This past Monday a selection of women from all over New Zealand were invited to attend an exclusive Lexus Women’s Day at Hampton Downs Race track. When I found out I would be attending this day a flurry of conflicting emotions ran through me from “wow this is an amazing opportunity”, to “wow, I hope I don’t die in a fiery crash”.
I became a fully licensed driver back in 2015 but I wouldn’t say I’m the most confident of drivers – there was the time I wrote off my car at an intersection, the multiple times I’ve hit into curbs, and my trusty Suzuki Swift still has a mark from the time I hit a pole in a car park building, so the thought of being trusted to drive an expensive car like a Lexus was definitely a bit daunting.
This event was the first of its kind for Lexus, who usually kept their events co-ed. The reasoning behind the introduction of this day was due to two key factors: firstly the turn out of women to their usual events was quite small, and secondly they found the way women drive and take part in the activities differed to the men.
The general consensus seemed to be that in general men were less likely to listen to instruction and would want to drive VERY fast around the track whereas women were a bit more reserved when it came to the activities of the day. While i’m not sure if I personally believe this to be true there was something nice about spending the day just hanging out and driving with other women.
Before lunch we spent the morning familiarising ourselves with the track and the cars by taking part in a range of activities. We practiced cornering, did a timed slalom course around cones and practiced emergency braking at both 50 km/h and 100 km/h.
While I don’t necessarily consider myself a “car person”, the cars we got to drive were BEAUTIFUL and I have nothing but good things to say about the way they drove. During the morning activities one thing became very clear to me – a lot of stereotypes about women drivers society has are absolutely unfounded. I witnessed some truly amazing driving skills from women who had never done anything like this before and for the most part there wasn’t much of a lack in confidence.
By the time the afternoon rolled around any nerves I’d had when I arrived that morning were completely gone – we had the chance to drive and passenger in a wide array of different Lexus models and drive them around the track. There was something very liberating about being able to drive really really fast around a race track and while it’s not something you can apply to every day driving many of the things I learned and experienced during that day were.
I think the day proved to me but the myth of the “woman driver” is just that, a myth. From what I saw women were just as capable as any man when it came down to driving. I left Hampton Downs with a greater sense of confidence in my own driving and I now have a renewed level of excitement when it comes to driving and cars and yes, I do miss the feeling of driving a Lexus already…
Image Credits: Bruce Jenkins