The Mazda Formula Woman partnership, heralding the first ever all-woman race series, will be aired on ITV1 this summer. The series will see 16 women compete in a 10-race Championship driving Mazda’s all new rotary-engined sports coupé, the Mazda RX-8.
Following the launch last January over 10,000 women applied to take part. From the initial application 2,400 were selected to undertake gruelling assessments at tracks across the UK, which included track driving in Mazda MX-5 roadsters, media interviews and fitness tests. From these assessments 50 successful applicants have gone through to the next round.
These 50 will now be put through an intensive elimination week where rigorous tests, including driving, fitness, personality and presentational skills, will decide who makes the final 16, plus two reserves. The elimination week will also provide the lucky finalists with the first opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Mazda RX-8. All 16 contestants, including the two reserves, will undergo intensive driver training in preparation for the race series due to kick off on 23 May.
The well-known TV motoring correspondent, Vicky Butler-Henderson will present the ITV1 series, kicking off with a one-hour launch programme that will cover the initial assessments, selection of the 50 girls and the process of elimination from 50 to 16.
The drama and excitement of the knockout stages will feature in five consecutive weekday programmes and the Mazda RX-8 one-marque Championship will be shown over 10 weekends on ITV1 building up to the final race, which will be shown live from Brands Hatch.
"Formula Woman 2004 promises to be a fast and exciting programme and we are proud to be involved as manufacturer sponsor. The Mazda RX-8 sports coupés featuring in the race series will provide fast and exhilarating racing and fascinating TV viewing," commented Phil Waring, managing director of Mazda Motors UK Ltd.
"I'm sure the lucky 16 drivers will have a truly thrilling experience on the track, but Mazda's involvement does not end there; the contestants are also supplied with Mazda MX-5 roadsters for the duration of the series.
"We are delighted with ITV's programme plans for 2004 that provides a terrific opportunity for Mazda to communicate its sporting pedigree and to showcase the Mazda MX-5 and unique Mazda RX-8 on national television."Published 18 February 2004