Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie are sharing a Prodrive Racing Ford Falcon at this year’s Bathurst 1000, making them the first all-female team since 1998 to compete there. That’s great! V8 Supercar driver David Reynolds called it a “pussy wagon” in in a post-practice press conference. That’s um...not so great.
An interviewer asked fellow Prodrive Racing Australia Ford Falcon driver Reynolds if he knew of the all-female team competing this weekend, which is when Reynolds replied, “Do you mean the pussy wagon?’
While it was at least clear that Reynolds respected his teammates’ ability to drive the car, V8 Supercars was not happy about his less than polite nickname for the car and issued him a $25,000 fine (in Australian dollars; about $18,183 US) less than two hours after the conference for the offense.
V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton had this to say in a statement released by the series on the fine:
Reynolds’ comments were disgraceful and completely unacceptable in our sport and he has been fined $25,000.
Women are an integral part of our sport, whether they are fans, drivers or team members. And V8 Supercars will continue to support and promote female participation at all levels of our sport.
Reynolds has since apologized personally to both Gracie and de Silvestro for the verbal diarrhea. He released the following statement after receiving the fine:
I unreservedly apologise for a comment I made in a press conference earlier today in relation to my female team-mates.
While it was intended to be humorous, I understand it has caused offence. As I stated in the press conference I genuinely hope they perform well as they are both highly-talented as they showed today with their pace.
We all get on very well and I’ve spent a lot of time with them this week helping them prepare for this race.
People know I am a little left-of-centre with my humour but I understand today I took it too far.
I have personally apologised to Renee and Simona and I fully accept the penalty handed down by V8 Supercars and any subsequent team sanctions
According to The Daily Telegraph, Reynolds’ contract with Prodrive Racing Australia is up at the end of the year. As he needs to bring in a certain level of sponsorship to keep his seat, an, ahem, less than sponsor friendly comment might hurt his chances at making that happen. Bad timing, dude. Next time, maybe skip the chance to nickname a teammate’s car?
Making matters worse were Australian touring car legend Dick Johnson (actual name — just in case you thought we were running through anatomical nicknames) comments saying that the female duo had no chance of finishing. While the pair hasn’t been particularly fast, they are determined.
“Dick Johnson hasn’t finished heaps of races, so he can’t talk,” Gracie told The Guardian on Wednesday. Ohhhh snap!
According to The Daily Telegraph, De Silvestro drove a V8 Supercar for the very first time last week, so she’s a bit behind the curve. Given that she has extensive prior experience in IndyCar, I’d say Johnson might not know who he’s talking about. Gracie, on the other hand has been competing in the Dunlop development series that feeds into V8s.
“I think we will prove them wrong,” de Silvestro told The Guardian.
So far, they’ve been second to last in practice, but given that Bathurst is a particularly grueling endurance race, all bets are off as to anyone finishing, much less one team over the other.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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