Arabian Gazelles have passion for cars
Monde Motors - South Sudan. Find Used Cars for Sale in Juba, South Sudan at the best prices on our online car bond. To upload your own cars for sale visit
Hanan Sobati has a message for women who have never driven a supercar: you don’t know what you’re missing. The 45-year-old Dubai resident is the founder of Arabian Gazelles, the world’s first club for female supercar owners with 150 active members representing 29 nationalities.
Sobati started the club in 2016 to meet other women who shared her interest in luxury vehicles, connecting with many through the Arabian Gazelles Instagram account. Today, that account has more than 100,000 followers.
She recalled the first time she hosted a race car event, partnering with McLaren to give women their first taste of the track. “It was beyond anything they had ever experienced,” Sobati said. “Some of them even told me, ‘You have saved my marriage.’ They had this opportunity to let out all these different emotions.”
Growing up in Algeria, Sobati would play with her brothers’ toy cars and watch Formula One racing. When she moved to the United Arab Emirates 25 years ago, she fell in love with the flashy, local car culture.
“In Dubai, if they have it, they flaunt it,” she said. Sobati herself drives a McLaren 650S Spyder, but her garage also includes a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead, Mercedes-Benz G Wagon and, her favourite, a Morgan Aero SuperSport.
Eventually she began accepting the car event invitations her husband received through his golf buddies. She found that not only were women underrepresented at these events, but organizers couldn’t fathom that Sobati might be just as interested in test driving new models or previewing the latest concept cars as the men.
“They were always thinking that I was a ‘plus one,’” she said. “The only women at those events were hostesses taking people around and showing them the cars. The organizers could never see past my gender, really, even when I would explain to them that I am the decision maker when it comes to cars.”
As it turns out, she wasn’t the only one. Once she started the Arabian Gazelles account, she began connecting with other women who felt alienated in the male-dominated sportscar scene.
“They have this passion for cars, and they didn’t think they could live it,” she said. “Through it they have found women who are just like them.
“In the club there are all these different nationalities, and they also have the same problem when they show that they have this passion. It’s never fully accepted. I thought, maybe it’s because we are in the Arab world. But no, it’s not about the Arab world or Arab men, it’s just a man’s world,” she said.
The club now includes members who are doctors, lawyers, pilots and entrepreneurs. It has even provided networking opportunities – two members who met through the club launched an event company together. Others were just looking to make friends with other women and found bonding over six-figure supercars more their style than “a business group or a knitting group or a cooking group,” Sobati said.
About half of the Arabian Gazelles discovered the club through Instagram, with the rest hearing about it through friends or word of mouth. Typical events include track days, drag races and exclusive test drives. Occasionally, they invite the guys along. “As long as they sit in the passenger’s seat,” Sobati said.
The supercar shots posted to the club’s Instagram page underscore that this isn’t your typical car-lovers account. Alongside high-end vehicles on the open road are shots of Sobati draped in designer fashions, posing with an all-female track squad.
“The girls in Dubai, everyone is more or less in glamorous outfits,” Sobati said. “It’s really organic.” She tends to coordinate her look to her supercar du jour. “The Morgan gives me that Hollywood vibe, because it looks vintage.”
The club hosts events off the road as well, such as discussions with manufacturers. Since launching Arabian Gazelles, Sobati has found car companies are taking the female market more seriously.
“We’ve started being called to have roundtable discussions with officials from different brands,” she said. They’ve even partnered with the Parisian designers Maison Bédouin on a capsule collection of driving gloves, called Revolution. One style has the words “Lady Boss” emblazoned across the knuckles.
“The fact that companies are calling on the Arabian Gazelles is huge,” Sobati said. “(It’s gone) from (women) not being invited to anything but to look pretty and sit in passenger seats to wanting our views and feedback on the cars.
“We aren’t claiming that we know everything about cars. We don’t. But we are learning. And we love when we convert those naysayers.”
Ryan Porter Special to Wheels