Friday, 20 April 2018

Valeria Carballo

Valeria Carballo (Valeria Vanessa Carballo Berroteran) is a Venezuelan driver who raced single-seaters in Europe for several seasons.

Initially, Valeria was based in Italy. She made her debut in Italian Formula Renault in 2011, driving for Team Costa Rica. After a difficult year with a string of DNFs in the middle, she was seventeenth in the championship, with a best finish of eighth, at Misano. This was one of two top-ten finishes that year, the other being a ninth at Monza. Team Costa Rica fielded five drivers over the season and only one, James Adams, was Costa Rican.

Whilst in Italy, she also raced in Formula Abarth, in the Italian and European series. She did not enter enough races to make any impact. All of her Formula Abarth outings were as part of Team Costa Rica.

In 2012, she tackled the European F3 Open championship, after a couple of races in the winter series, at Paul Ricard. Her finishes in the Trophy itself were not overly impressive, apart from one seventh at Monza, but she did quite well in the Cup class, earning many top-ten finishes. She was a team-mate to Tatiana Calderon at Emilio de Villota Motorsport, although they were racing in separate classes.

Her second season in Euro F3 started with the Winter Series, in which she scored one seventh place. In the series proper, she was part of the Campos team. It was a better season for her, or more consistent than before, with five top-ten finishes, the best being seventh, at Portimao. This was enough for twelfth overall. She was the highest-placed of the three Campos drivers, above Artur Janosz in thirteenth and Denis Nagulin in 19th.

Valeria’s career ended in 2014. Like several other Venezuelan racing drivers, she had been sponsored by PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. Pastor Maldonado was the highest-profile of these, and Milka Duno was among their number. At the end of 2013, PDVSA suspended its motorsport sponsorship programme and stopped paying all drivers competing abroad. This was due to certain individuals using the sponsorship programme to obtain large quantities of foreign currency. It is not known whether Valeria was one of these drivers.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Katie Milner

Katie Milner won the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2016. She now races Ginettas.

She first raced in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2015, driving a Citroen Saxo. This was her first season of circuit racing full-stop. She was ninth in the championship. Her best finish was fourth, at Croft, and she had two other top-five positions at Croft and Oulton Park.

Prior to her season in the JSCC, she was a successful autograss racer for four seasons between 2012 and 2015, with five junior titles. Autograss takes place on a short, oval grass track. Other saloon racers including Alice Hughes have used it as a training ground. Her first JSCC campaign overlapped with her last autograss title.

She also tried out the Ginetta Junior series at Brands Hatch during the 2015-2016 off-season. This was a challenge for her and she only had a highest finish of eleventh.

In 2016, she raced in the JSCC for a final season before she turned seventeen. The disappointments of the Ginetta winter series were forgotten. It was a dramatic year; she was one of the leading drivers, with seven wins, but her championship title was only awarded after appeals. She was excluded for technical reasons at Knockhill, but was reinstated, and crowned the winner.

In 2017, she raced in the Ginetta GT5 Championship, as a senior. It was a somewhat inconsistent season, but she managed two fourth places and one fifth at Rockingham.

At the end of the season, she won the BWRDC Ladies' Race at the Walter Hayes Trophy on handicap, having finished second on scratch to Sarah Moore in another Ginetta.

Katie is the daughter of rally driver Johnny Milner.

(Image copyright LAT)

Friday, 6 April 2018

Female Saloon Racers from Thailand

Tachapan Vijittranon

Thai female drivers have made significant inroads into their national saloon racing scene in recent years. Most are active in the Thailand Super Series. A manufacturer-supported women-only one-make series for the Toyota Vios provides a way in for a few. Thai racers Nattanid Leewatanavalagul and Tachapan Vijittranon are now competing abroad too.

Phattaraporn Chongkitkhemmathat - raced a Honda City in the Super Production class of the Thailand Super Series in 2016. She was fifth in Class C, with two third places. This appears to be her only season in the championship. Previously, she raced a Toyota Vios in a one-make series in 2015. That year, she took part in a six-hour enduro in the car at Bangsaen.  

Nattanid Leewatanavalagul (Kat Lee) - Thai racer who competes in one-makes and touring cars in Southeast Asia. She was third in the Thailand TCR Championship in 2017, driving a SEAT Leon. She won one race at Bangsaen, and scored four second and two third places. This followed two seasons in the Thailand Super Series, driving a Honda Jazz for Morin Racing. She won class C in 2015. Her earliest experiences of motorsport appear to be in a women-only series for the Toyota Vios in 2014. She entered the Chinese Mini Challenge in 2018.

Yotha Pavinee - raced in the Super Eco class of the Thailand Super Series. She was sixth in the 2017 championship, driving a Honda Brio. Her best overall finish was a ninth place at Buriram. In 2018, she is staying with the Thai Super Series but has moved into the Super Compact class, driving a Honda Jazz for Morseng Racing.  

Tachapan Vijittranon (Ploy) - Thai driver who raced in the Finnish touring car championship in 2017. Her car was a Mini. She had a best finish of second at Parnu from the six rounds that she entered, and she was eleventh in the championship. This was her first foray into European competition, although she has been active in Thai racing since she was 14, in 2012. Her first car was a Honda Jazz. In 2016, she was picked up by a women’s motorsport initiative run by Mazda, and drove a Mazda2 in the Thailand Super Series. She was racing in the Super Compact class and averaged a fourth-place finish throughout the year. It was her second season with the car.

(Image from

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Ruth Bowler

Ruth Bowler, affectionately known as Ruthie, has been a regular in Aussie Racing Cars since 2008. She started her 200th race in the series in 2016.

Driving a Ford Falcon, she was 25th in her debut season. The car was leased from the factory for part of the season. When the lease expired, Ruth bought a Yamaha-engined Ford Coupe, which she originally used for testing. This car and versions of it became her regular ride for the next ten years.

She was 19th in her first season driving the Ford, in 2009. This was the first year of a six-season partnership with Armstrong Motorsport. She did full seasons for the team until 2014. She was not the most competitive driver out there, but she had a decent finishing record. In 2013, she became Aussie Racing Cars’ most prolific female driver, having amassed more starts than Danielle Walton and Brooke Leech.

Her best season points-wise was 2012, when she was 14th overall.

In 2014, she had a part-season in Aussie Racing Cars with Armstrong Motorsport. She took part in four races for the team. This was her last year with them and she set up her own “Ruthie Racer” team for 2015. Her support crew at Symmons Plain, Australia’s Tasmanian track, was the all-female “Tassie’s Fastest Ladies”. They were local kart racers raising awareness of both breast cancer and women in motorsport.

A complete season in 2015 gave her a championship 20th place, with a best finish of eighteenth, at Highlands and Phillip Island.

She did not do quite as well in 2016, and sat out some of the mid-season races. Her best finish was 24th, and she was 28th in the championship. This was still enough to pick up a women’s championship at the Clipsal support race. She now had rivals for the ARC “fastest lady” crown, with Charlotte Poynting and Emma Clark improving.

Her overall finishes in 2017 were better, the best of these being a 15th place at Symmons Plain. A few DNFs mid-season meant that she was 30th on the leaderboard. The ARC had four regular female drivers that year, including Ruth.

Her season was cut short due to needing reconstructive surgery on her left leg. This was not the result of a racing accident, but a serious problem with the lymphatic system. The surgery meant that she was unable to walk for some time. When she returned to the track in February 2018, she had only been walking unaided for three weeks. She intends to complete as much of the season as possible and regain as much fitness as she can before she has the next round of operations on her leg.

She now races the only original Ford Coupe in the series.

(Image copyright Girls Torque Motorsport)

Friday, 30 March 2018

Samantha Tan

Samantha Tan (right) with her ST Racing team-mate, Aurora Straus

Samantha Tan is a Canadian driver who races in the Pirelli World Challenge in the USA. She has made her way through the Touring classes to the GTS class.

She raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014. Her car was a Mini Cooper, and she was fifth in the Touring class, and ninth overall. Her best finish was fourth, at Mirabel, and she was usually in the top ten. This was quite remarkable, given that she was only 17 years old, and in her first full season of motorsport.

Previously, she had only done a little NASA stock car racing in 2014, with some success. She had been interested in cars from a very early age and was one of the youngest people ever to take part in the Ferrari Driving Experience at Mont Tremblant.

In 2015, she raced in the Pirelli World Challenge for the first time. She was driving a Kia Forte Koup run by Kinetic Motorsport. Despite a bumpy start at Circuit of the Americas, where she did not finish any of her three races, she had a decent season, with fourth spots at Mosport and Miller. She was sixth in the championship.

Mid-season, she also found time for some rounds of the CTCC, in a Mini, scoring one third place at Toronto from three starts.

Most of 2016 was spent in the Pirelli World Challenge, where she drove a Honda Civic in the TCA class. She was sixth in the class championship, with a best finish of sixth and a consistent finishing record. Her form was slightly better in the early part of the season.

Late in the season, she made two guest appearances in the CTCC, and was fifth and seventh at Bowmanville.

A third season in the World Challenge in 2017, driving a BMW, proved difficult. Her best finishes were two fourteenth places at Circuit of the Americas and she was 29th overall. This was her first year in the TC class and was a step-up in power. TCA is a lower horsepower, “limited preparation” class, while TC allows cars up to TCR spec to compete.

In 2018, she decided to remain with ST Racing, her team from 2017. She is driving a BMW M4 in the GTS class of the World Challenge with Nick Wittmer. They were sixth and third in the first two races at Circuit of the Americas.

(Image copyright Sean Krinik)

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Alexandra Mohnhaupt

Alexandra Mohnhaupt is a Mexican driver racing in Formula 4 and Formula 3. In 2018, she became the first female driver to win a Formula 4 race.

She counts her home town as Puebla in Mexico, but she has both German and Mexican family. She races under a Mexican license and her career began there, in karting.

2015 was her debut season in senior racing, although she was only sixteen years old. She started in the NACAM F4 championship in Mexico. Out of thirteen races, she scored eight top-tens, the best of these being two sixth places, at Pegaso. One of these was from pole position. She was fourteenth in the championship.

The NACAM championship runs over the winter period. After the Mexican season finished in June 2016, she travelled to the UK to compete in the British F4 series. This proved a challenge for her, although by the end of her season, she was edging towards top-ten finishes, such as her eleventh place at Knockhill. She did six races, competing at Knockhill and Snetterton.

She raced in the NACAM series again from 2017 and was seventh overall, coming close to a podium finish at Toluca. This was one of five top-five finishes she earned that season. She was the leading driver for her team, Momo F4.

Her three British F4 guest spots were less successful. She entered the Snetterton round again and was fifteenth in all three races.

Another winter season in the NACAM series followed. She was immediately on the pace, with a third and two seconds in her first races at Mexico City. At her home track of Puebla, she won two of her three races, the first woman to win a Formula 4 race anywhere. This took her to second in the championship. She held second after a third, fourth and fifth at Aguascalientes.

Shortly after her Puebla wins, it was announced that she would be racing in the UK again, this time in the BRDC Formula 3 championship. She is driving for Douglas Motorsport alongside Jamie Chadwick.

(Image copyright Liliana Velazquez Leon/Sintesis)

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Flick Haigh

Flick in 2016

Flick Haigh races GT cars in endurance events, in the UK and abroad.

She got into motorsport through a track day in 2005, when she was 21, and through her father’s historic rallying. For a long time at the beginning of her career, she was a Caterham racer. She started in the Caterham Classic Graduates series in 2007, and was seventh in her first year. In her second, she was fifth, and she won the series in 2009.

Between 2010 and 2013, she raced in the Caterham R300 Superlight Championship, finishing seventh overall in 2010 and 2012.

During this time, she also raced a Ginetta in some Britcar endurance races, as well as in the Dubai 24 Hours in 2013. She was 27th in a Ginetta G50, run by Optimum Motorsport and shared with Lee Mowle, Joe Osborne and Ryan Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe was her partner for Britcar; they won their class in a night race at Donington in 2012, despite Flick never having raced in the dark before, and almost running out of fuel at the end.

In 2014, she partnered Sarah Reader in the VdeV Endurance Challenge in France. The car was a Juno prototype. Their best overall result was ninth, at Paul Ricard, although they scored well in class. They were 39th overall, as their other results were not as good as their Paul Ricard efforts.

In 2015, Flick took part in her second Dubai 24 Hours, driving an Aston Martin Vantage for Speedworks Motorsport. She was third in the SP3 class, 29th overall, driving with Paul O’Neill, Devon Modell and Paul Gilbert. Driving a Ginetta G55 for Optimum Motorsport, she won her class in the Mugello 12 Hours, and was 16th overall, as part of a three-driver team. A similar team was 34th in the Barcelona 24 Hours.

Back at home, she made guest appearances in the GTA Cup and the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, driving the G55. In April, she entered the Donington rounds of the GTA Cup, and won the GTA class in her first race. She started the second from pole, but was seventh overall, and then did not finish. Later, in August, she tackled the Snetterton Ginetta Supercup meeting, and left with a tenth and two sixth places.

She did several international endurance races in 2016, starting with the Dubai 24 Hours, driving an Audi R8 LMS for Optimum Motorsport. She and her four team-mates were fourth overall. They were tenth in the Mugello round of the 24-Hour Series, but did not finish at Paul Ricard. A return to the track for the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup in August gave them a fourth place. In December, they were an impressive second in the Gulf 12 Hours, held at Yas Marina. This was a positive end to a strong year.

She stuck with the same car and team for 2017. Her first race was the Dubai 24 Hours, in which she was fourth in class. The other drivers were her regular team-mates Joe Osborne and Ryan Ratcliffe, plus Christopher Haase of Germany.
She was also fifth in the GT3 class of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, with three podium finishes from five races. She and Joe Osborne were third at Paul Ricard and the Red Bull Ring, and second in the season opener at Monza. They also entered the the two Le Mans races, and were ninth and fourteenth.

Her plans are more home-based in 2018. She is contesting the British GT Championship in an Aston Martin Vantage. The seat is a continuation of her long-running association with Optimum Motorsport and her team-mate is Jonny Adam.

Her first race in British GTs made history: at Oulton Park, Flick became the first female driver to win a British GT race, having started from pole. This was not only a first for a woman, but a first win for Flick the first time out in the car.

(Image copyright