UK-based organization Racing Pride, which aims to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion through motorsport, has expanded into North America with a series of new ambassadors and partners across the sport.
The first five North American drivers to serve as ambassadors for the group are NASCAR/ARCA Menards drivers Devon Rouse and Zach Herrin; New York-based drag racer Travis Shumake, Canadian pro drift racer and stunt driver Zandara Kennedy and and two-time Pirelli World Challenge champion Tom O’Gorman. They will be joined by two additional North American Industry Ambassadors: Ryan Hines, Senior Public Relations Manager at David Gilliland Racing, and Jameson Jones who is an experienced flag marshal for club and pro events across North America as well as internationally.
The first group of North American partner organizations includes You Can Play, Athlete Ally, GRIDLIFE, FCP Euro, and Out Motorsports.
“Since we started Racing Pride there has been a lot of interest and support from North America,” said Richard Morris (main image), Racing Pride Co-Founder & Driver Ambassador.
“I’m absolutely delighted that we are now able to launch this expansion of Racing Pride with a terrific line-up of inspiring ambassadors and carefully selected partners who both believe in and will be able to further our core mission to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusion through motorsport from grass roots to elite professional level internationally.”
Racing Pride launched in 2019, and works with and individuals across motorsport from grassroots to elite level. The movement has expanded rapidly to encompass a strong cohort of European ambassadors, and in June 2021 publicly partnered with Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team. Since then Racing Pride has worked extensively with this team and others in Formula One, providing workshops, guidance, and resources around LGBTQ+ inclusion, and the 2021 Formula One season included displays of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community at multiple Grand Prix events.
You Can Play has an existing association with NASCAR. Racing Pride will work with You Can Play to enhance its training provision around LGBTQ+ inclusion to racing leagues and sports, as well as various other collaborations, bringing sport-specific knowledge and experiences from Racing Pride’s range of ambassadors
Racing Pride’s pro driver ambassadors from both Europe and North America will also become ambassadors for Athlete Ally; joining with other professional athletes, Olympians and Paralympians from across sports to advocate for LGBTQI+ inclusion. Athlete Ally works extensively with students and has more than 45 Campus Chapters across the USA. Racing Pride will help Athlete Ally to engage with these students in new ways, speaking directly to those with interests in motorsport and automotive technology.
“Athlete Ally is proud to partner with Racing Pride to further our joint missions of championing LGBTQI+ inclusion in and through sport, and particularly in motorsport,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally.
“By expanding our network of Athlete Ally Ambassadors in motorsport and providing support to the next generation of motorsport athletes, we are working together to ensure that more motorsport athletes can be celebrated for who they are, and that more allies are inspired to speak out for inclusion.”
GRIDLIFE operates a series of motorsport events and festivals across North America which combine on-track competition across disciplines with an accessible celebration of car culture. These events are grounded in the principle of inclusion at every level and so GRIDLIFE are natural partners in promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion. Racing Pride ambassadors Zandara Kennedy and Tom O’Gorman will compete at a number of these events while GRIDLIFE and Racing Pride will collaborate across a range of online and real-world activities to actively celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Auto parts business FCP Euro and its race team FCP Euro Motorsports will also support Racing Pride as partners and will host Racing Pride at events at the company headquarters and Lime Rock Park circuit in Connecticut, as well as supporting and giving visibility to Racing Pride through its motorsport program and social media channels.
Meanwhile, Out Motorsports – a membership group for LGBTQ+ amateur racers and auto enthusiasts which organizes road rallies, track day events, and virtual chat sessions – will be a grass roots auto community partner in North America, holding shared online events with Racing Pride as well as inclusive events for LGBTQ+ people and allies.
The new ambassadors, together with these strategic partnerships, will give Racing Pride and its positive message of inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community an impactful presence at events spanning North America and across multiple disciplines. Combined with Racing Pride’s existing European network, this announcement represents a major step in creating a global LGBTQ+ movement in motorsport and its associated industries.