Today, March 8, is the International Women’s Day. An anniversary that every year also brings the spotlight back to gender equality, a goal still far away despite the progress made in recent years. This is true for many sectors, including motors, whether it is in the real world or in the digital one. To rekindle attention on this issue, Ford Italia launched the project The W Trackin partnership con Monza National Circuit e Race trim Of Kunos Simulations. Let’s see together what it is.
The W Track: Ford Italia rewrites the Monza circuit
It is a project with a symbolic meaning particularly effective. In Assetto Corsa, the famous sim racing title, Ford Italia has created a particular version of the iconic Monza Formula 1 circuit. One of the sections of the track, the one between the Variante Ascari and the iconic parabolic, has been completely modified, or rather rewritten. Instead of the classic straight, in fact, you will cross a series of complex curves which, seen from above, trace the words “woman”, as you can see in the image below.
It is not just a decoration, but it is a choice oriented to send a specific message. Just the tortuosity of that passage is to represent how often the road is complicated of a woman to achieve her goals. An original idea, which manages to strike the imagination very well, conveying a concept better than words can.
On the occasion of the presentation of the project, which took place ‘on the field’ at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, we had the opportunity to test the new circuit on board the simulator. Once we got to grips with those tight curves, which forced us to slow down, the message arrived loud and clear.
Especially since we could also have a direct feedbacksubsequently tackling the real circuit, driving the gorgeous Mustang Mach-E on the track. A particular test drive in which we were able to appreciate the recovery of this vehicle, unleashing it on the iconic Monza straights.
The commitment to move from words to deeds
The project The W Track it is a symbol, of course, but like all symbols it can have one not indifferent strength.
This is even more true if they are accompanied by an abstract concept concrete actions. And this is precisely the commitment made by Ford Italy that will accompany The W Track. Already today Fordzilla, the eSports team built on the company’s heritage in the real world tracks, is led by a woman, the captain Sara Stefanizzi (aka Kurolily). But this is only a first step, as he declares Fabrizio FaltoniPresident and CEO of Ford Italy:
“The fact that there is only one woman in Team Fordzilla is our fault. We know future pro-gamers are out there but we haven’t looked for them enough. It is clear that we have to do things differently. We cannot win the race without even starting it and for this reason we have decided to take to the track by organizing training days dedicated to women “.
This last stimulus translates into the project Ford W University, launched by the company alongside The W Track. It will be an initiative that will develop in the coming months, with several appointments dedicated to driving courses reserved for women. It will be possible to test yourself and learn the best approaches to both real and digital tracks, with the support of the team of drivers of the Ford Driving Universityas well as the best sim-racers of the scene.
The female presence in sim-racing is growing, but not yet representative
The presentation of the Ford Italia The W Track project was also an opportunity for a debate that would deepen and explain the current panorama in the eSports world, especially that related to engines. The round table included the aforementioned Fabrizio Faltoni by Ford Italia, Alessandra ZinnoGeneral Manager of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza (the only woman in the world to hold this position currently), Giuseppina Fusco ACI Vice President, Enrico FurnitureFounder of the Italian E-sports Observatory, Valerio PiersantiVice President Licensing and Partnerships Kunos Simulazioni e Letizia CaccavalePresident of the Council for Equal Opportunities of the Lombardy Regional Council.
The journalist moderated the speech Maria Latella, who guided the public through this analysis of the state of gender equality. Enrico Gelfi of OIES opened the discussion by presenting a research focused on the presence of women in eSports. And if it is true that this has risen in recent years, it stands out as still an effective level of parity has not been reached.
This despite Gelfi underlining how “the female side of eSports guarantees significant opportunities, especially on the marketing front. In summary: the space for companies that want to dare more and stand out by focusing on female gamers is there and it is important “.
Giuseppina Fusco of ACI underlined the under-representation in the sports field, not only digital:
“In the world of motor sport, however, there are still very few women. Suffice it to say that in 70 years of Formula 1 only five have driven a single-seater. Those who have competed in world competitions have become legendary, such as Michéle Mouton in rallies or Maria Teresa De Filippis and Lella Lombardi in F1 “.
The W Track: the commitment of Ford, Monza and Kunos
There was no shortage of comments from the three main companies involved in The W Track project. Alessandra Zinno of Autodromo Nazionale Monza told how at the base of everything there is a commonality of vision between the different actors:
“The partnership with Ford and Assetto Corsa stems from the harmony and unity of views between the three brands on these issues. Associating the name of two companies that have their core business in the automotive sector with a project of social relevance, not strictly anchored to track dynamics, can become a starting point for the future development of other shared proposals “.
To this was added the comment of Valerio Piersanti by Kunos Simulations:
“We have enthusiastically accepted Ford’s proposal to work on this project and thanks to the versatility of Assetto Corsa we have been able to give life to this virtual modification of the Monza racetrack. Our sim-racer community knows how to appreciate talent and passion regardless of gender and therefore we believe that the world of eSports can be an engaging way to break down barriers for the female world that have no reason to exist “.
Finally, he concludes Fabrizio Faltoni by Ford Italia:
“We are very proud to present The W Track, a project that transcends itself and launches a very strong message, aimed at promoting inclusiveness and gender equality, opening a universal gateway to one of the most competitive and fun worlds. always, that of eSports “.
A vision in line with the history of the company
It is right to underline, in closing, how the project is The W Track is not an exception in Ford’s corporate culture. In fact, the company has been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index drawn up by the well-known organization. A testament to Ford’s commitment to achieving the goal of becoming the most inclusive and diverse global company. For some time, this has resulted in an increase in women’s pay, to counter the well-known gender pay gap.
Not only that, but the idea is that of reduce additional obstacles that women often have to encounter in professional growth compared to men. A cultural challenge to straighten those winding curves we saw on the Monza circuit reviewed by The W Track. A difficult battle of course, but that it is important to fight, even beyond 8 March.