“Oh, you don’t look like a rally driver”

By Emma Middleton Journalist

Check out Nabila Tejpar’s Insta bio: ‘Rally Driver, championing diversity and inclusion in motorsport’.

“I see no difference in a male or female driving”

Check out Nabila Tejpar’s Insta bio: ‘Rally Driver, championing diversity and inclusion in motorsport’.
She’s the only female south Asian driver to compete in the British Rally Championships, and one of the only female south Asian drivers in Europe.
In Nabila’s words, you “don’t have to be a tomboy to like racing and sport”.
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“There’s just not enough women”

Nabila got her first rally car at 15, and was introduced to motorsport by her dad. But back then, becoming a pro rally driver wasn’t an option.
“I never saw any females in sport so I never considered it.”
This is something Nabila wants to change.
After finishing uni, Nabila set about making rallying a career. Up until 2021, she was the only woman competing in the British Rally Championships.
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“I was there to race, not to worry about my gender”

She says she was never bothered about being the only woman on the start line - it was about sport, not gender.
But things are changing, gradually. Across Nabila’s career, she’s seen more females get involved in motorsport - drivers, engineers, mechanics - that act as role models.
And this is super important...
“So people can look into motorsport and go ‘you know what, I can be that little girl who dreams of being a racing driver’.”
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“Tolerance needs to be created in all sports, not just one”

Along with more female role models in motorsport, there also needs to be a shift in attitudes.
Nabila says she gets “general male comments” at rallies, things that she tries to ignore.
“You can’t let it go, but it’s never been really really bad.
It hasn’t stopped Nabila pursuing her career, but she recognises that women in other sports might face worse.
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“I’d be the only person of colour in the room”

Nabila grew up in Essex, in what she calls a “predominantly white area” with only 5 or 6 people of colour in her school.
She wasn’t aware of what she calls ‘unconscious bias’ until she started rallying.
“I would go to service parks, and I’d be the only person of colour in the room… how is this still a thing?
“Is it that people of colour look at the sport and go ‘not for me’, because it’s so predominantly white?”
Nabila says that more research needs to be done to find the answer.
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“She did it, so I can too”

Nabila gives an important perspective on how we think about ‘Women in Sport’. It’s not just about athletes, it’s about the team that makes it all happen - the Huddle.
In motorsport, the Huddle is made up of mechanics, engineers, co-drivers… all of which Nabila says are still dominated by men.
“It’s something I do want to do, work to help that diversity and inclusion in motorsport. Not just for ethnic minorities, but also women.”
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