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PCA member participates in Michelin's #WomenInDrive event

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Above: #WomenInDrive participants got a tour of the Michelin manufacturing facility in Greenville, SC. PCA member Julie Bailey is third from left.

Article by Julie Bailey

This past week, I was given the opportunity to participate in the first Michelin #WomenInDrive tire school with 20 other female automotive enthusiasts in Greenville, South Carolina.

The students in the three-day school included an IMSA pro race car driver, an amateur race car driver, Hollywood stunt car drivers, an exotic car broker, IMSA videographer, classic car event and marketing directors, automotive journalists, and influencers. I was there representing PCA.

The #WomenInDrive event started off with a “Tires 101” at the Michelin Sales Training Center, then continued with a tour of the US1 Manufacturing Facility where we were able to get up close and personal to see how tires are made, a friendly competitive team enduro race at the LeMans Karting facility, and a trip to the Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds where we were able to test and compare Michelin tires in a variety of situations. One of the highlights of the day was riding shotgun in a new Shelby GT350 R Mustang with 500+ horsepower. Just a little bit faster than my 944 race car. We also compared the Michelin tires against competitor tires on the autocross course, on both dry and wet surfaces. It was amazing how well a minivan, one of the test cars, can corner with the right Michelin tires. 

During my three-day experience, there was no doubt that #WomenInDrive isn't just a hashtag, but a way of life. We met women who are engineers that work at the factory and support race teams, women who test the cars to ensure the best tires are made, women who get the passion and share the message with the world. Michelin’s commitment to customers and aim for perfection were clear at every aspect of the company. The information we learned from Michelin, the comradery, the stories, and the open discussions about the good and bad of being a woman in a man-dominated field was inspiring, energizing, and educational. Thanks to everyone at Michelin for an amazing experience. It was a privilege to meet so many women from around the US who either work in the automotive industry or have a deep passion for cars.

PS: Rumor has it that “Bib” has gone on a diet. Hopefully we will see the new skinny version at Porsche Parade this summer at Tan-Tar-A resort.

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