Natalie Decker can officially add “driver coach” to her resume, as she will lend her racing knowledge to a fellow female athlete for a special cause.
The Wisconsin driver will partner with Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion Hope Solo and she prepares to participate in a special NASCAR HEAT 5 stream next month.
The event is being put together by INIT Esports, through their “Race Me” initiative. The group’s goal is to promote female gamers and athletes alike while generating awareness for equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“When I was paired up with Hope Solo to coach her on racing the Indy road course I was super excited for the opportunity,” Decker said in a media release. “What made it even more special was that when I was a freshman at Northland Pines High School my Sports Literature teacher, Mr. Olivotti, had our class read Hope Solo’s book, so I already had a connection with her.”
Recently, Decker hosted a brief video driving a lap around the Indianapolis road course from the Init Esports Twitch channel.
Check out @NatalieRacing doing a lap on the Indianapolis road course! Watch the #RaceMe drivers doing battle on January 9th on @NASCARHeat 5 game! Don’t forget to donate and tune in!https://t.co/pQAYRtakGR#InitEsports #trackguide #esports #genderequality #NASCARHeat5 pic.twitter.com/GhbVCILVcy
— Init Esports (@init_esports) December 22, 2020
Along with Hope Solo, many other prominent female athletes will participate:
Madison Hammond, defender for OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
Oksana Masters, Paralympic rower, and cross country skier
Liv Morgan, professional wrestler (WWE)
Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters forward in National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
Aerial Powers, Washington Mystics player in Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)
The event will take place in NASCAR HEAT 5, the latest offering from 704Games. The six participants will test their skills on the Indianapolis road course. The stream also has already garnered a host of sponsors including Motorsport Games, Asus, and Fanatec.
In addition, the race will be broadcasted on the Init Esports Twitch channel, with the Motor Racing Network’s Hannah Newhouse serving as the Lead Commentator.
“It was super cool to have the NASCAR HEAT folks reach out to me and be one of the voices for the event,” said Newhouse. “The whole production is super cool – Init is a female-owned, female-driven company – we had a really big powerhouse of girls on this, and to race on NASCAR HEAT was really exciting. It is so cool to get to work with names that, we as motorsports folks, probably fangirled over as a kid like Hope Solo, and Aerial Powers. These girls broke records and defied the odds. We’re all trying to prove that we belong here and are equal.”
100% of the proceeds from the Race Me event that is raised until January 20th, 2021 will be donated to the Girls Up Initiative ran by the United Nations Foundation Inc.
Coverage begins over on the Init Esports Twitch channel on January 9th, 2021 at 2:00 pm EST / 11:00 am PST.