Laura's rally call grows to get more women into motorsport

Laura Cooledge has been co-driving since she was 16-years-old, and is campaigning to get more women into her sport

Laura Cooledge has been co-driving since she was 16-years-old, and is campaigning to get more women into her sport - Credit: Laura Cooledge

A rally co-driver has spoken of her mission to get more females into motorsports, where only five percent of license holders are women.

Laura Cooledge from Ipswich, started co-driving in rallying when she was 16.

Now at the age of 23, she and friend Laura Christmas are campaigning to try and get women more involved and noticed. 

The 23-year-old's start in the sport was to co-drive for her dad, John, and has now co-driven for her boyfriend Tommi. 

Laura Christmas and Laura Cooledge

Laura Christmas and Laura Cooledge - Credit: Laura Cooledge

Laura Cooledge said: "Rally co-driving is great. The sport has got a really family friendly team atmosphere about it. It is really great to be racing with my dad, family, friends and boyfriend, and enjoy the sport and hobby all together.

"My job in the car is to read out instructions to the driver, as they won't have memorised it before like in other sports such as Formula 1, they might not have even driven the course before.

Laura Cooledge with her dad John

Laura Cooledge with her dad John - Credit: Connor Bennett

"I have a microphone in my helmet, and I have to read out pace notes and it is very important I give these directions really accurately because it allows us to take things as fast as we possibly can, but also to get through the stage safely.

Laura Cooledge co-drives for her dad, boyfriend, and friends

Laura Cooledge co-drives for her dad, boyfriend, and friends - Credit: Laura Cooledge

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"If I give out a direction wrong, then we could go off into a ditch or hit trees, so the driver and co-driver have to have a really good relationship and trust."

Only 5pc of all Motorsport UK registered license holders are female, something Laura and others want to change.

Laura continued: "In a national competition earlier this year that I did with Laura [Christmas], there were around 120 crews competing, around 240 people in total, only 17 were females, and three of them were Laura, my mum, and I.

Laura Cooledge has co-driven for her boyfriend, dad and friends

Laura Cooledge has co-driven for her boyfriend, dad and friends - Credit: Laura Cooledge

"I knew I needed to do something about this after doing my dissertation on this subject and hearing shocking things from women.

"So I got together a number of female role models and together we created the Better Together Initiative to break down barriers and make the sport accessible for all."

They have made giant leaps in the last two years since starting the campaign, such as simply making sure all events have female toilets provided, and the safeguarding policies have been changed so if something does happen, it is properly dealt with.

Laura Christmas and Laura Cooledge

Laura Christmas and Laura Cooledge - Credit: Laura Cooledge

Laura created an initiative with friends to make motorsport more accessible for women.

Laura created an initiative with friends to make motorsport more accessible for women. - Credit: Laura Cooledge