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Unique Class Hopes To Get More Women Into Racing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Pittsburgh International Race Complex is hoping to increase the number of female competitors on the track.

They're offering a performance driving class just for women for the first time this June.

"I have never heard of a class just dedicated to women like this will be," driving instructor Dotti Bechtol told KDKA's Heather Abraham.

Bechtol's father collected cars and she's always had an interest in them. She started racing 16 years ago with her husband.

"When I'm racing, I'm frequently one of 160 drivers - 159 are all male," said Bechtol, who will teach the class for women.

One of the owners of the track is Kathy Stout, who started racing just over 10 years ago.

"I think it's great. I think it's awesome because I never thought I could race a car," said Stout.

She said at first she worried about slowing down the men on the track, but that's changed.

"Now, they worry about me passing them," she said.

Chief driving instructor Jack Neff said they haven't had a lot of women at the complex, but he doesn't think that means they're not interested. It may just be a lack of opportunities or confidence.

But, Neff said women sometimes can be better learners.

"Racing is really like dancing. It's really dancing with the car, being nice and smooth," Neff said. "And women take to it, I think, quite well."

For Bechtol, who is often the only woman racing, she's hoping to gain something out of this class.

"I hope that I'll have some more female competitors on the track when I'm out there. That's what I hope," she said.

The class is June 17 and will be offered at two levels: novice and intermediate.

To register for the class, click here.

For more information on the Pittsburgh International Race Complex and other events, click here.

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