Last week Nissan and Harvey Norman unveiled the livery for Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie’s Bathurst Wildcard. And it made me bloody furious.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the lick of paint the team has applied to their Nissan Altima Supercar. In fact, the black and white with yellow lettering is a perfectly adequate modern livery (even if it doesn’t hold a candle to the epic retro schemes we were treated to at Sandown). It is certainly a relief that last year’s pink stickers have been thrown into the bin where they belong.
No, the reason I am feeling the rage is the fact Harvey Norman, Supercars, Nissan, and anyone involved insists on calling the pairing the “Supergirls”. I mean, really? Is that the best name they could think of for the wildcard entry? I will get to why it is regressive, demeaning, and condescending later, but first and foremost it is boring and unoriginal. If Supergirls was the best thing the marketing boffins could scratch together, then that is just sad. You can almost picture the meeting when the idea was formulated: “So we have two racers entering in a wildcard at Bathurst... they are both females... they will be racing a V8 SUPERcar... hmmmm... I’ve got it! Supergirls!”
What a bloody genius that numpty was.
We’ve already had one tasteless team name for female racers: the Castrol Cougars. We don’t really need another to blot Supercars’ history books.
But beyond the sheer unoriginality is the fact it’s degenerating. I don’t use that wording lightly, either. But there is so much more to Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie than the gender on their racing license. We don’t call Jamie Whincup the male six-time champion, so why we need to single out the gender of this pairing, from their very own team, beggars belief.
Yes, their gender does play a part in what makes this wildcard entry more important, but do we really want history remembering them as the Supergirls? It is naff, and results in people thinking it is okay to use sexist terms to describe the duo, as we infamously saw last year. I have little doubt that those who can’t wrap their outdated brains around the concept of an all-female driver pairing see the Supergirls’ name as reason why the duo are nothing more than a marketing exercise, and free reign for their misguided bile.
Also, come on, “girls”? Don’t be condescending. These are women who train hard, and one is an internationally respected professional. If we expect the media and punters to treat them with respect, wording is important – and using “girls” is demeaning of the pair’s talent.
So please, for the good of bringing Australian motorsport out of the dark ages, can we not refer to the team as the Supergirls. Supercars, Nissan, and the Harvey Norman team, I am looking at you. Call it Harvey Norman Racing, or the Whiz-bang Whitegoods Mega Squad. I don’t care; just not the Supergirls. You are undermining yourselves, and two very talented racers.