A couple of months ago I received a request from a scholar in the UK to contribute a chapter on the history and politics of women and motorsports for an upcoming book on motor racing. Although I am neither a historian nor an expert on motorsports, I decided to take on the challenge. As the first step in becoming more familiar with the motorsports literature, I decided to attend the Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History held at the infamous racetrack at Watkins Glen, New York. It was an informative and interesting couple of days, where I had the opportunity to observe a number of engaging and thought-provoking presentations, pick up some new ideas for research and resources, and connect with scholars in the field. I also spent a little time at the International Motor Racing Research Center which allowed me to get a brief start on my research. The site of the conference on the Watkins Glen International racetrack – and the ride there from my hotel on very hilly and somewhat snowy roads – gave me a little feel of the area and its auto racing history. I came home impressed and somewhat intimidated by motorsports scholars, and inspired to get started on my project.
Are you a fan of motorsports? Do you follow women racers? What do you feel are the pros and cons of women-only racing?