MILAN, ITALY — On International Women’s Day, Ford launches The W Track, a virtual racing track that allows drivers to experience how hard it is for women to get into motorsports. The W Track, which was created in partnership with brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R, adds the word WOMAN to the historic Monza circuit. It makes the racetrack longer and more challenging and symbolises the difficult path aspiring women racers face in real-world and virtual racing.
“I hope The W Track sends out a strong message of inclusivity and gender equality in eSports and helps open this competitive and entertaining world to more women. We need to look harder for future women pro-gamers and help level the playing field,” says Fabrizio Faltoni, President and CEO of Ford Italia.
The new track can be experienced in the Assetto Corsa videogame, by Kunos Simulazioni, one of the most realistic and popular racing games. The W Track launches today at the Monza Circuit with a media partnership with Freeda and a real-life event, created in partnership with BCW and Mindshare, including Pro Players’ performances, live driving sessions, and a panel conversation moderated by the renowned journalist, Maria Latella.
Ford also announces today the opening of W Driving University, a high-performance programme part of the Ford Performance Driving University aiming to recruit and train the next generation of women racing champions, both in real and virtual worlds. Ford, who competes in esports with Team Fordzilla and real-life races with Ford Performance, hopes to encourage more women to consider racing careers.
“Women are trying to make their way in a world that has never been theirs. And it’s been hard to find more women for Team Fordzilla. We found only one, Sandra, in Spain in the last few years. W Driving University will encourage women to try sim and real-life racing and become a great talent pipeline for our team,” said Sara Stefanizzi, aka Kurolily, Ambassador for Italy of Fordzilla, Ford’s eSport team.
Ford has a long history of fostering a more equal and inclusive motor industry. In 2022, Ford was recognised as a leader on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index in 45 countries and regions for the fourth year running. In 2020, Jim Hackett (former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company) shared and signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles on behalf of Ford Motor Company.
“We are lucky to work with clients who share our values. Diversity is our greatest strength, so The W Track project was designed to help change the inequal reality we’re still seeing today in the world of motorsports,” said Federico Russo, Executive Creative Director VMLY&R Italy
Ford has focused on creating a culture of belongings and equal opportunities regardless of race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and social class, rooted in diversity as a driver of innovation and change.
Ford worked with Freeda, an iconic media brand on diversity and inclusion issues, to promote The W track game and the W Driving University through live experiences and infotainment. Additional media planning from Mindshare will bring the initiatives to life on social with a cross-channel multimedia campaign.
Emmanuel Lubrani – Senior Manager, Brand communications and content development, Ford of Europe Communications and Public Affairs
Marco Alù Saffi – Head of Communication & Public Affairs for Italy, Greece and EDM Markets Ford Motor Company
Monica Mecacci – Chief Press Officer, Ford of Italy
Fabrizio Quinti – Marketing Communications Manager, Ford of Italy
Giulia La Paglia – Digital Manager, Ford of Italy
Agency: VMLY&R Italy
Julian Watt – Chief Creative Officer, Europe, Ford Business
Andrea Manfredonia – Managing Director, Ford Business
Federico Russo – Executive Creative Director
Marina Biagini – Senior Art Director
Luciana Taurchini – Senior Copywriter
Leonardo Pastacaldi – Senior Copywriter
Francesca Pellegrini – Client Service Director
Federica Calori – Account Executive
Massimo Curti – Digital Manager
Barbara Petricciuolo – Social Media Director
Germana Russo – Social Media Manager
Giulia Mastropietro – Social Media Manager
Mara Bruschetti – Head of production
Media Agency: Mindshare
Luigi Sorrentino – Media Director Client leadership – team Ford
Daniela Baldassarre – Head of Content
PR Agency: BCW Global – Italy
Lara Valenti – Senior Account Manager