Pippa Mann is joining forces with karting standout Abby McLaughlin, Top Kart, and Top Kart USA to form Team Empower, an Indianapolis based karting team focused on showcasing and developing young female talent in karting. Team Empower's goal will be to provide a platform and resources to empower young female racers, and help equip them with the skill-sets required both on and off the track, that will allow them to pursue their motorsports dreams. Pippa, a former European and World Championship Formula A karting competitor, previously raced under the Top Kart banner in her late teens competing in the Italian Open Championship, the European Championships, and the Karting World Cup in Japan. She has since climbed the motorsport ladder to compete in five Indianapolis 500 races, and is currently the second fastest female qualifier at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in history. "It's amazing how sometimes in life things come full circle," said Pippa. "I had so much fun in my teens when I was living in Italy, and competing on the factory Top Kart team, but at the same time I was the only female driver on the team, often the only one competing at many of the events we were at. I never had a female mentor to help guide me, and there was never any female solidarity from the few other female racers there were. Since moving to the US in 2009 to race in Indy Lights, becoming more connected to the female racing scene has been increasingly important to me, and over the past few years I have been trying to find an opportunity where I would be able to help, give back, and hopefully be the person I wished I had had when I was growing up."
Abby began racing competitively at the age of five and has continued to advance towards her goal of becoming a professional racecar driver. She has begun testing the McLaughlin Motorsports F1000, F2000 racecars and has shown very competitive speed in her first outings. She currently is the highest ranked female in the IAME Sr. class and will begin racing the gearbox classes offered in the ROK Cup and SKUSA as well.
"This program, and the shared passion Pippa and I have for this team, and its goals, is very exciting to me," said Abby McLaughlin. "We want to use this opportunity to help young female drivers focus not only on developing their race craft on track, but also to help teach them the skill-sets off track that will help them build their brands. With sponsorship being such a crucial element to being able to take the next steps in motorsport, we want to make sure that we focus on all angles of helping these young drivers develop in Team Empower, to give them the best possible opportunities to move up the ladder in the motorsport world."
"It's refreshing to see the passion Abby and Pippa have to help promote and support other young female drivers," said William McLaughlin Sr., advisor to Top Kart USA. "Usually drivers have a habit of being very self-focused, so it's exciting to see two female drivers so willing to give back, and so invested in creating an entire female driving team. Having served as our test driver on many of the prototype chassis, Abby's knowledge base will provide a huge source of information, and Pippa will be able to bring not only her coaching skills, but also her deep knowledge base on the business side of racing. Together, we believe they will make quite the leading combination."
Team Empower will utilize the latest World Championship Top Kart chassis in each of the senior, junior and cadet classes with support from Top Kart, and Top Kart USA. Pippa is expected to attend as many of the races as possible with her 2017 schedule, and is also expected to be found back behind the wheel of a Top Kart herself as 2017 progresses.