Even as an avid racing fan, Catherine Bond Muir is not a name you would have necessarily heard.
Bond Muir started her journey as a solicitor and financer but always wondered what was next. Today, she is the founder and CEO of the groundbreaking W Series.
Having experience in sport through her previous career, Bond Muir saw a gap in the market for women in motorsport. In an interview with Forbes Magazine in 2020, Bond Muir recalled the revelation in 2015 that first sparked W Series. “In the previous years, if you looked at the numbers of women who were racing in single-seater championships across the world, year on year, the numbers were diminishing,” said Bond Muir. “So I thought, ‘something had to be done.”
While it may have only started as a revelation, the gap that the entrepreneur noted quickly turned into an unstoppable idea and plan. She quickly raised the funding she would need and eventually had $30 million in investments, some drivers, and races booked for what we now know to be W Series. What’s different about the W Series and one of its key selling points is that it is a fully-funded opportunity to race and join the ladder to Formula 1 for deserving young women who may have missed out without it.
Since joining W Series, reigning and only champion to date, Jamie Chadwick has been given plenty of opportunities, racing in the likes of Extreme E, 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and F3 Asia. In addition to this, the young Brit was invited to join the Williams F1 driver academy. Another way that W Series has helped young women is with their funding. W Series veteran Sarah Moore would not have been able to compete in 2021 without the support of the series; her lack of funding as a result of Covid was at the point where she had to crowdfund to get her helmet. Racing may not have been possible for these women without Bond-Muir’s work.
As well as being the CEO of W Series, Bond Muir sits on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Motorsport UK. One of the key commitments of the committee is eliminating the barriers for underrepresented groups in motorsport. While this may take a long time to achieve, it can be argued that with more people like Bond Muir doing everything they can to support and boost those groups, we may achieve equality of inclusion in motorsport a lot sooner.
In the fundraising stage of W Series, Bond Muir battled criticism that there just wasn’t the need for her proposition and that no one watched women’s sport anyway. She made sure that she showed her investors what they were paying for and that there could be the same levels of entertainment from women racing as there were from men. The battle for the title in the first season was nothing short of that, with the championship finishing with only 10 points between Jamie and the inaugural runner-up, Beitske Visser.
Catherine Bond Muir is one of the key figures of equality in motorsport. If you didn’t know her name already, make sure you remember it, as she may be responsible for putting future world champions on the map.
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