Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Inès Taittinger


Inès at Le Mans

Inès Taittinger is best known for her appearance at Le Mans in 2016. She mostly races sportscars in her native France.

She made her debut in 2009, driving a Ligier prototype in the VdeV championship, at Magny-Cours. This was her only race of the year, and she was 22nd, driving the car with her father, Hugues. They were sixteenth in class. She had been encouraged by her godfather, Philippe Alliot, who had let her drive a Ferrari a few years earlier.

She continued in this car in 2010, supported by the Blue One team, and scored her first points at Aragon. She entered five races that year. In the first race, at Jarama, she and Hugues finished, but were unclassified. Inès did not race at Mugello, but was eleventh overall at Aragon, tenth in class. Another non-classified finish followed at Lédenon, then a line-up change for the Paul Ricard race gave her a fourteenth place. Olivier Dupard partnered her instead of Hugues. Back together with her father, she did not finish at Dijon. Blue One entered two Ligiers at Magny-Cours, and  Inès was seventeenth, with Philippe Alliot and David Tuchbant. The last round, at Estoril, led to another DNF.

In 2011, she remained in VdeV, driving another Ligier JS51 for two rounds, for Springbox Concept this time. She and Amandine Foulard were nineteenth overall at Dijon, seventh in the Open class. At Magny-Cours they were tenth and third in class, one above Hugues in a similar car.  

Driving for a different team, she also raced a Formula Renault in the VdeV series’ Monoplace (single-seater) Challenge, at Magny-Cours. She took part in three races, with a best finish of seventeenth.

Away from VdeV, she drove in the SPEED Euroseries for Springbox, partnering Amandine Foulard in a Ligier again for four rounds, at Paul Ricard and Silverstone. Their best finish was seventh, at Paul Ricard, and they were 49th in the championship.

2012 proceeded in a similar manner, with Springbox, although the car had been updated to a Ligier JS53. She raced at Dijon and Paul Ricard, sharing the car with Amandine Foulard and Jonathan Cochet respectively. She and Amandine were twentieth, but Inès and Jonathan Cochet did not finish. In the SPEED Euroseries, she entered the Paul Ricard and Spa races, four in all. She was eighth at Paul Ricard and ninth at Spa, leaving her in 37th in the championship.

For 2013, she returned to VdeV full-time, in the modern Endurance Challenge. Her car was a Norma prototype, run by CD Sport, and her team-mate was Kvin Bole-Besancon. She started well, qualifying second at Catalunya, and finishing in eighth place. Despite qualifying quite well at Mugello and Paul Ricard, she did not finish at either circuit. She and her team-mates were then sixth at Dijon, and an impressive third in the Aragon 12-hour race. Inès finished the season with a sixth at Magny-Cours and a fifteenth place at Estoril. She and Kvin Bole-Besancon were eighth in the championship.

As well as a full season in VdeV, she took part in the TTE touring car series, which confusingly has a prototype class. She won one race at Albi in the Norma, and was third in a six-hour race at Magny-Cours. Proving that she had a taste for real endurance, she drove in the Fun Cup 25 Hours at Spa, as part of a six-driver Kronos Racing team that included Margot Laffite.

She drove the CD Sport Norma in VdeV again, in 2014. Her season started well enough with ninth at Barcelona. By the fourth round, at Dijon, she was really getting into her stride, and was third overall. She was then a disappointing 23rd at Aragon, where she had run so well the year before. A little later, she was back on the podium at Magny-Cours, with second place. Her inconsistent but not bad season was enough for thirteenth in the championship. 

2015 was the year that she started setting her career sights higher. She stated her aim to race at Le Mans in 2016. For the past few seasons, she had been working on her fitness and stamina, which had paid off in VdeV. Grabbing any chance she could for a Le Mans race seat, she signed up for a racing reality TV show called “Race to 24”, where the prize for the winning driver was to compete at the Sarthe classic. The show never made it into production, but Inès used the publicity generated to raise her public profile, with several TV appearances. This made her a more attractive prospect for sponsors, especially when public reaction to her was very positive.

She did do some racing in 2015, competing for CD Sport in VdeV, in the Norma again. Barcelona was a forgettable race for her and her team-mates, and Mugello was slightly more encouraging, despite being far from what Inès was capable of doing. Things improved at Dijon with an eighth place, but then she did not finish at Paul Ricard. The season ended well, with sixth place at Magny-Cours and tenth at Estoril. She was 23rd in the championship.

Everything changed at the start of the 2016 season. Inès left the CD Sport set-up and joined Pegasus Racing. Her former team-mate, Amandine Foulard, had been part of the team for some time a few seasons ago. She would be racing a Nissan-engined Morgan in the LMP2 class, both in the European Le Mans Series and at Le Mans itself. Her team-mates were Léo Roussel and Rémy Striebig. In interviews, she stated that her aim for 2016 was to learn, and it was certainly a tough beginning to the season, when the car only lasted 90 laps at Silverstone, after setting some strong times. She was twelfth at Imola, again setting very competitive lap times. The Austrian round was another disappointment, retiring after 123 laps. A seventeenth place at Paul Ricard was a little more promising.

Inès’s individual performance at Le Mans itself was barely criticised, but during one of her stints, the Morgan caught fire, meaning a risky trip back to the pits and instant retirement. Still, she was the only Frenchwoman to race that year, and her profile was higher than ever, which bodes well for future sponsorship.

Throughout her racing career, she has supported the French charity, Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, which helps children born with heart defects. This is a cause close to her own heart, as she was born with cardiac problems herself. This has not stopped her from pursuing a sporting career at the highest level.

(Image copyright Frédéric Veille)

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Natalie Goodwin


Natalie in the Lotus 7/20

Natalie Goodwin is most famous for racing in Formula 3 in the 1960s. The British Women Racing Drivers’ Club’s annual racing trophy is named after her.

Natalie was from a background that was both privileged and sporty. Her mother, Marjorie, was a member of the Cussons family, and the Marketing Director of the Cussons toiletry firm in the 1970s. She played hockey for England. Natalie’s cousin, Nick Cussons, started racing GT cars in 1959. However, her initial first love was music; she played piano to concert standard, and performed in a jazz band with her brother. After losing a fingertip in an accident involving a door, she had to stop playing professionally, and seek other things to do.

She bought her first racing car in 1961, when she was twenty-one years old. It was a boyfriend, rather than any of her relatives, that stirred her interest in motorsport. Her racing career started very badly, reversing into a pit wall at Silverstone, but she carried on and finished the race, not even in last place. Among her first cars were a Mini Cooper, Mini Marcos and an Austin-Healey 3000. Soon, she was winning club races.

For the first few years of her racing career, she often drove Lotus cars. The 7, initially painted black, carried her through her many of her early days in British club racing. Between 1962 and 1964, she raced the car both as a self-entry, and as part of the Ashley Smithy Garage team, which necessitated a change of paintwork to a McLaren-esque orange. The three drivers used custom number plates for racing, reading “NAT1” (Natalie), NIT1 and NUT1. As well as racing for Ashley Smithy, she worked for them, handling paperwork.

In 1964, she bought a Lotus 7/20, one of only two built, although at least four replicas were produced. It was a Lotus 7 with independent rear suspension and the brakes from a Lotus 20 Formula Junior.  Hers had previously been owned and raced by Colin Chapman, David Porter and Wendy Hamblin. She sold her original 7 to the team, and kept the 7/20 for three seasons, before selling it to an American collector.

1965 was the year that she switched her attention to single-seater racing, acquiring the first of her Brabham Formula 3 cars. Not stopping there, she purchased two more, and set up her own three-driver team to take on the European Formula 3 circuit, along with her brother. John Cardwell and Dave Rees were her other drivers. Managing the paperwork at Ashley Smithy had proved to be useful training.

Her first outing on the European stage appears to have been the Pau Grand Prix, which she entered in a Brabham BT15, but did not qualify for. Her first Formula 3 finish was at Magny-Cours, where she was twelfth. The best of the Goodwin Racing Brabhams was driven by John Cardwell, who was third. Goodwin Racing then took three cars to Zolder, and Dave Rees was third, in a BT9. Natalie had planned to race, but did not. The team had its best race of the year at Chimay, the Grand Prix des Frontières: John Cardwell won, Natalie was seventh and Dave Rees, ninth. At Caserta, John Cardwell was second. Natalie did not finish, despite coming third in her heat. It was a similar story at Monza, although Natalie did not qualify this time. None of the Goodwin cars finished at Rouen, and the team then pulled out of the Ville Nevers Grand Prix, at Magny Cours. A few more entries for John Cardwell followed, but Natalie did not race herself.

As well as its European forays, the team competed on and off in F3 in Britain. Natalie’s best finishes were a pair of second places, at Oulton Park and Aintree, which she earned in 750MC and BARC races. She was also seventh in a BARC event at Aintree.

Goodwin Racing went even more international in 1966, starting the year with a race in Buenos Aires for John Cardwell. He contested the Argentine F3 series in a BT15, with some top-five finishes. After this, he parted ways with Natalie and her team.

At Pau, a Brabham BT18, driven by Charles Crichton-Stuart, was added to the team. He had moved over from Stirling Moss’s SMART team. Natalie, driving a similar car, made her first appearance at the Barcelona GP, but did not finish. Monza in May was a similar scenario. Natalie’s first finish of the year was at Chimay again, where she was thirteenth. She did not qualify at La Châtre, after not finishing her heat, and lost out at Vallelunga, too. At Caserta, Charles Crichton-Stuart broke into the top ten, but Natalie struggled again. Neither BT18 qualified at Monza in June. Driving solo, Natalie entered the 1900 F3 championship in France, and finished fifteenth at Rouen. After another couple of DNQs, she was tenth at Hockenheim, in the Touring Car Grand Prix support race. After another couple of disappointments, Natalie earned another finish at Zolder, a fifteenth place. This was during a spell of competition in Belgium with Charles Crichton-Stuart, and it was her last finish of the year.

As well as the European calendar, Goodwin Racing was a semi-regular presence in British Formula 3, with either Natalie or Charles Crichton-Stuart as driver. Natalie’s British season did not really get going until late on, and she managed a best result of fifth, in the Louth Trophy at Cadwell Park. She was also eighth at Silverstone and Mallory Park.

The following year, she proved she could cut it as a driver as well as a team owner, and apparently won her first major F3 race. Unfortunately, the details of where this win happened are proving hard to find.

In the UK, Goodwin Racing was mostly represented by Natalie, as a single-car entry. She was particularly effective at the more northerly circuits, such as Oulton Park and Rufforth, close to her Cheshire home, and particularly after she swapped the BT18 for a newer BT21. Her best result was third, at Oulton Park.

In Europe, she dismissed the BT18 and made her debut in May, at her favoured circuit of Chimay, in her new car. She was fourteenth overall. At the Prix de Paris at Montlhéry, she was third in the “B” race, which left her classified 21st in the main standings. A fifth followed at La Châtre, at the beginning of June. A run in the Coupe de Paris gave her an eleventh place in September.

After running a car in the Argentine championship the previous year, Natalie got to drive there herself in 1967. Her best result was seventh, at Mar del Plata.

The same year, she tried her hand at endurance racing, and entered the Spa 24 Hours. She drove a Goodwin Racing Ford Lotus Cortina with Cyril Williams. They finished, but were unclassified. A second Goodwin Racing Lotus Cortina did not get to the end.

In 1968, she had another go at endurance racing, sharing Jean Denton’s MGB at the Nürburgring 1000km. They did not finish. Jean and Natalie had previously raced against each other in Formula 3, in 1965.

For much of the year, she was still campaigning the BT21 for Goodwin Racing. In the UK, they entered the MCD Lombank Championship, with principal driver, Cyd Williams. Williams served the team well, winning some races, but Natalie was no slouch behind the wheel either, earning herself a second and third at Oulton Park, her favourite British circuit, and a fourth at Rufforth.

During the early part of the season, she raced in Spain, but struggled to qualify or finish her races there. In April, accepting a drive from the Paul Watson Racing Organisation, she was fourth in the Sprite Cup, at Jyllandsring. She was also eleventh at Roskilde, driving a BT21 for Tony Birchenough’s team. As a Goodwin Racing entry, she was eighth and seventh in the Prix de Paris races at Montlhéry. A couple of weeks later, she was fourth again at Jyllandsring. At the start of June, she was sixth at Chimay, another circuit at which she usually ran well. During the year, she also raced in Portugal and Finland, although she did not do as well there.

Natalie and Cyd Williams continued as a two-car Goodwin team for the 1969 season. Driving the BT21, Natalie was ninth at Barcelona in May. Later in the month, Chimay gave her a seventh place, and she was ninth at Reims in June. She did enter more races, in France and Sweden, but either did not finish, or did not qualify. That year, she competed at Monaco, and was almost prevented from starting by police, who refused to believe she was a genuine driver. Graham Hill ended up vouching for her.

British F3 was not her major priority in 1969, although her team remained a regular presence. A Chevron had been added to the Goodwin stable, which was driven by Alan Rollinson, among others. Natalie declined to race herself for most of the season, although she put in an appearance at the Oulton Park BARC race, and was sixth overall.

1969 was her last season of active competition. During her time in F3, she had raced against the likes of Piers Courage, François Cevert, Patrick Depailler and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, sometimes getting the better of them.

Between 1964 and 1967, she was Britain’s highest-performing female driver, and won many awards from the British Women Racing Drivers’ Club, of which she was a founder member, alongside Mary Wheeler. In recognition of her success, the BWRDC awarded their original racing trophy to her in perpetuity. Natalie responded by donating three silver trophies to the club, which are still named the Goodwin Trophies, and are awarded to this day. She was also a Vice-Chairman of the club for many years.

(Image copyright Ferret Fotografics)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Female Drivers at the Macau Grand Prix


Tatiana Calderon in 2014

The Macau Grand Prix is the longest-standing motorsport event in Asia. It started life as a motorised treasure hunt, then became a sportscar race, before evolving into a single-seater event. It ran under Formula Libre rules from 1961 to 1973, then becoming part of the Formula Pacific championship in 1974. Since 1983, it has been a Formula 3 race, and has been contested by Formula One hopefuls from around the world, including Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

The race is held on the Guia street circuit in Macau, a Chinese special territory. Speeds reached at Macau are can be extremely high due to the circuit’s long straights. As well as the single-seater race, the event hosts a major touring car race (previously the finale of the WTCC), a motorcycle Grand Prix and a number of support races for saloons, sportscars and local single-seater formulae.

Women drivers have been a distinct rarity throughout the history of the Grand Prix. More have contested the Guia touring car race, or the other support races, and there have even been pro-am women’s races on the bill in the past. Anne Wong won the touring car race in 1970, in a Mini. However, only a handful of female drivers have contested the blue-riband Grand Prix. 

Below is a list. It may be added to in future, as the results for the earlier runnings of the race are not easy to find.

1976
Diana Poon  - DNF?

1980
Desiré Wilson (Ralt RT1) – 6th

1983
Cathy Muller (Ralt RT3) – 12th

2014
Tatiana Calderon (Dallara-Mercedes) – 13th

(Image from www.tatianacalderon.com)


Friday, 5 August 2016

Robyn Hamilton ("Charlie")


Robyn at Bathurst, with Frank Gardner and Ralph Radburn

Robyn Hamilton raced in saloons and Formula Ford in Australia, with some success, in the 1970s. She was famous for using the nom de course of "Charlie", after her sponsor's perfume. Her reputation on-track was an aggressive one.

She began racing on circuits in 1976, although she had been involved in the illegal street drag racing scene for some time, having started during her undergraduate studies. Apparently, “a brush with the law” caused her to enrol in Frank Gardner’s racing school.

Her first wheel-to-wheel circuit experiences came in the Formula Gemini one-make series, for Holden Gemini saloons. The championship had a reputation for crash-happy driving, and on her third-ever race, Robyn was involved in a nasty-looking shunt at Calder, in a race which had seen a six-car pile-up in the first lap. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in 1978, she claimed that the male drivers deliberately ran into her to scare her, and dissuade her from racing.

A second season of Formula Gemini in 1977 led to her first win, which was one of two that year, including one at Calder. She had learned from her peers in 1976, and soon developed a reputation for the sort of hard driving the series was known for. Some went as far as describing her driving style as “dirty”, so willing was she to take risks.

In 1977, she also drove in the Renault Newstar one-make series, and was regarded as one of its stars. She won three races, at Winton, Adelaide and Sandown. She came quite close to winning the title, which would have meant a trip to Europe to attend a prestigious racing school.

A one-off Ladies’ Invitational Race was held at Oran Park that year, which had a decent grid of fifteen experienced racers, mostly from touring cars. They drove Renault 12s. Robyn was the winner, and walked away with a thousand dollars, provided by Ansett Airways. In mixed competition, she was 23rd in the Phillip Island 500k, driving a Gemini.

In 1978, she took part in the Bathurst 1000 with Ralph Radburn. Their Holden Torana failed to finish, following an electrical failure, although they were classified in eleventh place. 

Never one to shy away from publicity, Robyn appeared in some quite famous images during her time at Bathurst. She had had a race suit made for her, after complaining that existing suits were dull and did not fit her feminine physique correctly. The resulting set of overalls proved very figure-enhancing, and Robyn’s back view made the papers. She claimed afterwards that this was not deliberate, and that the suit was too tight.

After 1978, she moved away from saloons and into single-seaters. It was during the 1979 season that she raced under the nom de course of “Charlie”. This was intended as a publicity stunt to promote Revlon’s Charlie perfume line. Robyn had approached Revlon with this marketing idea, but they were not keen on it immediately. She changed her name nevertheless, in a move designed to persuade them to sponsor her anyway. The final aim of this career move was to secure funds to race in Europe.

On the track, she proved a very capable driver. In her first full season she was fourth in the Formula Ford Driver To Europe series, driving an Elfin 620B. She scored one podium finish, a second place at Oran Park.
In 1980, she continued to be competitive, finishing in the top three, three times. She was fifth in the championship, and her media profile remained high.

After the 1980 season, her career tailed off sharply. She ended up leaving motorsport behind, and threw herself into business instead. She was a make-up artist, working for Revlon, then later founded her own beauty salon, and a company that runs three catamarans sailing around the Sydney bay area. As of 2016, she is still sailing catamarans.

(Image from Robyn’s Facebook page)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Lucette Pointet


Lucette (right) with Jacqueline Fougeray and the DS, after their 1966 Monte Coupe des Dames

Lucette Pointet was a French rally driver and co-driver, who often drove a Citroen DS.

Born in 1936, she started rallying at a young age, acting as a navigator to a family friend, Nicole Pizot, the daughter of Paul Pizot, another rally driver. Nicole’s rally car was a DB Panhard, which was an unusual choice, but seemed reliable enough. Some sources say that the duo began their automotive adventures in 1954 or 1955, with Lucette’s parents arranging her entry for the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally, but her name does not appear on the 1955 Monte entry list. They were definitely competing together early in 1959, when Nicole, with Lucette on the maps, was second in the Paris-St. Raphaël women’s rally. They first appear in the Monte in 1960, in the DB, starting at Paris, but are missing from the final classification. Apparently, their first event together was the Rally of Beaujolais, but the date of this is uncertain. Other sources state that Nicole Pizot only started rallying in 1958, which fits in with the Monte start lists.

Early in her career, she apparently drove karts as well as rally cars, but no information about this is forthcoming.

In 1961, she drove a Renault Dauphine 1093 in hillclimbs, running particularly well on snow and ice. This was her first experience of driving herself. As well as the climbs, she did some stage rallying, and proved a very capable driver, finishing third in the Neige et Glace Rally with Simone Petit. Navigation had not been forgotten, and this year, she sat beside drivers including Gérard Larrousse. The following year, she drove a Volvo in rallies and hillclimbs. The results are not forthcoming.

For the 1963 season, she became involved with the Paris-Île de France Citroen team, having met its manager, René Cotton, the previous year. This was her first time with a fully funded car, with her own recce vehicle and service crew. The car was a DS19; the DS was a model that would become almost synonymous with Lucette as a rally driver. She repaid Cotton’s confidence in her by winning the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally, despite a small crash and an attempt by another team to get her disqualified. They claimed that the loss of some bodywork in the accident left Lucette’s car underweight, but this was thrown out.

The rest of the 1963 season was spent as a navigator to Claudine Bouchet in another DS19. The pair figured strongly in Coupes des Dames, and Claudine was sixth overall in the Tour de Corse. After Claudine moved to the Lancia team for the 1964 season, Lucette took over as the team’s main Coupe des Dames hopeful.
Her 1964 co-driver was usually Françoise Houillon. The pair tackled the Monte Carlo and Acropolis rallies together, although it is not clear whether or not they finished. The Acropolis was a difficult event for them, as Lucette was struggling with illness, and had quite a severe crash at one point. As well as driving herself, navigation still remained part of her rallying life. She read the maps for Jean-Claude Ogier on the Alpine Rally.

The Paris-Île de France operation took over the running of the works Citroen team in 1965, taking Lucette with them. She continued in her dual role, utilising both the familiar DS19 and the newer DS21. She drove the latter on that year’s Monte, and was a respectable 25th overall, third in the Coupe des Dames rankings. She reverted to the DS19 as part of a ten-car Citroen attack on the East African Safari, and was fourteenth, third of the DS19s and winner of the Coupe des Dames. As it often was, the 1965 Safari was a real car-breaker, and the fact she finished at all is a testament to Lucette’s driving skill.

In 1966, Lucette and her new co-driver, Jackie Fougeray, finally won a Coupe des Dames on the Monte. Later in the year, in September, she added another Coupe to her collection, in the Alpine Rally, finishing in thirteenth. In between, she took part in the Geneva Rally, and was an excellent tenth. This was a privateer outing in a Panhard 24CT; Jean-Claude Ogier was third in a similar car. At the end of the season, she tackled the Rallye des Routes du Nord in a Citroen, but crashed out heavily at Reims, and had to be airlifted to hospital.

In addition to her international rallying activities, Lucette was a regular fixture in the French championship, usually in a Citroen. She won the French ladies’ championship in 1967. One of that year’s best results was an eighth overall in the Mont Blanc Rally. Her international outings that year were limited to a run in the Monte Carlo Rally, in which she was 33rd, behind Sylvia Österberg for the Coupe des Dames.

In 1968, she was runner-up in the French rally championship. On the international stages, she achieved a twelfth place in the Rally of Portugal, driving a DS21 with her new co-driver, Michèle Veron. Her two other world outings were the two classic French rallies, the Monte and the Tour de Corse, but she did not finish either. As a navigator, she was once again paired up with her partner, Jean-Claude Ogier, and helped him to win the Safari Calédonien Rally. Her brother lived on the island of New Caledonia, and the pair only entered after deciding to visit him, and being persuaded by a Citroen team.

Away from Citroen, Lucette also acted as a navigator to Rosemary Smith in the London-Sydney Marathon, in a Ford Lotus Cortina. They finished the gruelling event in 48th place. Rosemary had been tipped to win the Coupe des Dames, but a series of problems, including a cylinder failing on the car, having to drive backwards up the Khyber Pass, and almost becoming the victims of a highway robbery, dropped her and Lucette down to third. Communication difficulties between the pair did not help matters.

A much quieter year followed in 1969. Lucette, having travelled the world with Rosemary Smith in 1968, only did one major international rally, the Rally of Portugal. She drove a DS21, but did not finish. As a navigator, she helped Jean-Claude Ogier to another win in the Safari Calédonien Rally.

Lucette and Jean-Claude married in 1970, and continued to rally Citroens as a couple, with Lucette using the name Pointet-Ogier. Breaking one long-term relationship as she cemented another, she did some rallies in France as a driver, using a Ford Capri and Escort prepared by Ford France. Among the rallies she entered in the Escort was the Tour de Corse, which she did not finish. She was sixteenth in the Critérium Alpin and 24th in the Rallye Neige et Glace.

1971 was her last active season as a regular competitor. She navigated for Jean-Claude Vinatier in an Alpine-Renault, in France and also in the Rally of Jamaica.

Along with her husband, she came out of retirement for one event in 1982, to drive a Citroen Visa in the Acropolis Rally, which had been one of her first major rallies. Sadly, they did not get to the end. After that, she worked on the organising committee for French rallies, including the Tour de Corse and the Monte.
During her career, she was twice French ladies’ rally champion, although the dates are proving hard to track down. She was (and remains) quite a private person and not as much has been written about her as about some of her contemporaries, such as Claudine Trautmann. Relatively few photographs of her have been published.

Her daughter, Catherine Ogier-Falzon, has competed in rallies, and in recent years, has navigated for her father in historic events. Her son, Jean-Francois Pointet-Ogier, played ice hockey internationally prior to his untimely death in 2009.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Lucile Cypriano


Lucile on the podium in 2015

Lucile is a French driver who races saloons. She was the winner of the 2013 FIA Women in Motorsport Scirocco-R Shootout.

Prior to her burgeoning senior career, she raced karts from the age of twelve, winning her first race at seven years old, and finishing in the top ten of several French championships. During her time in karting, she was scouted by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission as a future talent.

Her first step into senior motorsport was in 2013, in the French F4 championship. She was still not quite seventeen. Her best finish was eighth, at Le Mans, at the start of the season. It was not the most consistent of years for her, and she was troubled by non-finishes later on, but this was a learning period. She was 21st overall in the championship.

At the end of 2013, she was selected for the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s Scirocco-R Shootout. She was one of twelve young drivers who got through to the final stage, and she beat the likes of Naomi Schiff and Gosia Rdest to the award. Her prize was a funded season in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Championship in 2014.

In 2014, she took her prize drive in the VW Scirocco-R Championship. She held her own on track, and finished all ten rounds. Her best overall finish was eighth, achieved at the Norisring and Oschersleben. She also finished in the top ten on three more occasions: two ninths and a tenth. She was twelfth overall, second out of the championship’s four female regulars.

In 2015, the Scirocco Cup was shelved, to be replaced by the Audi TT Cup. Lucile was set to make a double-pronged attack on the Audi TT one-make series, and the SEAT Leon Eurocup. After quietly dropping out of the TT Cup, her main focus became the SEAT series, and it was a good move. Lucile scored her first senior win at Catalunya, in the last round of the season, having managed two previous thirds, at Estoril and Monza. She was ninth in the championship. 

She also had her first taste of full international competition, making a guest appearance in the Spanish rounds of the TCR International Series, driving a SEAT Leon. Out of two races at Valencia, she scored one twelfth place.

The SEAT Leon Eurocup was her chosen destination for 2016, building on her 2015 success. At the time of writing, she has scored a second place at Estoril and a third at Paul Ricard.

She continues to be supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.

(Image copyright Lucile Cypriano)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Anett György


Anett in 2016

Anett György is a Hungarian driver who races a Lotus Elise in the Hankook Racer Cup in Hungary.

She began her racing career in 2013, in the Lotus Ladies’ Cup, which was based in Eastern Europe. She was seventeen years old, and the youngest driver on the grid. It took her a few races to get into her stride, but she was soon fairly competitive, and averaging fourth or fifth place. Her first podium was at the Hungaroring, behind Adrienn Bende and Liesette Braams. She was fifth in the championship.

Anett returned to the Ladies’ Cup in 2014, and was soon one of the front-runners. By the time the series was cancelled in August, due to a dispute with the Hungarian motorsport authorities, she had scored three third places from six races, and had started from pole at the first round at Oschersleben. Unfortunately, she did not finish that race. She was fourth overall.

Later in the season, she joined the RCM Swift Cup for the last three races, at the Hungaroring. It proved a tough initiation, and her best results were two fourteenth places.

In 2015, she did the full series, and was a much improved driver. In her first race at the Hungaroring, she broke into the top ten, finishing ninth. During the season, she averaged tenth place, with a pair of sixths, at the Slovakiaring and the Hungaroring, as her best results. She was tenth in the championship.

In 2016, she went back to racing a Lotus Elise, but now in mixed competition. She entered the Hankook Racer Cup, and started the season in the best way possible, with a maiden win. This was followed by a second and third win at the same meeting. At the time of writing, she is leading the championship after a fourth win, at the Pannoniaring, a third and two second places.

During her first Lotus season, Anett became one of a tiny handful of father/daughter racing pairs to compete in FIA-sanctioned series at the same meeting. Her father, Gábor, also competes in the RCM Cup, and they raced against one another in 2015. The same year, Anett navigated for her father on the Szilveszter Rally, in a Suzuki Swift.

(Image copyright Anett György)