The tradition of grid girls no longer has a place in the WEC.
On the grid for a World Endurance Championship event, fans are likely to see drivers, crew members, TV personalities, and of course, some amazing looking race cars all shined up and ready to do battle. Another trademark of the pre-race grid is the scantily-clad and sometimes provocatively dressed women who stand in front of said cars.
In 2015, these women will be absent from the grid as the FIA-run WEC takes a stand against the controversial tradition. Grid girls have are just another aspect of pre-race festivities to many race fans, a fixture in many forms of motorsport, especially those based in Europe. To others, their only purpose appears to look pretty, which society fears is sending the wrong message to the younger generations.
An unwanted stereotype
No matter your stance, the incontrovertible truth is that their presence adds a solid base to the unwanted stereotype that auto racing is a sport for men alone and the erroneous idea that any women present are there simply as eye candy. That doesn't bode well as racing desperately tries to reel in new audiences. With females holding more prominent and important roles throughout the world of motorsport, it's been tacitly understood that this tradition doesn't have a place in racing for much longer anyway.
Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro, Susie Wolff, Carmen Jorda, and Cyndie Allemann are just a few women drivers making their mark behind the wheel, a number expected only to grow. At the pinnacle of motorsport in Formula One, we even have a female team boss through Monisha Kaltenborn of Sauber.
The discussion regarding grid girls has many arms and legs (no pun intended). The outrage centers around the blatant objectifying of women and that sexism is alive and well in racing. At the other end of the spectrum, the supportive contingent calls it a harmless tradition that gives more opportunities for females looking to break into the industry and entertainment to those attending. Grid girls can be seen sporting sponsor logos and taking pictures with fans, sometimes garnering more attention than the racers themselves. Detractors simply call it backwards.
Give us your thoughts ... Have grid girls out-lived their usefulness or is the WEC's dissolution of the tradition entirely arbitrary?