The machismo world of motor sports has long seemed closed to women drivers. Despite no formal bar to entry, only 2 per cent of drivers who hold competitive motor sport licences in Britain are women.
"There is no discrimination in the sport so why not many ladies race is a bit of a mystery," said a spokesman for the RAC Motor Sports Association. "We do have one lady racing in Formula 3, but on a statistical basis there ought to be seven or eight of them," he added.
The RAC said the split among teenage boys and girls competing in karting was about 50/50, and it could not explain why girls gave up motor sports when they were older.