HAIRY-CHESTED motorsport fans are in for a surprise at next weekend’s (September 27/28) Silverstone round of the British Touring Car Championship: replacing two of the grid girls will be grid boys.
Myles [left in picture] and Ryan will step in for Sophie and Flo when they hold the title boards for their respective drivers, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal of team Honda Yuasa Racing.
Far from being a media stunt ‒ although it does seem a tad contrived ‒ the sex change is making a serious point about the image of women in motor racing.
Sophie and Flo with Honda Yuasa Racing drivers Gordon Sheddon and Matt Neal
But that’s enough about serious points. Both lads will begin their day by receiving Honda-branded body art treatment from award-winning face and body-painting specialist Zoë Thornbury-Phillips before, presumably, sashaying to the grid, boards aloft.
Shedden arrives at Silverstone sitting third in the drivers’ standings, 64 points adrift of the top of the table following a difficult weekend at Rockingham a fortnight ago. Meanwhile, Matt Neal is seventh in the championship but like his teammate, the three-time BTCC Champion is a multiple winner around the high-speed Northants circuit and is keen to revisit the podium before the season draws to a close.
All of which may just explain Honda’s real reason for giving Sophie and Flo the day off. As a team spokesman said: “The two lads might actually help Shedden and Neal focus more on the race.”