SANTA ANA, Calif. — Striving to promote inclusiveness in motorsports, Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) has crafted a program called "Yokohama All-In" that is supporting efforts to help women racers gain a foothold in the sport.
Working with MDK Motorsports and the non-profit Shift-Up-Now, YTC is backing a pair of women racers — one with a decade-plus of experience and one high schooler — competing in the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, a series supported and promoted by Yokohama.
The women, Ashley Freiberg and Riley Pegram, were selected by MDK and Yokohama to compete in the Sprint Challenge's GT3 and Cayman classes, respectively. Later this season, drivers will have the opportunity to apply for next year's program, YTC said, and a select group may be invited to participate in a driver shoot-out.
Pataskala, Ohio-based MDK Motorsports is led by CEO Megan Kvamme, whom YTC describes as a "supremely successful businesswoman who shares our mutual interest in promoting diversity in racing."
Founded in 2021 by Venture Capitalist Mark Kvamme and racer Will Bamber, MDK Motorsports is structured to help drivers progress their careers with experienced driver coaches and engineering staff and an in-house racing simulator.
As for YTC's involvement, Patricia Wall, Yokohama's motorsports manager, noted that racing is a "notoriously expensive sport" and tires can be a major contributor to this high expense. In the Porsche Sprint Challenge, she said, it's not uncommon for teams to go through three to four sets per weekend per car.
Yokohama All-In drivers receive a set number of tires as part of this program, and YTC will help the drivers promote themselves in future racing endeavors.
Ashley Freiberg has competed in open-wheel, sports car and endurance racing since 2010. She is the first woman to claim outright race victories in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. Her car features sponsorship from Shift Up Now, a non-profit founded in 2016 by racer Lynn Kehoe to help fund talented female racers in motorsport. The organization is led by Pippa Mann, a seven-time qualifier for the Indianapolis 500.
Riley Pegram is a senior in high school and fourth-generation racer. She brings one year of experience in go-karting to her first season in sports-car racing. Her car carries Yokohama Advan sponsorship.
Both drivers will race on Yokohama Advan A005 racing slicks and A006 wet racing tire, the spec rubber for the Porsche Sprint Challenge.
The 2023 Porsche Spring Challenge season opened March 24-26 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., and includes 10 more race weekends, concluding Oct. 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.