Silvia Bellot, the assistant team manager for Carlin’s NTT IndyCar Series program, believes there should be more women working in the sport, and she is doing something about it.
At last weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto, Bellot helped host a group of Girl Guides -- Canada's version of Girl Scouts. Her message was driven less about race car drivers and more about other opportunities that exist in the IndyCar paddock.
“There are opportunities to be engineers, marshals, officials and publicists, too,” the Barcelona native said. “Not everyone has the skills or the budget to be a race car driver, so people need to know there are many, many options available.
“We’re trying to show the role models that already exist but might be less obvious.”
To that end, Bellot created interactive storyboards illustrating the various positions women hold in the NTT IndyCar Series, including chief engineer (Cara Adams of Firestone), race engineer (Danielle Shepard and Kate Gundlach of Chip Ganassi Racing), AMR Safety Team (Gail Truess), broadcaster (Katie Hargitt), nurse (Laura Stasila and Denise Titus) and of course drivers (Danica Patrick and Pippa Mann).
Other storyboards Bellott created offer an introductory look at the sport, including basic car construction and flag meanings.
“These aren’t very complicated (storyboards), but they are helpful for people getting their first exposure to how motorsports works,” she said.
Bellot believes the point of entry to the sport often comes through the interest of parents. In her case, her father managed a rally team and worked as a race official. Because of the connection, she got her first “working” experience in motorsport when she was just 13 – she was a runner distributing documents between race control, the stewards and the competitors at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. At 16 she took the exam to become a flag marshal and within two years she became a steward. She joined Carlin’s NTT IndyCar Series program at the beginning of the 2018 season.
None of the girls in Toronto had such a connection, which made the day at the track enlightening.
“One of the girls even cried because she was so excited to be here,” she said.