Jaguar, Saudi woman racer declare annual World Driving Day

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Aseel Al Hamad settles into the Jaguar F-Type for a Saudi victory lap | Jaguar photos
Aseel Al Hamad settles into the Jaguar F-Type for a Saudi victory lap | Jaguar photos

In recognition of women in Saudi Arabia finally gaining the right to drive, Jaguar and Saudi female race driver Aseel Al Hamad have kicked off a global program to declare June 24 as World Driving Day. 

Al Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation but who has never raced in her home country, celebrated Saturday with a “victory lap” in a new Jaguar F-Type at the Reem International Circuit in Riyadh for her first drive in Saudi Arabia. 

She also marked the occasion on Sunday by driving a Formula 1 car ahead of the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard before a crowd excited not only by the step forward for woman drivers but the return of Grand Prix racing to its French birthplace.  The car she guest drove, a Renault Sport E20, is the same one in which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Al Hamad celebrates after her first home-country track drive
Al Hamad celebrates after her first home-country track drive

“By creating World Driving Day, Jaguar urges people to remember this historic day and what it means to women, to Saudi Arabia and to world progress in general,” the automaker says in a news release.

For the first World Driving Day, Jaguar invites people around the world to share a memory of their best driving moment (image or anecdote) using the #worlddrivingday.

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Al Hamad, a designer and businesswoman as well as a motorsport enthusiast, already knows what her best driving day was.

“Having loved cars since I was a child, today is highly emotional for me,” she said in Jaguar news release about her victory lap. “This is the best driving moment of my life.”

Jaguar also announced an upcoming partnership with Saudi students at the University of Saudi Arabia to join a global network of academic institutions in advancing innovations for future mobility.

“It’s easy to forget and take for granted the enjoyment of driving and just what a privilege it is to get behind the wheel of a car,” said Fiona Pargeter, customer experience director for Jaguar. “World Driving Day is a commitment from Jaguar to celebrate this key moment annually for both men and women.”

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

2 COMMENTS

  1. World Driving Day? I can’t think of a better excuse to buy a new sports car!
    And after so much oppression for so many centuries, it’s good to see at least one country in the Middle East that is starting to catch on to this neat concept of personal liberty and freedom!

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