home Motorsport Casey Price: the MINI Girl Racer driving change in motorsport

Casey Price: the MINI Girl Racer driving change in motorsport

Racing Pride and FIA Girls on Track Ambassador Casey Price is using her experiences in motorsport to ensure all are welcome in racing.

Casey Price, the MINI Girl Racer. Image sourced: http://minigirlracer.com.au

Casey Price is a force to be reckoned with in racing as one of Australian motorsport’s most influential women with ambassador roles for Racing Pride and FIA Girls on Track. She is also a Motorsport Australia FIA Champion Ambassador & heads the Pride in Motorsport program in Tasmania. Price competes in Tarmac Rally Driving and circuit racing, racing multiple MINIs and also owns the world’s largest GP collection. An extremely rare feat for a woman in the field building and maintaining both modern and historic cars in such a large collection all on her own.

With all that experience under her racing belt, Price still recalls vividly her first rally race, a one-day taster tour of Tasmania’s Targa six-day rally event when she was twenty-one.

Price was excited. She’d fallen in love with MINIs and took up the chance to give racing a go by dipping her toe in the one-day event of Targa. She’d been learning from a friend how to read pace notes, write and interpret them. Pace notes are essential for navigation throughout the race. She’d learned how to use RallySafe, the world’s most advanced rally management system. And she’d started building her race car.

“I didn’t have a race car at this stage. I was building one. I hadn’t gone into the full race stage yet. But everything was building towards that in the education around—how do you actually do these events? How do you interpret pace notes? So I was being taught that stuff.”

Price went on this first race outing with her dad and remembers waking super early and shivering in the pitch-black morning air, anxiously awaiting the race.

“I’ll never forget how I was treated.”

Price reflects on at first being quite welcomed by the other racers and when discussing the order and who was most experienced to lead. The group elected Price.

“They said, ‘you’ve got pace notes, and you can tap the brakes to warn us if there’s something we should really slow down for and be cautious of’ and I went ‘yep, absolutely no worries. Happy to do that’.”

Price was ready to go when another driver arrived. He threw down his authority and despite the group’s decision to follow Price, the late arrival told Price to go to the back.

“He pointed at me across the crowd and shouted, ‘you’re going to the back’. And I was just really dumbfounded.

“And so we got into our cars and by this point, I was dishevelled. I felt belittled. But I was still kind of like, not really sure how to take it. So I got in the car, Dad on the other side, we both went, ‘did that seem sexist to you? Did that seem odd?’. But Dad was like ‘no, no, it’s okay. Just don’t worry about it. Dad’s always the positive person.”

Price went on racing but this guy was unrelenting. When she naturally overtook cars who were pulling out or experiencing issues, he continued to shout at her to get back at every stop. When he had to retire himself and get another car, he still shouted at her at the end of the race.

“It left an extremely bitter taste in my mouth, but I thought, I’m going to sign up next year and do the full six-day tour. I’ve never ever done a tour but I went right, I’m going to prove him wrong. I’m going to build a race car, I’m going to enter competitive, and he can suck it.”

Price reported the behaviour and received an apology from management of the Targa Tour, but she was determined to do more to change the landscape for women in motorsport.

“It was just like, the worst experience in my life. And I can’t believe it happened at a Targa level.”

Driving change

Now Price is one of the biggest names in rally racing that women can look to, and she never wants anyone to have an experience like she did coming into the sport. Through all her ambassador roles and her visibility in the space as a driver, as well as a manager of a premium car dealership, she’s breaking down stereotypes of women and gender diverse people in racing.

“I’m constantly proving myself, particularly with older male customers who ask for ‘a bloke’ or assume I’m a waiter to take their coffee order whilst dealing with one of our male sales assistants. My subordinate employees usually are fast to jovially say “well she actually races cars and knows more than I do!’.”

Price also knows the value of having that safe access point into the sport, something she didn’t get to experience at her first time at Targa, but has had noting but positive experiences since. Price has now competed in competition category for thee years and won her class. 

“It’s my favourite event of the year and I can’t wait to go back next year.

“If someone wants to reach out to me and go, ‘hey, I want to do this, I want to go to a Tasmanian motorsport event, would you come with me for the first time?’, I would do that.

“And you can attend an event with me and see what it’s like, dip your toe in, you know, it’s not for everyone at the end of the day, but in motorsport, there are so many different rewarding careers. You could literally go to the Formula One, you could be in Indy Supercar racing, you could be in so many different platforms. And it’s not necessarily as a driver, you might want to make the next hydrogen cell racing car, you could be an engineer, you could be anything, so and I think the biggest thing is just having a go, and being able to actually attend.”

For Price, getting more women and gender diverse people into motorsport is important to continue to see more visible role models across many roles and also signal to fans that this is a space they can come to.

It is why Price was also excited to see the world’s first Pride Hub at a Formula One Grand Prix over the weekend at the Australian F1 GP in Melbourne, particularly as an ambassador for Racing Pride.

“The biggest thing about the Pride Hub is that they are doing top-down process, and that is intelligent, that’s something that a leader has to push and has to try and culturally change what is expected. And the reality is, if you push far enough, people are either going to realise your values align, get on board or get out. There is nowhere those people can fit in the grey area of kind of homophobic, kind of not. So eventually, they’ll either be comfortable with it, or they just won’t be comfortable with it.”

Seeing the governing bodies like Motorsport Australia partner with Racing Pride and Proud 2 Play demonstrates to Price that there is genuine intention to change the culture and signal safety to the LGBTQIA+ community in a space that hasn’t always felt very safe.

Price also looks forward to more visible actions, like adding drivers’ pronouns to their names on their cars and working within the industry to provide education around gendered language and stereotypes.

“The most commonly asked question I get is, ‘did your dad race?’, you see—it always must come from a male dominated area in your life. So the next question I get is, ‘does your husband race?’ And I’m like, ‘absolutely not! And you wouldn’t want them driving your normal car!”

Additionally frustrating for Price is then the assumption that she is married to a man which she navigates often.

“And then I’m stuck in a battle of going ‘she’, [to correct people] because that’s not how my partner identifies as, right. So then I say, ‘well, they do this, they do that’, and [people] are too uneducated and not paying attention to what I’m saying to understand why I’m saying ‘they are doing this, they are doing that’.

“It’s not because I’m trying to be cryptic, but that’s how they identify. So I find that a real struggle.”

Price is continuing to drive these conversations forward, as well as continuing to drive competitively in her beloved MINIs, to chase her racing dreams and ensure more women and gender diverse people also have access to drive towards theirs.

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