Saturday, 18 November 2017

Female Drivers in TC2000 in Colombia

Miriam Gil and Maria Paula Martinez

Colombia has a thriving saloon racing scene. Its premier touring car championship is TC2000 (Turismo Carretera). This is a multi-class championship with two sections for novice drivers (Academy), plus a Junior class and a main TC2000 class. Women drivers have been a feature of TC2000 for many seasons now. Most are from Colombia, but the championship also attracts drivers from the surrounding countries.

Maria Isabel Bonilla – Colombian driver who races touring cars in her domestic championship. Between 2012 and 2013, she took part in the Colombian TC (Turismo Carretera) Academy, in an attempt to get onto the professional racing circuit. Her cars were a SEAT and a Mazda. She was most successful in the SEAT in 2012, and managed one podium place. In 2016, after a break, she raced a Chevrolet in the TC2000 series in Colombia, in the Junior class. She was the highest-placed driver in her region and was sixteenth overall in the championship.

Maria Isabel Cajiao - raced in the TC2000 touring car series in Colombia. She competed in 2005 and 2006, driving a Honda in 2006 at least. Both years, she was seventh in the championship, and the leading female driver. After 2006, she was linked to a drive in a “PanAm” Grand Prix series, but this did not happen. Little other information about Maria Isabel’s other racing activities, or biographical data, appears to exist.

Jennifer Cañon - has raced touring cars in Colombia since 2014. Her first year in cars ended in a second place in the Academy B Class of Colombia’s TC2000, driving a Citroen. She repeated this in the the more competitive A class in 2015. A second season in the A class in 2016 was not as successful, and she was 22nd after missing the first two rounds. She did another incomplete season in the Citroen in 2017, and was 36th in the championship. She has also done some endurance races, including the 6 Hours of Bogota.

Miriam Gil - Venezuelan driver who races in TC2000 in Colombia. In 2017, she formed an all-female team with Maria Paula Martinez, for karting and TC2000. She raced a Lada in the second-string TC2000 series in 2017. Most of Miriam’s experience has been in karting, but she first raced in touring cars in 2014. She drove a Chevrolet in the Academy B class of Colombian TC2000 and was promoted to the A class before the end of the season, although she could not make the top-three shootout.   

Mary (Maribel) Gonzalez - finished eighth in the 2017 Colombian TC2000 Academy B class, driving a Fiat 147. She is another driver whose consistent approach is her strong point; her best finish seems to have been a fifth place. She shared the car with Edwin Carrillo, who used it in the Academy A class. 2017 appears to have been her first season in TC2000.

Maria Paula Martinez – Colombian touring car driver who started racing cars as a junior. 2013 seems to have been her debut season. In 2015, she won the TC2000 Academy development series outright. Her car was a Chevrolet Swift. Prior to this, in 2014, she was one of the top five Academy drivers. Her first year included a win in a Ladies’ race in TC2000. In 2016, she raced the Chevrolet in the Junior class of TC2000 Colombia, and was 39th overall after a strong, but short, part-season.

Maria Camila Medina - drove in the Colombian TC2000 touring car series between 2005 and 2007. She began with a part-season in 2005, before  two more substantial efforts at the championship. Her best overall finish was 30th, in 2006. Details of her cars are not widely recorded. At the end of 2007, she was linked to a drive in European Formula 3000, but this does not appear to have happened. In 2009, she is listed as a driver for the Petrobras 6 Hours of Bogota race, driving a Van Dieman. She did a couple of Latam Formula 2000 races in Miami in 2014, and was fifth and sixth, representing Colombia.

Paola Oliveros - raced in TC2000 in Colombia in 2017, in the A class. Her car was a Suzuki Swift GTi and she was part of a female team with Miriam Gil and Maria Paula Martinez. Her final championship position was 16th in Class A. She has been racing since at least 2014, when she took part in a TC2000 ladies’ race in aid of breast cancer charities. Her car was a Chevrolet.

Tatiana Perez - raced an El Mako JAC in Colombian TC2000 in 2017. She was competing in the Academy B class. Her season started well enough, but she dropped out part-way through. This left her in 41st place in the drivers’ standings. 2017 was her second attempt at TC2000, having had a similar year in 2016, when she entered the first round, but did not finish due to electrical problems.

Laura Rodriguez - finished joint second in the Colombian TC2000 Academy B class in 2017. She was driving a Mazda with her father, Javier. The duo’s consistent finishes helped them, although they have not quite managed to challenge for podiums. This was Laura’s second season in the series, after a couple of starts in 2016 in a Fiat.

Manuela Solorzano - raced a Peugeot in the Colombian TC2000 championship in 2017. She was competing in the TC A class, and was ninth overall. This was her second season in this championship and class; she was twelfth in 2016, in a similar car. This seems to have been her first season in a car. Previously, she was active in karting, and competed internationally between 2011 and 2015.

(Image from

Monday, 13 November 2017

Angelique Germann

Angelique and her team in 2016

Angelique Germann is a German driver who was racing in national-level Formula 3 in Europe. She was one of the front-runners in the CEZ series in 2017, after winning the German title in 2016.

Angelique’s father, Andreas, raced in Formula Three across Europe and continues to do so, therefore it was natural that she gravitated towards this style of competition. She began racing single-seaters in a serious way in 2014. That year, she raced in the mostly Eastern European-based Remus F3 Cup. Her car was a Dallara 305 Opel, run by her father’s racing team. Her best finishes were two ninth places, at Poznan, and another two top-tens at Salzburg.

She continued to race a Formula 3 car in 2015, entering two championships: the Central European Zone (CEZ) F3 series and the Remus F3 Cup, formerly Austrian F3. She used a Dallara F311 for both. Her F3 Cup season took in just over half of the championship. Her best result was a ninth place at Brno, at the end of the season. She was less successful in her part-season in the CEZ series, in which her best result was 17th at Brno. She did have the small consolation of finishing in front of her father, who was 18th.

As well as F3, both Angelique and Andreas had at least a guest appearance in the Italian F2 championship. Angelique was driving a Dallara F308 run by Franz Wöss Racing.

In 2016, she made something of a breakthrough in the sport. She entered the Central European Zone F3 championship and the Remus F3 Cup and performed well in both series. A highlight was winning a Cup race at Lausitz and finishing fifth in the championship. She was sixth in the CEZ championship, with a best finish of fifth. Her breakthrough race was the first CEZ round at Most, where she was seventh. Her fifth followed shortly afterwards. She was fifth in the Remus F3 Cup.

The German F3 Cup ran parallel with these two series. Despite a slightly shaky start at the Red Bull Ring, she won seven of the next ten races and took the championship comfortably. Her nearest rival was her father.

Her fourth season in Formula 3 was spent moving between the Remus Cup, the CEZ series and the German F3 Cup. Driving for Franz Wöss Racing again, she scored one win, at Hockenheim, and four second places, behind her team-mate Philipp Regensberger. Regensberger won the German championship and eleven out of the fourteen races.

She did not do quite as well in the European-based Remus series, although she held her own. Her best finish was a fourth place at Spa, and she was seventh overall. The CEZ championship seems to have run alongside the European one, as Angelique’s scores seem to be very similar.

Previously, she raced an NSU TT in historic events, from at least 2012, sometimes with her father. Away from motorsport, she is a keen horsewoman.

(Image from

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Marisa Panagopulo

Marisa in 2012

Marisa Panagopulo is an Argentine driver, active since the 1990s.

Marisa’s early forays into motorsport were in karting and midget racing. She did race karts extensively from the age of about fourteen, sometimes with her brother, Carlos. It took a while for her to be able to move up to cars; she was still karting as a senior in 1986, when she was 18.

She seems to have started her senior career in 1994, in a Nissan Sentra, which she raced in the Copa Damas. This was a one-make series for female drivers, which was shown on television. She won the 1994 championship.

In 1995, she was part of Formula Hyundai Femenina, another touring car championship for female drivers. Her second year in cars gave her another winner’s trophy.

Her first appearance in the leading TC series was the 2 Hours of Buenos Aires in 1996. She shared a Ford Falcon with José Larroudé and finished 16th. This was the first of three races that she did in the Falcon, and her best finish. In a different car, a TTE prototype supported by Citroen, she made her debut in the Mil Milhas at Interlagos. Her team-mates were Delfina Frers and Suzane Carvalho. They do not seem to have finished.

That year, she also raced a Citroen AX and a Volkswagen Gol in one-make series. She appears to have won at least one race in the AX.

After that, she took a break from motor racing, partly due to finances. During her time away, she became a mother.

She returned to karting for many years, in order to satisfy her competitive urges.

Marisa made a circuit comeback in 2012. With Delfina Frers, Lorena Blanco and Carolina Eiras, she was part of an all-female team for the Fiat Linea Cup. She was ninth in the Rosario race.

Since then, she has returned to competitive karting, and made a guest appearance in the ASM Championship in 2014. She was driving a Fiat Uno. She also dabbles in historic racing.

(Image from

Friday, 27 October 2017

Eleanor Allard

Eleanor Allard competed in trials, sprints and hillclimbs from the 1930s onwards, with some success, but she is best known for rallying during the early 1950s.

Married to Sydney Allard, she had access to works Allard cars. The couple met through Eleanor’s brother, Alan May, who was a fellow car owner and racing colleague. They were all members of Berkhamstead Motor Club.

Before the war, she was mainly active in trials. She and Sydney sometimes drove together. In 1936, they had a lucky escape on the Colley Experts’ Trial; their Allard-built CLK5 overturned and trapped them underneath.

It was not until the late 1940s that she began to compete seriously. Starting in 1947, she made a name for herself in sprints and hillclimbs. Her first major result was a second place in the ladies’ class for unlimited sportscars in the 1947 Brighton Speed Trials, in an Allard. She came second to Betty Haig. The following year, she was ninth in the class for standard sportscars over 2000cc.

In 1949, she won the ladies’ award in the Blandford hillclimb, in a 3622cc Allard. The same year, she entered the RAC British hillclimb championship and was third in class at Prescott, behind Sydney, who won. The couple competed against each other again at Craignantlet, with Eleanor in a J2. Her third Brighton Speed Trial resulted in an overall ladies’ class win, seven seconds faster than Mrs Treen in her Riley.

She improved even more in the 1950 Speed Trials, finishing seventh overall. Her car was a Cadillac-engined Allard. Once more, she was just behind Betty Haig.

Her first big rally was Monte Carlo, in 1950, which she did not finish after starting at Glasgow. She was driving a 4400cc Allard P1, and had her sister, Edna Wood, as navigator.

In 1951, she drove in the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally, and was one of the fastest on the hillclimb and sprint stages. Unfortunately, she managed to get lost in the Alps after winning the Lausanne hillclimb. She had telephoned her husband to say that she had had to retire her Allard P1 owing to engine trouble, and that she was on her way to Geneva to find a suitable garage. Only a short time later, she turned up in St. Raphaël. By the time the story of her disappearance had hit the British papers, she had reappeared again, with Edna in tow.

In 1952, she drove an Allard P1 on the Monte, the year Sydney won, although her own efforts were seriously affected by an off-road excursion. She and her navigator knew that Sydney was due to pass them on the road, and hoped that he would stop to help. When he did pass, however, he did not stop. Having seen that the crew were unhurt, he passed on his way, apparently shouting “see you in Monte Carlo” out of the window.

Later, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Daily Express Rally. This event had a huge entry list of over 400 cars, but it is proving very difficult to find a complete results list.

Her navigators were always one, or both, of her sisters, Edna (Wood) and Hilda (Johnson).

She died in 2001, aged 88.

(Image from

Monday, 23 October 2017

Jenny van Hilten

Jenny van Hilten is most famous for racing a Group B-spec Ford RS200 in Europe in the late 1980s. She is from Luxembourg, and did most of her racing in the Netherlands.

Jenny and her husband Bram bought the RS200 in 1987. It had been used as a pace car by the factory previously.  

One of her most memorable races was at Zandvoort in 1988, when she entered the NTK (Dutch Touring Car) round there. After making the most of her four-wheel-drive in the wet in the Group A Super Touring race, she was fourth overall. This was her only NTK race of the year.

That year, she also drove  an RS500 in the Spa 24 Hours, with Evert Bolderheij and Bernard Winderickx. They did not finish.

She did another 24-hour race in 1988, driving a Honda Civic at the Nürburgring 24h as part of a Luxembourgish team. Her co-drivers were Carlo Gillen and “Lou”.  

Jenny, driving with her husband Bram van Hilten this time, and a driver called Phillips, returned to Spa in 1989, in the Honda Civic. They were 38th overall.  

That year, she made another appearance in Dutch touring cars, driving a Ford Fiesta XR2. Bram had made some appearances in the car earlier in the season and Jenny ran in the final round at Zandvoort. She was second in class in the Group A race, behind Bram in another XR2.

In 1990, she competed in the Citroen AX GTI Cup, and managed some top-five positions. She was noted for her pace in qualifying. Mid-season, she was third in the overall standings, second in the Ladies’.

The following year, she opted for another one-make series: the Ford Fiesta Mixed Cup, which was based in Germany. She was already familiar with the XR2s used by the series. Her male team-mate was Thomas Wirtz, a German driver. The series that year was dominated by Sabine Schmitz/Thomas Marschall and Claudia Hürtgen/Michael Funke. As a pair, Jenny and Thomas were not among the front-runners, although Jenny was sixth in the women’s points table.

The van Hilten/Wirtz pairing did another Mixed Cup season in 1992. Again, Sabine Schmitz and Thomas Marschall were runaway winners, but Jenny and Thomas had a decent season, and were fifth in the team standings. Jenny was second in the ladies’ championship.

Alongside her circuit racing career, Jenny became an adept hillclimb driver. In 1988, she won her class in the Lorentzweiler climb in the RS200. She repeated this in 1989. The Lorentzweiler course is the closest thing that Jenny had to a home circuit, being situated in Luxembourg.

(Image from

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Ladies' Automobile Club

Millicent, the Duchess of Sutherland, with her daughter

The Ladies’ Automobile Club was Great Britain’s first dedicated motor club for women. It was not exclusively a motorsport association, but it was one of the first bodies to organise motor races for women in the UK.

Talk of a women’s motor club began in 1899. Newspapers described the actress Lily Langtry as one of its first members, and Viscountess Haberton as the founder. Little else was heard for three or four years.

In 1903, it starts to be mentioned in the papers again, with Lady Cecil Scott Montagu was its first acknowledged leader. Between 1903 and 1904, the original club seems to have collapsed. Contemporary reports claim this was due to disagreements about membership criteria. Only ladies in “society” were intended to join. Most of the early members were from the titled classes.

Millicent, the Duchess of Sutherland, became its first president in 1904. She oversaw the first Club event in June, a meeting and group drive from Carlton Terrace in central London to the Ranelagh Club in Barnes, via Pall Mall and the park. Fifty-six cars were involved. Many of the ladies drove themselves, although some relied on their chauffeurs. This fact was did not go un-noticed by observers. Among the observers on the day was Queen Alexandra, who watched the parade from the window at Buckingham Palace.

The club’s first AGM was the following month. Rooms were acquired at Claridges Hotel for the use of members, as well as a garage.

Most of the LAC’s activities were social in nature. Typically, one member would hold a meeting at her house. This was followed by a drive out, often to the Ranelagh or Hurlingham clubs, for tea. In 1904, an engineer was booked to give a series of talks on the workings of the internal combustion engine. From time to time, other talks were given, sometimes by members themselves, on aspects of motoring, or their own four-wheeled adventures. Maud Manville spoke at length about her experiences in the Herkomer Trophy in 1906.

In the beginning, there was ambitious talk of a ladies’ team being assembled for the Gordon Bennett Cup. This died down after the false start of 1903. In 1905, some women-only competitions started to be organised by the club. The first of these seems to have been a Ladies’ Handicap at the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials. The Handicap was for touring cars, and was entered by six women.

Heat 1
  1. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)
  2. Christabel Browne (Cupelle 10hp)
Heat 2
  1. Maud Manville (Daimler 35hp)
  2. Mrs Nevill Copland (12-14hp Talbot)
Mrs Guy Hardy (10hp Panhard)
Mrs Benett-Stanford (13-17hp Dixi)
  1. Mrs Herbert Lloyd
  2. Maud Manville
Only a few days later, the LAC ladies were enjoying their first dedicated gymkhana at the Ranelagh Club. The Ranelagh was the venue for Britain’s first women’s motor race, and had hosted a variety of women’s sports in the past ten years, including a bicycle gymkhana and carriage-driving competitions. Eleven members entered the gymkhana, which consisted of three races and two “appearance competitions”. The results of the races were as follows:

Bending Race (8 starters)

  1. Christabel Browne (10-12hp Cupelle)
  2. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)

Crawling Race (7 starters)

  1. Mrs Todd Newcombe (16-20hp Richard-Daimler)
  2. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)

Bomb Race (7 starters)

  1. Maud Manville (16hp Daimler)
  2. Mrs Todd Newcombe (16-20hp Richard-Daimler)

Another LAC gymkhana was held at the Ranelagh Club in 1906. Details for this event are less forthcoming. One of the races was a “Police Trap Race” where drivers had to do a lap of the grass track in a certain time, without the use of a speedometer or a stopwatch. The closest to the time was the winner. A Mrs Harry Adams won. Her car is not recorded.

The Police Trap Race was one of five driving competitions that day. The others were a Bending Race, Crawling Race, Ball Race and Tilting at Rings. A Mrs C Farrar won the Crawling Race and Tilting at Rings. Again, her car is not recorded.

A further gymkhana may have been held in 1907, or at least some ladies’ races. By then, ongoing problems with waterlogging on the polo pitch that was used as a racetrack meant that events were sometimes cancelled.

The LAC eventually became affiliated to the RAC. Its peak years as an actual motor club were between 1904 and 1910. After that, it becomes more of a social club; ladies did not even have to own a car to be members. It moved to its own premises in 1923.

Winifred Pink, herself an accomplished racing driver on sand, was one of its later presidents, in 1927. As women were admitted into more motor clubs, it gradually became redundant and was eventually absorbed into the RAC.

(Image from Tatler magazine?)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Gloria Castresana Waid

Gloria Castresana Waid is a Spanish driver who was active in the 1960s, in both rallying and circuit racing.

She began competing after her marriage to Jim Waid, in 1963. She had only had her own car for three years, but had been interested in motoring for a while. Her first car was a Simca Sport.

The couple had met in the Canary Islands in 1961, where both were working for an oil company. Gloria was not a Canary Islander; she had come from Vitoria to work. Jim was American.

Gloria’s early competitive outings were in the Canaries. The islands hosted a lot of local motorsport due to favourable tax rules.

By 1965, she was taking part in major rallies. That year, she won her class in the first running of the La Palma Rally. She was also seventh overall in the Rallye Isla de Tenerife, co-driven by José Lopez Moreno. Her car was a Mini Cooper S.

Later, in 1967, she acted as a navigator to “Miss Spain”, Paquita Torres, in the Rallye Femenino San Isidro. She helped her driver to a win in the Slalom section. The same year, the Jarama circuit in mainland Spain opened. Gloria was a regular there from the beginning, having participated in the racing festival held to inaugurate the track.

In 1968, she raced in the 3 Hours of Jarama, a European Touring Car race. Her car was a Fraser Hillman Imp usually raced by her husband, and its halfshaft broke. She normally drove her Mini on the circuits.

Race results for Gloria are hard to find. Records of Spanish motorsport before about 1969 are very sketchy.

Her career finished in 1970, when she moved to the United States. Initially, she worked for a Porsche-Audi dealership in New York. She later continued her education in languages, earning a PhD. Now, she is still a respected scholar in the field of Basque Studies.

In the past two or three years, she has returned to Spain to live and published a book about her life.

(Image from