CHALLENGING stereotypes and breaking down barriers were the subjects at the heart of a special event for more than 100 schoolgirls.

On Friday last week, pupils got a first-hand experience of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

The circuit teamed up with charity Dare To Be Different (D2BD) to put on a day of activities designed to inspire more girls to get into motorsport.

Pupils from primary schools across the area were invited to Britain’s fastest racetrack, taking part in garage tours and meeting drivers.

The event gave attendees a chance to get up close and personal with the BTCC through exclusive access to the Thruxton paddock, as well as developing their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills with a number of tricky engineering challenges.

The schoolgirls also tried TV presenting and were given advice on potential career paths within motorsport.

The day was rounded off with a prize-giving ceremony for the fastest pit-stop team and best media presentation.

BTCC driver Jason Plato said: “They’ve had a fantastic time and hopefully it will light a candle in a few of their minds that motorsport is a great opportunity. Not just for driving the car, because there are many more things in motorsport than driving the car.

“I’ve been in this game a long time, and it was a male-dominated place when I started. It’s not now, and it’s a better paddock for it. It has changed massively, and I think the way the world is at the moment motorsport needs to be more inclusive.

“It’s a great initiative and it opens their mind up to all sorts of opportunities, whether they be science-based, sports-based, nutrition, there’s a million and one different offshoots in motorsport.”