For a few minutes, it seemed like the entire city had stopped—just to see an entire fleet of supercars being driven only by women.” Ritika Jatin Ahuja still can’t forget the excitement she felt early February when people from across Delhi-National Capital Region had come to the city of Gurugram for an event she had organised: the country’s first all-women drive of supercars, sports cars, ultra-luxury cars and superbikes. “Seeing 30 women with some of the world’s most expensive cars and bikes must have seemed crazy,” adds Ahuja, whose initiative, Queens Drive Club (QDC), is the first all-women supercar club in India. She’s planning a similar event next year, which will include “a meet-up in February and a global event for later in the year.”
While the two-hour Gurugram drive, which was the club’s first official drive, saw 30 members taking part, the count today stands at 58 members, with women joining from across India. The first rule to get into this invite-only club is that the members must own at least one supercar and know how to drive it. Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Rolls Royce Cullinan, Bentley Flying Spur V8, Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes Benz G63 AMG, Porsche Panamera and Ducati Monster are among the luxury supercars and bikes owned by the club’s members.
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“It all started with the thought that if men can have their Sundays where they head out in their supercars, why we women couldn’t do the same? I wanted to have my own tribe of girls who enjoy driving supercars,” explains Ahuja. She offers another reason for starting the club. “Almost a decade ago, I was denied membership in a well-known club for supercar owners because they said my profile was not strong enough. This despite the fact that I had a high-end car and could have been a part of it,” recalls Ahuja, who notes that the rejection was most probably because of her gender. That club had only male members.
As a founder of her own club today, Ahuja laughs off that memory. But the decade-old incident is indicative of the stereotypical gaze that female supercar drivers and owners are viewed with. The “women can’t drive” cliché still exists. And that’s precisely what QDC and similar women-only supercar clubs across the world hope to shatter.
A TRIBE OF FEMALE PETROLHEADS
On top of this list is the extremely popular Dubai-based club, Arabian Gazelles. This women’s only supercar club was founded by Hanan Mazouzi Sobati in 2017.
At that time, it was the world’s first and only community of female supercar owners. Heels and Horsepower, on the other hand, is a Texas-based club dedicated to women supercar owners. It was launched in 2018, in Houston, by Alexandra Hirsche aka Supercar Blondie, one of the world’s most followed automotive social media personalities. The staidly-named Women’s Supercars Club, based in Madrid, Spain, is another group of women petrol heads.
What’s noteworthy is that most of these niche clubs enjoy active collaborations with luxury car brands and are invited for test drives, car launches and races. From the point of view of the brands, a rise in the number of women getting behind the steering wheel of ultra-luxury cars is great for business. Not surprisingly, in the past few years, top-end car makers such Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A, Aston Martin, Maserati and McLaren Automotive Ltd have been adapting their strategies to target this new demographic: the independent, wealthy female buyer. So while Aston Martin has a female advisory panel reviewing current and future products, Bentley has added features to its Bentayga SUV that would appeal to its female customers. The car has a biometric stowage to store jewellery and valuables, and scent atomizers for perfume.
Ahuja’s future vision for QDC definitely includes brand collaborations. Her current agenda is to get more women to join the club and ensure that QDC’s identity is not limited to being “a group of women who go driving.’ “I want to develop the club into an entity where we have collaborations, go for travel retreats, get invited for launches,” she says.
Among the QDC members is Rupam Malik, who runs an aviation advisory company in Delhi. The mother of twins owns five luxury cars and a supercar. “The most expensive car I own is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 450 worth ₹2 crore. But my favourite is the Porsche Boxster 718,” Malik says about her car collection. The first luxury car she ever drove was a Mercedes-Benz SLK 350. Sitting behind the wheel of a top-end car gives Malik “a feeling of power and freedom”. “The biggest stereotype I’ve encountered is people saying, ‘Women can’t drive supercars’,” says Malik. “I would love to show fellow women how it’s done.”
A popular Instagram influencer, Kirti Singh Raheja fits the image of a supercar owner who leads a glamorous life. Raheja owns five cars, the most expensive of them being a Rolls Royce, and has been driving luxury cars for almost nine years now. Where other supercar enthusiasts may frown at the unnecessary attention their cars bring them, Raheja finds it absolutely okay. “I love it when people come and take pictures of my cars. I think it’s their way of showing appreciation,” says Raheja, a QDC member.
Ask Ahuja, whose family owns Big Boy Toys, a pre-owned luxury car dealership in Gurugram, to paint a general description of QDC’s members and she says, “Most of them are high profile individuals who run businesses that are either family-owned or independent ventures. All of them are—pun intended—driven women.” She wants more women to join the club.
Like Shalin Pawar, a 23-year-old luxury brand management student in Dubai, for instance. “My love of cars stems from my early childhood,” says Pawar. “Instead of watching cartoons, I used to watch Top Gear. I would always observe my father while he drove. I would analyse how the gears, acceleration and brakes worked. My father himself is a car and bike enthusiast, so I will say it runs in my blood.” Pawar owns a Polo GT and has driven a Mustang, Mercedes Maybach, Jaguar F-Type, an Audi A3 convertible and an Audi Q5. “I recently got my hands on a McLaren 570S,” she says. In her group of girlfriends, Pawar is the only one car enthusiast. While she gets to discuss cars, Formula 1 and MotoGP with her male friends, Pawar hopes to befriend female supercar influencers someday.“A common notion in most families is that the girl in the family should be given the smallest, most convenient car. I want to smash that notion,” says Ahuja. “I want to tell people that this is 2022 and soon going to be 2023; we need to change some things around. Give your girls the biggest cars.”
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