Behind The Wheel - #1 - Sophie Fox
Race season may be coming to an end, but the love for the women within the motorsports industry is not. There are many women behind “Women & Wheels”, the women that race in the women’s class, the women that support from thousands of miles away via social media, the women that stop by the booth to become educated on its purpose, the women in the stands that came just to watch the women pull up on the starting line, but above all else, there is THE woman behind Women & Wheels, that has made so many things possible, Sophie Fox.
Sophie is 23, born and raised in the UK and moved to the states in 2013. Sophie is the owner of Women & Wheels, an automotive organization for women. Sophie has always hosted women’s meets, food drives, and other fundraising events, but the official name “Women & Wheels” came in early 2020 when she decided she wanted to do more for women in the automotive community. Sophie told me about how she got involved in the motorsports industry, “Formula 1 is what mainly drove my interest. I would watch Formula 1 with my dad growing up, while also watching Top Gear, Moto GP, and taking time to go to the track during high school.” When Sophie first moved to the states, she lived across the street from Thunder Valley Raceway and would listen to the top fuel cars at night. “It snowballed from there”, Sophie said.
Sophie first took to the track her 2014 V6 mustang for some Test-N-Tune. “Guys, I didn’t even need a helmet, I was that slow” Sophie said in an Instagram post referencing her V6 Mustang. “We all start somewhere. No one starts a professional. Its okay to be slower, it’s okay to be a beginner”. Sophie has since owned other projects, one of those being a foxbody hatch that she bought that was the candidate of a 351 Windsor swap. She ended up finding herself unhappy with the chassis and decided it was best to part ways with it and next she found herself the owner of a 2007 Suzuki GSXR-1000. Sophie spent plenty of time with this build that was set up to see the track. She installed a DME swingarm, Brock’s Performance Penta-Carbon exhaust, Sprint filter, and wrapped it. Eventually she felt like it was time to get involved with a newer platform and bought a 2015 BMW S1000RR in which she enjoyed for a brief period before becoming more invested in her major goals for Women & Wheels.
I asked her what those major goals were, and she told me, “From day one I have always said Women & Wheels has 3 goals. The first one being to introduce more women into the automotive and motorsport industry and put more women behind the wheel. We want more women to leap from the spectator stands and become more involved! The second goal being to get more young women involved, specifically high-school and college aged students. We want to see them in technical programs in which will help further their careers and is why we introduced our scholarship with CareerTech. Our third goal is to acknowledge and celebrate the women before us who broke the glass ceilings. The women who did these things before us that allow us to be involved in the way we are, and that allow us to do what we do now”. Sophie doesn’t just stop at introducing scholarships and being the first all-women’s drag racing class at Street-Car Takeover. The future for Women & Wheels also includes branching into other aspects under the automotive umbrella, “We don’t want to solely exist in drag racing. We want to be involved in autocross, drifting, etc., and get more women involved in things with engines!’, Sophie says.
Sophie takes pride in everything she does. From providing quality products with designs that women in motorsports can really relate to, to striving to have the best customer service possible, she still believes her biggest accomplishments are introducing the all-women’s drag racing class at Street-Car Takeover and offering scholarships for young women. Sophie has just recently announced that Women & Wheels will be traveling with Street-Car Takeover again in 2022! What does that mean for women? Starting 2022 season you will see Women & Wheels at EVERY Street-car Takeover event and there will now be a points series with a $1500 payout at the end of season, on top on the pay-out from every event.
I asked Sophie who she saw as a role model within the industry, and she told me, “Lacey Blair. I think the market she taps into is amazing, her products are amazing, she practices what she preaches, and she supports people with ten followers or a million followers. She’s genuine and it reflects her as a person and her business. If I could end up half the woman she is, I'll be alright”. In 2021 Sophie has had to learn the ropes as she went along, “I’ve had really positive feedback from ladies. For the most part, no one has left upset, and we are getting better throughout the year running the class more smoothly and answering questions I may not have had an answer to in the beginning of the season”, she said. According to Sophie, “My dreams of racing went on the backburner to get this off the ground. I don’t have any sadness or regret about it though. I would do this again tomorrow. But now that I’m at the point of planning what to get I don’t know where I want to start again”.
Now that Sophie is thinking about getting something else for herself, I asked her what she dreamed of getting if she could get something tomorrow. She said “I think this class specifically has changed how I view racing and how I view well-built pieces of machinery. Before this I had specific taste and seeing diversity in these different platforms first-hand has really opened my eyes. Like I used to be a ford purist, but now I find myself enjoying LS-swapped things.” Ultimately, Sophie still sticks with having a goal of a notchback LS foxbody, a 93 Cobra hatchback, and 1st or 2nd generation lightning, This once ford purist told me how 6th generation Camaros are even growing on her, but let’s not disregard Sophie going back to her roots saying, “I’d love to have some fun with an 18+ S550. I think they’re proving to be a really good platform”.
One of her favorite things that she has provided through Women & Wheels is friendship. “It warms my soul when I see the women who competed together in our class add each other on social media and become friends. I love it and I think it’s amazing. Like they raced each other, but now they’re friends too!” Although there is of course a competition aspect to the class, Sophie, and many women believe there is more to it than just who wins. She told me, “Just like every other class, you’ll see cars lined up in the staging lanes. But when you see the women’s class lined up, you’ll also see the ladies hanging out and talking to each other before racing. I think this takes away the competitive edge and can help rookies get involved. Although ladies are accepted in this industry, sometimes they’re pitted against each other just for driving the same type of car or for being a woman and it’s not about that. Our class is still competitive and fun. You can still win money and a plaque, but you can rip the band-aid off and get involved!”
Sophie is an impeccable role model for young ladies everywhere and has provided an environment in which ladies can hangout, create friendships, and have fun going fast with a big future ahead. I am very excited to introduce this segment, Women Behind the Wheel, in which we will showcase the lovely ladies that compete in the Women & Wheels all-women’s drag racing class.
You can find Sophie’s personal Instagram @TheStockFox.