Fifteen female race car drivers in a variety of categories — including Eagle River native Natalie Decker — took part in the first Women Drivers Assessment Program at Circuito de Navarra in northern Spain, on Aug. 28-29.

Decker currently competes full-time in the ARCA Racing Series, driving the No. 25 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. 

Circuito de Navarra is a motorsport race track that opened in June 2010 near Los Arcos in the Navarre region of northern Spain. It is a 3.933-kilometer permanent road course that hosts the Superleague Formula series and the FIA GT1 World Championship.

FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and FIA Drivers’ Commission invited the pool of talented women drivers for the two-day assessment program at the Circuito de Navarra, Spain. The joint initiative by the two commissions was presided over by Michèle Mouton and Tom Kristensen, respectively.

Twenty-five women drivers from around the world were identified by the commissions’ detection activities. Fifteen seats were available for the first assessment, at which 13 different nationalities from four continents were represented. Each driver was provided with equal track time over the two days in both a Formula Renault 2.0 car and a GT4 Porsche Cayman.

“I’m so thankful I got invited out to do this assessment with FIA women and Motorsport!” said Decker. “I have never driven anything like these cars and that was a wonderful experience and I learned so much from the engineers and the other girl drivers who were there.”

Decker spends most of her time on the oval, so Circuito de Navarra was a real test of her driving skills. 

“I was the only oval stock car racer there. All the other drivers were road racers and I thought that was so crazy that I was the only one who didn’t road race, but it made me feel special to be there,” said Decker. 

Decker said overall it was a great experience, especially meeting other female racers.

“All the others female drivers who were invited were so inspiring and so nice to be around. I made some friends I’ll have forever in the racing world! The bond we all made together in the two days was pretty special,” said Decker. 

FIA officials said they are committed to increasing the number of women drivers competing in its championships. As a further significant stride toward this goal, the assessment was designed to achieve a clear overview of the potential of drivers from different disciplines of international motor sport. FIA-nominated technical and engineering specialists benchmarked the drivers’ performance.

It is intended that this inaugural Women Drivers Assessment Programme will continue within the context of the Women in Motorsport Commission’s long-term strategy.

“I am just so happy and thankful I got to do this it was an opportunity of a lifetime and I will never forget my trip to Spain,” said Decker.