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Ladies hit the track with the Alberta BMW Car Club

By Doug Neilson

These two participants were all smiles at the annual Ladies Only Day held by the Alberta Chapter of the BMW Car Club of Canada. Photo by Doug Neilson.It was another long summer of weekends alone for 'track widows' everywhere. While their husbands and boyfriends blasted around at a local track day or Driver's Education event, they diligently took care of the household, garden, kids, and other home front chores.

But that was not the case on one particular day in the fall of 2007, when the second annual Ladies Only Day was held at Race City Motorsport in Calgary, Alberta.

The Alberta Chapter of the BMW Car Club of Canada planned this Advanced Driving School event in order to create a testosterone-free environment in which ladies could burn some rubber without the presence of self professed he-men or mucho masculine types causing nuisance on the circuit.

Tentative and extremely keen ladies from miles around Calgary gathered with their own cars, SUVs and minivans, or had borrowed the keys to their hubbies' pride and joy, to hone their skills and have some fun. Granted, the guys were around as well, but in purely a teaching role, or as enthusiastic spectators only.

First, the ladies were given the usual high-quality BMW Club classroom theory of cornering, friction, skidding, braking and weight transfer, as well as many suggestions for seating position, mirror adjustment, and driving techniques. They were then set loose on traffic-cone-lined courses for braking box, slalom, cornering, and lane change exercises. Then after lunch it was time to get out on RaceCity's 3.2-km road course circuit for lapping sessions, with an instructor guiding and coaching them from the passenger seat. It was easy to see that the drivers' confidence, skills and appreciation for their car's capabilities progressed rapidly throughout the day.

The BMW Car Club set out a course at the Race City Motorsport facility in Calgary, Alberta. Photo by Doug Neilson.The ladies beamed with excitement from beginning to end and demanded a similar event be held again. These closet racers even pounded their fists in the air and vowed they would back with better rubber and more horsepower! The enthusiasm for the event was really quite extraordinary and plans are already in place for 2008 (see

I strongly suggest that local European car clubs everywhere organize similar ladies-only events in order to make it easier for women to fully experience their vehicles in a safe and controlled environment.

Doug Neilson is a freelance writer based in Calgary, Alta. He can be reached at

© 2008 Posted 3/16/2008


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