Two Batswana girls earn racing Jackpot at elite motorsport academy in Italy

Two young girls from Botswana have earned a once-in-a-lifetime chance to become part of the prestigious Ferrari Academy under the FIA in Italy. Otlotleng Pelompe (13) and senior Sophia Mclaggan (15) emerged as the lucky and deserving winners after competing against seven other girls in a rigorous selection process organized by Maverick Karting at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone, over the weekend.

The event, titled 'Girls on Track' and sponsored by Motul, aimed to identify talented girls between the ages of 12 and 16 for the elite FIA Women in Motorsport program.

Under the guidance of Go Karting coach and Maverick Karting Director, Joseph Khengere, the seven girls showcased their skills at the Gaborone karting facility. Khengere expressed his excitement about the upcoming journey, stating, "We have completed the selection process, but this is just the beginning.

The girls will undergo training here every Sunday, alongside their schooling commitments. Furthermore, we plan to take them to the Swartkops racing facility in South Africa for additional training next month, before their trip to Italy in September."

Khengere also emphasized the significance of recognizing the duo's achievement at a national level. He stated: "Before they embark on this incredible opportunity in Italy, we intend to involve stakeholders such as the Ministry of Sports to give them a proper send-off. They will represent our country in high-level motorsport events."

Khengere elaborated on the future plans, saying, "After the selection phase, our next step is to train the girls and familiarize them with the type of Go Karts they will be racing in Italy. One of them will have the chance to be part of the prestigious Ferrari Academy in Europe. Ferrari, in collaboration with FIA, has made a commitment to invest in women in motorsport at the grassroots level. Although these young girls won't be in Formula One right away, witnessing one of them reaching that level would be a tremendous achievement for sports tourism in Botswana."

In addition to these developments, Khengere revealed that an all-women Go Karting competition will be hosted at the Fields Mall in Gaborone in November. All the girls who participated in the Girls on Track selections will have the opportunity to take part. These girls represent the future of motorsport in Botswana, and this event aims to further encourage their passion and skills.

Sophia Mclaggan (15), one of the selected girls who will represent Botswana, expressed both excitement and nerves about representing her country in Italy. When asked about her short-term goals in karting, Mclaggan mentioned her desire to gain more knowledge and experience as she is still relatively new to the sport. She said: "With practice, we can become quite good. We are just starting out, and we may not be the best right now, but we will improve with dedication." Otlotleng Pelompe (13) shared her sentiments, expressing gratitude for the opportunities they have received and confident in their future motorsport careers. She stated, "I have faith in both of us as we embark on this challenge."