, the secret is simply to close your ears and show your value with results, whether this means to set a lap time, achieve a victory or complete a sale.” Cerruti’s advice to women wanting to follow her footsteps is simple: “Never think you cannot do it because of your gender, because it simply makes no sense. Whatever role you are aiming for, if you have the talent, the skills, the willpower and a properly built self-confidence, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it.”
Angélique Detavernier, Manager, Frédéric Vervisch
For 12 years Frédéric Vervisch has relied on the managerial expertise of Angélique Detavernier, a racer in her own right. “As a manager some people can just be subjective,” she says. “In those 12 years, I only had one person who kind of refused to negotiate with me because I am a woman. But I quickly learned he had the problem, not me. I would just tell other women looking to work in motorsport to have confidence because we can know as much about racing as men, we can be as strong, as persevering. But don’t underestimate it either, motorsport can be a hard world.”
Vera Herrmann, FIA Stewards’ Secretary
Vera Herrmann, who has more than six years of experience working in motorsport, combines running the Clio Cup Central Europe with her role as secretary to the FIA stewards in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. It’s a busy and vital function and one that requires a lot of organisation and attention to detail given the large amounts of paperwork generated during a race weekend.
Alexandra Legouix, FIA WTCR / OSCARO Pitlane Reporter and Presenter
Since 2014, Alexandra Legouix has been one of the voices of Eurosport’s live coverage of World Touring Car racing. Reporting from the pitlane and presenting TV and video content, Alex also helps to manage social media output, hosts any live content, runs the driver meet and greet sessions at the WTCR VIP Club and announces the podium. “Motorsport is losing its overly masculine image and so many more women are involved nowadays, which is fantastic,” Legouix says. “But I do still feel there is an element of demand on us to be able to stand our ground. So my advice would be to do your homework thoroughly, be happy to persevere and have confidence and self belief if you do come up against any doubters.”
Fiona Rees, FIA WTCR / OSCARO Teams Co-ordinator
“My role is extremely varied, planning before events and problem solving on-event to make sure everything runs smoothly,” says Fiona Rees. “Motorsport is very male-dominated and even with the increase of women across the sport, it is still viewed that way. My advice is to believe in yourself, stay focused, know your strengths and don’t give up.” In a 14-year career, which has included a stint in the FIA World Rally Championship, Rees has always strived to avoid being hindered in her daily work. “In my first race team role when I was younger there was some banter from the guys but I soon gave as good as I got and they realised I was here to stay! I have a good knowledge of the sport and am passionate about it. This has helped to get respect throughout the years and I don’t see myself as any different to the men in the industry. If I do feel hindered, I listen and learn to not let the situation arise again.”
Kathleen Tenaerts, Co-ordinator, Comtoyou Racing
With four drivers racing under the Comtoyou umbrella in WTCR / OSCARO, Kathleen Tenaerts is kept busy in her dual role of organising flights and hotels for team personnel, but also making sure the drivers carry out all their obligations on time. “I have always been respected and accepted in my team as a woman,” says Tenaerts. “We are all part of the same team, there is no difference. Women who want to work in the motorsport business should not be afraid to get started, people will respect you for what you are.”
The 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO begins at WTCR Race of Morocco in Marrakech from 5-7 April.