Around the track🏎

Partner Spotlight: WIM Canada, the driving force for women in motorsport

September 19, 2023

For more than 25 years, D-BOX has been a company doing business in the typically male-dominated world of technology and racing. Despite this, we’ve long known the value of diversity—from our workforce to our international network of partners, D-BOX has always prioritized and put efforts on making sure that women are included in the innovation, creation and democratization of haptic technology.


It is this core value that made it natural for D-BOX to partner with Women in Motorsport Canada (WIM), a non-profit organization working to make motorsport more inclusive for women and girls in Canada and across the globe! In celebration of our recent activation alongside WIM and Advanced SimRacing at the Canadian Grand Prix—where we introduced the WIMSim, a series of haptic sim racing simulators designed with women in mind—we sat down with WIM founder and CEO Leanne Junnila to learn more about WIM, their mission and the important work that they do.


Keep reading to discover what Leanne had to say and to learn more about D-BOX's partnership with WIM Canada!

How did Women in Motorsport Canada come to be?

That’s related to me joining the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.

Back in the day, I first started out doing auto slalom and eventually started doing a bit of Marshalling at the local racetrack. Someone then asked me if I wanted to try rallying, so I said ‘sure, why not?’.

Fast forward a few years, after I got more experience as a co-driver and worked with a few different teams, I got picked up by Subaru Canada to be the official co-driver on their manufacturers team.

Further into my career, I stumbled across a news article that was discussing the Women in Motorsport Commission. At the time I didn't really know it existed, but in that article, there was a list of all the members, and Canada was not on the list.

I found this really shocking. I mean, we have an F1 race here, we have a lot of big motorsport events, but we didn’t have any representation on the Women’s Commission. And so, I approached my National Sporting Authority (ASN) and offered my help in that regard. They nominated me to join the Commission that year, and as a result of that appointment, I started WIM Canada as a way of promoting the efforts that the FIA was making with the Women’s Commission in my own country.


I’ve been active with WIM Canada since before the pandemic and I'm proud to say that today, we’re officially incorporated as a non-profit!

What is the mission of WIMCanada?

My mission statement mirrors that of the FIA Commission—that is to promote the participation of women in all areas of motorsport, including as drivers, engineers, mechanics, data analysts, pit crew, in marketing, as safety officers and more.

What kind of activities has WIMCanada been participating in to promote the mission?

Recently, we’ve been working on developing a social media presence and a blog, while also participating in live event activations such as the one we did with you at the Montreal F1 event.

We’ve also recently been developing an eSports strategy with you and Advanced SimRacing to try and support girls that want to get involved in a sort of more affordable and more accessible way!

Overall, we’re big on education. For example, at the 2019 Toronto Indy, I worked with the Associate Team Director and we brought a group of Girl Guides as special guests of Carlin Indy Team. They generously donated the admission passes, and we put together a program for the Girl Guides to meet different women who were working in the Indy; to shadow and to interview them.

I also led a Lego building activity at the 2023 Toronto Auto Show where we worked again with the Girl Guides and they built cars that we raced down ramps in the Lego booth. It was amazing and it put a little bit of education into the fun program—the girls had to think about how long they wanted their wheelbase to be so it wouldn’t spin down the ramp, as well as had to think about aerodynamics and car weight.

Leanne Team Event


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we at WIMCanada felt that it was paramount to continue to foster a sense of community amongst women in motorsport across Canada – especially during such a stagnant time for motorsport. We conducted outreach with numerous motorsport clubs across the country and developed a sew-on patch featuring the WIMCanada logo; a visible way for any women working in motorsport to identify with our community and feel connected.


We actually did an envelope stuffing party at my house where we mailed out hundreds of these patches all over the country, so that people can bump into each other at motorsport events and go ‘hey, I've got that patch too!’


Organizing everything can get a little overwhelming, but it’s so amazing to see the amount of effort that everyone else is putting in to support this silly thing that I started. It’s like a big family and makes me want to put more work in!

How did WIMCanada first meet D-BOX?

I was actually trying to remember that! In motorsport, it’s such a small world that everyone sort of connects you to someone new and you all get to know each other in that way. I believe we connected with Karen Mendoza (D-BOX’s VP of Sales) via LinkedIn and hit it off immediately. We just got really excited chatting with each other and we both seemed to have similar passions.

Obviously, as women who were both in non-traditionally female career paths, we just sort of related to each other. Karen then introduced me to other people at D-BOX and everyone was just so great to work with. It was a natural fit because to me, the team is important, especially since I do this for enjoyment and fun. I want to work with great people, and that’s what happened here.

You debuted the WIMSim at the Montreal Grand Prix with us and Advanced SimRacing. What feedback have you gotten?

We actually had people actively posting on social media about the positive experience in our booth! We also had some inquiries from prospective buyers for the WIMSim who have contacted both WIMCanada and Advanced SimRacing directly to inquire about purchasing the simulator for their needs.

We’ve had very good feedback and we’re excited to work on getting the units out!


If you had to give one piece of advice to women and girls looking to get into motorsport, what would it be?

I mean, I think that anything new can be scary. When I was younger, I was so shy that I could barely walk into a 7/11 and walk up to the cashier to pay for something. I could barely speak to someone I didn’t know!

I’ve realized that it just takes practice to get comfortable in environments that you’re not used to. If you’re interested in motorsport but it seems a little bit scary and it’s out of your comfort zone, then that’s exactly why you should do it.

My introduction to the world of motorsport gave me the confidence to push my limits and break out my shell to pursue my goals. I owe so much to the challenging yet supportive environment within the motorsport community; one that turns fear into passion and pushes you to be the best version of yourself. Motorsport was the family I needed to go out and experience those things, to learn how to problem solve, how to communicate with a team and travel around.

The cool thing about motorsport is that you’ll never age out of it. You can start at any age and end at any age, there will always be a place for you. Plus, there are so many different opportunities in motorsport—you can take it as a sport, as a hobby, or pursue it as a career path.


Even though it might seem intimidating at first, it’s totally worth it.


Leanne Driving

Working to make motorsport more diverse

WIMCanada's inspiring journey from its inception to its current status as a driving force in the world of motorsport is a testament to Leanne’s passion, dedication, and commitment to inclusivity. Their unwavering mission to make motorsport accessible and welcoming for women and girls has not only opened doors for countless individuals but is also shaping up to transform the future of the sport itself!

As we look to the future, it's evident that WIMCanada will continue to break barriers, shatter stereotypes, and accelerate the progress of gender equality in motorsport. With their remarkable journey and strategic partnerships, the road ahead promises to be both thrilling and transformative for all involved!


Learn more about WIM Canada

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