Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Women's Global GT Series

Belinda Endress, Sonja Bayer and Milka Duno

This championship ran in 1999 and 2000, and was organised by Don Panoz and Lyn St. James. It consisted of a series of races for female drivers in Panoz Esperante sportscars, and supported the ALMS. Up to 41 cars per meeting competed during the first year. Drivers were selected by the organisers, and came from all over the world. There was a mix of seasoned professionals, up-and-coming racers and enthusiastic amateurs from various walks of life, including Kiki Wolfkill, a video game designer and amateur racer, ex-F1 driver Divina Galica, sportscar specialists Amy and Niki Ruman, and young American hopefuls, such as Sara Senske.

The winner in the first year was Cindi Lux, after a close-fought battle. A little-known German driver, Sonja Bayer, won in 2000, after several years in one-make championships in Europe.

After 2000, Panoz decided that the series was uneconomical and opened it up to male drivers, renaming it the Panoz Racing Series. The cars remained the same.

The WGGTS attracted mixed opinions during its two-year tenure. At first, it was not taken seriously by the press or spectators, but some of the competitors earned the respect of doubters by taking on their male counterparts in other races. One such group was Cindi Lux, Divina Galica and Belinda Endress in 1999, who entered the main ALMS round at Petit Le Mans.

The series appears to have been a reasonably successful training ground for future female racing professionals, although many of the entrants were already into their careers, and it is hard to gauge whether the WGGTS helped them or not. One beneficiary was Milka Duno, who used the WGGTS as a springboard into sportscar racing in the USA, after some success in South America. She also competed in the Panoz Racing Series, after the demise of the WGGTS.

1999 Championship:
1. Cindi Lux
2. Divina Galica
3. Milka Duno
4. Sara Senske
5. Kiki Wolfkill
6. Audrey Zavodsky
7. Allison Duncan
8. Belinda Endress
9. Niki Ruman
10. Nikki LaRue
11. Bobby Marshall
12. Dana Moore
13. Amy Ruman
14. Judy Ray
15. Sonja Bayer
16. Jennifer Tumminelli
17. Sarah Wahl
18. Giovanna Amati
19. Melanie Snow
20. Jennifer Bretzel

Also entered: Renée Eady, Pat Enzman-Alspach, Terri Hundertmark, Janet Pendergraph, Liliana de Menna, Wendy Davis, Leslie Davis, Shauna Marinus, Linda Lemelin, Donna Lisciandro, Jenny Sheehy, Sunny Hobbs, Jenny Hohfeldt, Vickie Kinder-Fritz, Kandy Lynn, Patty Sledge, Whitney Young.

2000 Championship:
1. Sonja Bayer
2. Divina Galica
3. Belinda Endress
4. Milka Duno
5. Audrey Zavodsky
6. Cindi Lux
7. Nikki LaRue
8. Terri Hundertmark
9. Dana Moore
10. Amy Ruman
11. Sarah Wahl
12. Sherri de Coursey
13. Niki Ruman
14. Alisa Kincaid
15. Kiki Wolfkill
16. Shauna Marinus
17. Renée Eady
18. Karen Salvaggio
19. Liz Boeder
20. Rayner Taylor

Also entered: Helen Bashford, Bobby Marshall, Melissa Grunnah, Jenny Sheehy, Wendy Lee.

Below are short profiles of some of the more successful WGGTS drivers not featured elsewhere on the blog.

Sonja Bayer - winner of the Women’s Global GT Series in 2000. This came towards the end of her career, which started in 1994. She tried both single-seaters and touring cars, including Formula Ford and Formula BMW, before gravitating more towards saloon racing, which she did exclusively between 1997 and 1999. In 1998, she raced a BMW M3 in the VLN, with Robert Bayer. Between 1997 and 1999, she also raced in the Citroen Saxo Cup in Germany, with a best finish of eleventh, in 1998. After her WGGTS win, she did some races in the Panoz Pro Series that followed it, in 2001, as well as two rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany. Her last major race seems to have been the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2004, driving an alternative-fuel Volkswagen Golf.

Belinda Endress - began motorsport in SCCA club events, winning four championships between 1995 and 1998. She moved up to national circuit racing in 1999, via the Womens’ Global GT Championship. Driving a WGGTS-spec Panoz the following year, she won a round of the Panoz GT Winter Series. The same year, 2000, she teamed up with her fellow WGGTS alumni, Cindi Lux and Divina Galica, for the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. They were 20th, sixth in class, in their Porsche 911. In 2001, she contested the Panoz Pro Series, winning one race and finishing third overall. After that, she drove in some rounds of the Grand-am Cup in 2002 and 2003, with mixed results. In 2005 and 2006, she took part in SCCA stock car races, finishing second in the championship.

Cindi Lux - one of the stars of the Women's Global GT Series, winning it in 1999. Since then, she has won additional regional and national titles in touring and sports cars. During her time in the WGGTS, she also took part in two ALMS races, finishing in the top 10 of the GT class. These were the Petit Le Mans races at Road Atlanta in 1999 and 2000. In 2000, she was 20th in a Porsche 911 GT3 with Belinda Endress and Divina Galica. In 1999, she, Danny Marshall, Steve Marshall and Chris Hall were 24th in a Carrera RSR. She returned to the ALMS in 2007, driving a Dodge Viper at Mid-Ohio with Stan Wilson. They were 22nd, seventh in class. Away from the ALMS, Cindi has competed extensively in SCCA events in a variety of cars. She has won ten national championships between 1988 and 2006. In 2007 and 2008, she raced in the SCCA World GT Challenge, and was its highest-performing female driver, with one fifth place.

Niki Ruman (Skinner) - sister of Amy Ruman, but competes less frequently. They occasionally share a car. Her normal car is a Spec Racer which she uses in SCCA events. Her first win came in 2005, at Sebring, but so far, she has not repeated it. She was also part of the WGGTS for two years, in 1999 and 2000, with a best finish of fifth. In 2011, after several years of limited seasons, she was second in a race at Summit Point. Every year, she makes guest appearances at Summit Point for the SCCA Majors.

Jennifer Tumminelli (Lefler) - US racer with ALMS and Womens’ Global GT experience. In 2000, she drove in both the Grand-Am and ALMS championships, in different Porsches. She and her Racer's Group team-mates were ninth in class in the Road America 500 Mile race and the Grand Prix of Mosport. With Dick Barbour Racing, she was eighth in class at Portland. Her best overall finish was eighteenth, at Sears Point. She took part in four ALMS races. On the Grand –Am side, she raced at Mid-Ohio and Road America. Driving for Racer’s Group, her best finish was 30th, ninth in class, at Road America. Previously, she raced Mazda single-seaters in the States, and then took part in the WGGTS in 1999 and 2000.

Kiki Wolfkill - raced sportscars in the USA and did some major events in the form of the Grand-Am Cup in 1999. She was one of the competitors in both seasons of the WGGTS. For several seasons, she drove in various SCCA series, including regional races in a Porsche 924 in 1999. Outside racing, she is a designer of motorsport and other games for consoles. She took a sabbatical from motorsport in 2002 and since then, has restricted herself to non-competitive driving events such as the Cannonball Run and One Lap of America.

Audrey Zavodsky - one of the major players in both runnings of the Women’s Global GT Series, and the winner of the first race, in 1999. She was sixth in 1999, and fifth in 2000, despite not repeating her win. Later, she also competed in the Panoz Racing Series that replaced the WGGTS. In 2003, she was third in the championship, with one win. She made one appearance the following year. Before her Panoz exploits, she raced in SCCA Regional events for four years, with some successes. She does not seem to have raced much since 2004, although she has remained somewhat in the public eye. Outside of motorsport, she is an occupational health nurse.

(Image from www.theracesite.com)

Women in Belcar

Kelly Jamers in 2009

Belgium’s premier endurance championship has attracted a good number of female drivers since the 1990s. International sportscar racer Vanina Ickx had some of her early experience in the series, and Alexandra van de Velde has also competed further afield.

The championship was originally for touring and GT cars together, but its focus has shifted more towards sportscars in recent years, becoming a GT championship in 2007. Its blue riband event was the Zolder 24 Hours race.

Belcar has now been superseded by the Belgian Racing Car Championship (BRCC). Until 2013, the Zolder 24 Hours was part of it, but it now runs as a stand-alone event.

The following drivers have all competed in Belcar or the BRCC. Most of them are Belgian nationals.

Danique Aelaerts – competes in drifting in Europe, but has also done some circuit racing. She began her drifting career in 2009, and had her first circuit races in 2013, in a Mazda MX-5. She raced in that year’s Zolder 24 Hours in the Mazda, as part of the “Racing Stars” women’s team, who had come together for a TV programme. Her co-drivers were Veerle Bammens, Eveline Maes and Anke de Dauw. In the Endurance section of the Belgian Racing Car Championship, she drove a Porsche 996 with Sarah Ganser and Karen Vaes. They were 17th in the first round, at Zolder, but Danique was replaced by Charlotte Maes for the rest of the season. In 2014, she took part in the Zolder 24 Hours again, in a Porsche 996. She was eleventh, assisted by Karen Vaes, Gideon Wijnschenk, Bart van Haeren and Filip van Eename. She has also done some historic rallying in Belgium, in a 1983 Alfa Romeo GTV6. Most of 2016 was spent drifting and doing film stunt work, before a leg injury in October curtailed her activities.

Peggy Aerts - Belcar sports class racer in 2002 and 2003. Her car was a KS Motorsport BMW M3. In 2002, her best finish was 20th, accompanied by Michael de Keersmaecker and Jacques Morlet. They were first in the TA class. Her 2003 team-mates were Werner Moonens and Jurgen Lippens. Their best result was fourteenth in the Zolder 24 Hours. Peggy does not appear to have competed since then.

Carla Brackx - popular touring car driver from Belgium. She competed in Belcar between 2000 and 2002, before apparently leaving the motorsport world to concentrate on business interests. For all three seasons, her car was a BMW E36 Compact, usually run by Mienwest, but in 2002, the Jim TV team. She scored some top-three finishes in the TB class. The Zolder 24 Hours was her best race, and she scored her best-ever overall finish of 20th there in 2002. Her co-driver for all three seasons was Pieter Vierpoort. She was the Ladies’ champion in 2002. In 2012, she made a comeback of sorts, and appeared at a track day at Spa.

Frederike Cassiers - winner of the Belcar Ladies’ Trophy in 2001, driving a Porsche 993. Her team-mates were Philip Daelemans and Marc Meuwissen. Her best result was a tenth place, fourth in class, in the Zolder 24 Hours. Mostly, she finished in around 23rd place. 2001 appears to have been her only year of major competition.

Joyce de Troch - raced a Porsche in Belcar, on and off, between 1998 and 2002, with consistent lower-midfield finishes. In her first year, she did two races at Zolder, driving a 911 with Walter Grootaers and Patrick Schreurs, including the Zolder 24 Hours. She was partnered by Paul Moonen in 2001. Their car was a Coast Racing 993. Joyce was fourth in the Ladies’ standings. She and Moonens stayed together for the 2002 season, driving for Coast and Ham Car Tuning. Their best finish was 28th, twelfth in class, at Spa. Away from the track, Joyce is an actress and TV presenter.

Caroline Grifnée - drove for the Daikin team in Belcar in 2005 and 2006, with Alexandra van de Velde. In the first year, she was a third driver, but she replaced Vanina Ickx in 2006. Their car was due to be a Ferrari 360, but a practice crash and loss of a sponsor meant this was changed to a BMW 120d. The team also took part in some Dutch Supercar rounds, and won their class at Spa. Since leaving the Daikin set-up at the end of 2006, she has competed in Legends and 2CV races, including the annual 24-hour event at Spa. On the international stage, she drove a Porsche 997 GT3 for Speed Lover at the Dubai 24 Hours. Her team-mates were Jose Close, Victor Rodrigues and Jim Michaelian. They did not finish. She has also raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup in Belgium. In 2009 and 2010, she competed in Renault one-make series, including the Renault Megane Eurocup in 2010. In 2011, she drove again in the Dubai 24 Hours, and won Class A2 in a Renault Clio, as part of the iOpener team. In 2014, she drove a Porsche 911 in the Le Mans Classic, and was 31st in Plateau 4. Her co-driver was Carolyn Twaites. In 2017, she raced a Chevron B16 at Spa, part of the FIA Masters Historic Sportscar Championship. She was 17th. She remains involved in motorsport in a professional capacity, as a sporting manager for the Renault E.Dams Formula E team.

Audrey van Ham – raced a Porsche in Belgium. From about 2010, her name starts to appear in starting lists for Belgian historic events, including the 2010 Belgian Historic Cup at the Zolder 24 Hours, and the 2011 Spa Summer Classic. She has also raced more modern machinery, and was part of a Skylimit Yokohama team for the 2013 Zolder 24 Hours. Her team-mates were Karen Vaes, Jo Lammens and Charlotte Maes. They were twelfth overall, driving a Porsche 996. Audrey got into motorsport through her father, who also races historics.

Kelly Jamers - another Belgian racer. She raced in Belcar in 2003 and 2005. Her 2003 car was a BMW M3, and she was fourth in class TA. In 2005, she drove a Porsche GT3. She has taken part in the Zolder 24 Hours twice, and her best result was sixth, in 2004, driving the GT3. She used a similar car for the 2006 Dubai 24 Hours. Aside from endurance racing, she has competed in one-make series for Renault, Toyota and the Mini Cooper. She began her career in a Clio in 1999, before campaigning a Megane in 2000, with one eleventh place. She moved to the Toyota Yaris Cup for two seasons in 2002 and 2003, with a best overall result of thirteenth. The Mini Challenge was combined with her other commitments in 2004 and 2005, which included a class win in the Belgian Touring Cup, driving a Porsche 993. In 2009, she made a comeback, driving a Porsche in the Dunlop Sport Maxx Endurance Cup.

Stéphane Kox - races saloons and single-seaters in the Benelux countries. She is the daughter of Peter Kox, and they teamed up in BMW 235I with three other drivers to win the 2015 24 Hours of Zolder. Her run in the 24 Hours was part of a season in the BMW 235 Racing Cup in Belgium, which she won outright. That year, she scored two second places in the same car, in the Assen rounds of the Supercar Challenge. In 2016, she did some races in the VdeV Endurance championship, driving a Porsche, and took part in the 24 Hours of Paul Ricard in a Mercedes. In 2017, she raced an Audi TT at the Imola 24 Hours, but did not finish. She also took part in two European GT4 races, driving a KTM X-Bow. Her best finish was fifth, at Misano. She did best in the VdeV Endurance series in a Ligier, recording two second palces. She started racing in 2013, in ADAC Formel Masters, and was sixteenth in the championship, with a best finish of eighth, at the Slovakiaring.

Linsy Lanssens - raced in Belcar. She drove a Lotus Elise in the 1999 and 2000 seasons with Christophe Tuyttens. Their best result in 2000 was 33rd, at the Zolder FIA GT round. In 2001, she shared a BMW E46 with Alexandra van de Velde. Their best overall performance was 22nd in the Zolder 24 Hours, although they were third in class at Spa also. In 2002 she changed teams again, to the KS Motorsport operation. She and Michael de Keersmaecker did two races together in a BMW M3 E36, repeating Linsy’s best result of 22nd. She was then replaced by several other drivers. In 2004, she re-appeared as a guest driver in the Mini Challenge. More recently, she has competed in three-day eventing.

Charlotte Maes – races in endurance events in Belgium. In 2013, she took part in the BRCC Long Race series, after some races in the Fun Cup and in the Renault Clio Cup. She was competing as part of the Skylimit Yokohama Ladies team, with Sarah Ganser and Karen Vaes. Their car was a Porsche 996. She did not do the full season, but stepped in to replace Danique Aelaerts. Her best result was 15th, at Spa. She also raced in the Zolder 24 Hours, as part of a mixed Skylimit team with Karen Vaes, Audrey van Ham and Jo Lammens. They were twelfth overall.

Lieve Thiron - raced in the sports class in Belcar between 2000 and 2003, finishing as runner-up in the Ladies’ standings in 2001 and 2002. She normally finished mid-field. As part of Belcar, she has also competed in some bigger sports races, such as the Spa and Zolder 24 Hours. In 2000, she was fourteenth in the Zolder 24 Hours, thirteenth in 2001 and tenth in 2002, although she did not finish in 2003. All the time, her class results improved as well. She was usually part of a family team with her husband Dirk Geerinckx and later, their son Matthieu. Their car was either a Porsche 996 or 993 GT3.

Karen Vaes – races in the BRCC and the Zolder 24 Hours, in a Porsche 996. She participated in the Long Race championship of the BRCC in 2013, for the Skylimit team, and was 23rd overall, with Sarah Ganser. Her best finish was fifteenth, at Spa. In August, she also raced in the Zolder 24 Hours for the first time, and was twelfth, with Audrey van Ham, Charlotte Maes and Jo Lammens. In 2014, she raced at Zolder again, and was eleventh, second in class. Her team-mates were Danique Aelerts, Filip van Eename, Bart van Haeren and Gideon Wijnschenk. She is also very active in the drift scene, in a BMW M3 E36.

(Image from http://www.heusden-zolder.eu/)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Female Drivers in IMSA Sportscar Racing

Linda Ludemann

The IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) sportscar series began as a championship proper in 1971. It was based in the United States, but attracted an increasingly international field during its twenty-seven year history.

Originally open to GT and touring cars, it first admitted sports prototypes in 1981. These cars came to dominate, with manufacturers such as Porsche and Jaguar vying for the title. It was disbanded in 1998, although it has existed as a sanctioning body for sportscar racing in the States since 2001. It has recently re-emerged as a race organising body.

The series, at different times, ran the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, as well as other major sportscar events.

Many female drivers took part over the years, particularly in the middle period during the 1980s. Some, such as Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie, combined IMSA competition with open-wheel racing, and a few, such as Patty Moise and Kat Teasdale, also drove in NASCAR competition. Below are short profiles of some of the other female entrants. Deborah Gregg now has her own post, as does Bonnie Henn and Ashley Freiberg.

Sarah Cattaneo - finished second in the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge, driving a Nissan Altima. She and her team-mate Owen Trinkler won two races, at Virginia and Road Atlanta. In 2016, Sarah also won two races in the Challenge, driving a Honda Civic with Trinkler. They were 17th in the championship, which was their seventh run in it together. They began in 2010 with a Mini, before moving to the Civic in 2012. As well as IMSA, Sarah has raced in the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge, in the Civic, finishing seventh overall. She also made some guest appearances in the 2012 Canadian Touring Car Championship in a Mini.

Alice Graves - raced in IMSA in 1983 and 1984. Her car was a Porsche 914/6, which she shared with Richard Graves. In 1983, they entered the Road America, Pocono and Daytona Finale rounds, with a best finish of 17th at Pocono. In 1984, she raced at Mid-Ohio, Road America and Pocono. Their best finish was 25th at Mid-Ohio. The Porsche was not overly competitive, compared to newer 962s and Aston Martins. Details of Alice’s other activities are not forthcoming.

Linda Ludemann - raced in IMSA between 1987 and 1990, alongside Scott Schubot. She competed in the Lights class. Initially, they drove a Tiga GT285, with a best finish of eighth at Watkins Glen. They were also 16th at Daytona. The car was changed for a Spice SE88P in 1988, which was less reliable, and gave them a highest position of 15th, at San Antonio and Lime Rock. Reliability improved in 1989, and Linda became the first woman to win the Lights class, after victories at West Palm Beach, San Antonio, Topeka and Sears Point. They were also top-ten finishers three times, with a high point of sixth. Linda only did a part-season in 1990, still in the Spice, but proved she was still competitive with an eighth at Miami and a class win at Topeka. She did not compete in 1991.

Bobbee Nylander – competed in IMSA events between 1977 and 1982. The biggest race of her career was probably the 1977 Sebring 12 Hours, in which she drove a Porsche 911 with Gary Nylander and Michael Hammond. They were thirteenth, and third in the GTU class. Her best individual result was ninth, in the 1978 Sears Point IMSA race. Bobbee always drove a Porsche 911, and was a regular in the Riverside 6 Hours between 1979 and 1982.

Vicki Smith - raced sportscars up to international level in the early 1980s. In 1981, she had finished the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours in an AMC AMX. Her team-mates were Bob Lee, Tom Alan Marx and Sam Miller. In 1982, she was 25th at Daytona, driving a Porsche 911 and 22nd at Sebring. The Klaus Haus team, consisting of Vicki, Klaus Bitterauf and Scott Flanders, contested several more IMSA events that year, with a best finish of 17th, at Charlotte. Driving an Audi 80 for a different team, Vicki was 16th with Edgar Doren and Peter Aschenbrenner. During the 1983 season, she switched between the Klaus Haus Porsche and a Pontiac Firebird. Her best finish was another 16th, at Miami, in the Firebird. She continued in 1984, driving different cars, but was not as successful. She is now involved in classic motorcycle events.

Margie Smith-Haas - active in motorsport between 1978 and 1995. Mostly, she raced a Porsche 924 GTR as part of a team with Paul, her husband. Her first big race was the Road America IMSA round in 1979, but she really came into the spotlight in 1983, when she shared a Toyota Celica with Gene Hackman, for the Riverside Six Hours. They were 16th, fifth in class. After that, she joined the World Sportscar Championship, driving a series of Porsches in Europe and the USA. Her time there was plagued with mechanical difficulties, and she collected many DNFs. Her two attempts at Le Mans, in 1984 and 1985, driving a Porsche and a BMW respectively, also ended in retirement. A consolation was her sixth in class at Daytona in 1984, driving a Porsche 911 RSR. In 1988, she joined the American City Racing League, and won the title in 1994.

Aurora Straus - raced in the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge. Her car was a Porsche Cayman. She shared it with Connor Bloum, and they were eleventh in the championship. Her best finish was fourth, at Daytona, and she was almost always in the top ten. This was her second season in the series, having done two races in 2016. This made her, at 17, the youngest driver ever in the Challenge. She was eighth in her first race at Watkins Glen. Previously, she raced a Mazda MX-5 in 2015 and 2016, as well as undergoing driver training. She came straight into cars with no karting experience.  

Janis Taylor - raced sportscars in the 1980s, in the USA. Her first year of major competition was 1980, when she drove an Alfa Romeo Alfetta in the Sebring 12 Hours. She and her two team-mates, including her husband, Del, did not finish. For the next two seasons, she mostly drove a Chevron in IMSA events, including the Sebring 12 Hours, which she entered four times between 1980 and 1985. Her second attempt, in 1981, was as a solo driver, as her two team-mates did not start. In 1984, she switched to a Pontiac Firebird owned by Walter Johnston as her main car. Her best result was 21st, in the 1984 Riverside 6 Hours.

Kristin Treager - intended to compete in the IMSA GT3 Cup in 2014, driving a Porsche 997 GT3. She first entered the championship in 2013, taking part in the Road Atlanta and Road America meetings. Her results were three third places, and one seventh. She had a chance of the title until the final round, when she was hit by another driver and wrote off her car. In 2013, she also raced Porsches in the Porsche Club of America’s Cup Car Challenge, winning the GTC4 class. Previously, she has won other club championships, in Porsches, production stock cars and Bandolero racing. She also appears on motoring –related TV programmes in the USA. In 2014, she did not race, having lost her main sponsor due to the large costs incurred after her crash. She concentrated on driver tuition and TV work after 2015.

(Image source unknown)

Female Racing Drivers in Continental Europe, 1910-1950

Nina and Vincenzo Lo Bue

While Brooklands was operational in the UK, motorsport in Europe was also flourishing. The French oval circuit of Montlhéry was home to many drivers, male and female, and women were not excluded from the road-racing scene which centred around Italy. Its most famous events, the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, were never closed to them, and drivers of the calibre of Elisabeth Junek were among the front-runners. As well as these high-profile events, other circuits hosted a whole series of races. Many of the drivers also raced at Le Mans; there were far more female entries then than there are now.

Below are short profiles of some European female racers, who mostly competed in the period between the two World Wars. Maria Antonietta d'AvanzoMargot EinsiedelMadame Hellé-Nice, Lucy O'Reilly Schell, Jannine Jennky, Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier, Charlotte Versigny, Marie-Luise Kozmian and Odette Siko have their own posts. Rally drivers from this period appear in their own posts (1, 2). Lists of female participants in the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia are also available. American drivers of the early 20th century can be found here. French drivers of the period also appear here.

Mimi Aylmer - competed twice in the Mille Miglia, in 1929 and 1936. She drove a Lancia Lambda Berlina to 29th place in 1929, with A. Strignasacchi. In 1936, she and Gambellini drove a Fiat 508 Balilla Gas, but did not finish. Mimi was better known as a film actress.

“Miss Comerford” – early Irish driver. She drove in the 1933 Phoenix Park 50 mile race in Dublin, and is claimed to be the first woman from the British Isles to enter a road race. Her car was a Hillman Minx, and she was ninth in the Senior Race. During the same season, she won the 1100cc class in the De Selby hillclimb, and was second in the Unlimited class. Her given name is never used, and even her initials are unclear. She does not seem to have raced again after 1933.

Lia Comirato Dumas - undisputed queen of the Mille Miglia. She entered many times, and her best finish was second in 1948, driving a Fiat-Comirato 1100 Sport with her husband, Alberto. They were also fourth in that year's Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti, in a Stanguellini. They were eighth in the Fiat in the previous year's Mille Miglia, and had entered most Miglias since the mid-1930s. Like her husband, Lia sometimes participated in other races, driving solo.

Giuseppina Conti - drove a Bugatti T37 in races in 1927. She was eighth in the Circuito del Pozzo that year.

Marie Cousinet - raced a Fiat 509 in European cyclecar events in 1928. She was fifth in that year's GP des Frontieres.

Marie Depret (Desprez) - raced in French GPs and at Le Mans during the late 1920s and 1930s. She and Pierre Brussienne shared a Bugatti T34 at Le Mans in 1933. Previously, she had raced against Jannine Jennky in France.

Viviane Elder - French competitor who drove at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1949, sharing a Simca 6 with Rene Camerano. They retired on lap 95 when the crankshaft broke. In 1950, she was due to return to the 24 Hours in a Simca 1100, but did not make the start. Away from motorsport, Viviane was a film actress and aviatrix in the 1930s. She may have driven in the celebrity races which were popular in pre-war France.

Edith Frisch - raced and rallied a Bugatti and other cars in Europe, in 1933 and 1934. In May of 1933, she was sixth (although not classified) in the Eifelrennen Voiturette race at the Nürburgring, driving a 1500cc Bugatti T37A. Later that year, she entered the Czech Grand Prix at Masaryk, in the same car. She had to retire after spinning the car, and hitting her chin on the steering wheel. In 1934, she drove an Opel, concentrating on rallies and other non-circuit events. She won a Coupe des Alpes in the Alpine Rally, with Karl Treber as her navigator. Unfortunately, not long afterwards, she was killed in an accident at a level crossing during a reliability trial at Hammereisenbach, in Germany.

Bea Gilka-Bötzow - raced a Bugatti in Europe in the early 1930s. In 1932, she entered the Eifel Grand Prix in a T37A, but did not finish. She also competed in hillclimbs in Germany and its neighbouring countries, in the Bugatti and in an Austro-Daimler. Her results are not forthcoming. She is sometimes confused with Margot Einsiedel, as both had the title “Countess Einsiedel”. Bea was Margot’s sister-in-law.

Suzanne Largeot - took part in three Le Mans races between 1937 and 1939. With JE Vernet, she won her class in 1937 and was twelfth overall. She did not finish on the other two occasions. The car was a Simca, a make Suzanne used in most of her races. In 1939, she drove a Simca T8 to fourth overall in the Criterium Paris-Nice. That year, she also navigated Yvonne Simon to eighth position in the Monte Carlo Rally. She and Yvonne were also eighth in the 1938 Paris 12 Hours.

Nina Lo Bue - competed with her brother, Vincenzo Lo Bue, in 1929 and 1930. In 1929, she drove an Alfa Romeo in the Giro d’Italia and finished thirteenth. The following year, the siblings entered the Giro d’Italia once more in the same car, and were fourteenth. It is possible that she also took part in some hillclimbs in Sicily, as Vincenzo regularly used the car for this purpose.

Franziska Lüning - raced a Steyr in Europe in the 1920s. She competed in the ADAC trials in 1928. On occasion, she also drove a small Fiat sportscar. It was this car that she used in the 1927 Nürburgring Opening Races. She was twelfth in her class. That year, she also drove the Steyr in the Feldbergrennen hillclimb and placed well in class. She took part in hillclimbs in Switzerland as well. Driving the Fiat, she was second in the 1100cc class in the Klausen climb. This was her second attempt at the event, having finished 13th in the 1500cc class in 1926.

Marguerite Mareuse - raced at Le Mans in 1930 and 1931 with Odette Siko, in a Bugatti. They were seventh in 1930, but disqualified in 1931. She entered the 1933 race with Wimille, but did not start. As well as Le Mans, Marguerite entered a few Grands Prix, including the Tunisian and Oranie events of 1932. She was also an accomplished rally driver and won the Coupe des Dames in Monte Carlo in 1933, driving a Peugeot.

Irma Martelli - raced in Italy shortly after the Second World War. In 1947, she drove a Fiat in the Mille Miglia with “Geri”. They did not finish. A month later, she entered a Fiat 500, perhaps the same car, into the Coppa d’Oro della Dolomiti, but did not finish that race either.

Violette Morris - raced in France between 1928 and 1930, normally in Paris-based events. She drove a number of special-bodied cars, built to her own requirements. The Bol d'Or was a favoured event of hers and she won it in 1927. She was executed during World War II due to her Gestapo activities.

Vittoria Orsini - Italian noblewoman who campaigned a Maserati 26C in a few Grands Prix in the early 1930s. Her best result was probably a fourth place at the Circuit Cap d'Antibes in 1932. She was tenth in a heat of the 1933 Bordino Grand Prix, but did not finish the 1932 or 1933 Coppa Ciano, or the 1933 Grand Prix of Lwow.

Mirella Quadri - entered the Mille Miglia three times, in 1947, 1948 and 1949. In 1947, she drove a Fiat and did not finish. The following year, she used a Lancia Aprilia and was 20th. In 1949, she drove a Lancia, presumably the Aprilia, and failed to finish. Her co-driver on all three occasions was “L Quadri”.

Anni Roosdorp - commenced racing in 1947, using a Veritas single-seater at the Grenzlandsring in Germany. Her father, Hermann Roosdorp, also raced that car and others around Europe.

Fernande Roux - another French GP and sportscar racer of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1931, she spent a season campaigning in Voiturettes, in a Bugatti T37A. Her best finish was second, in Geneva. She partnered Germaine Rouault at Le Mans in 1938, driving an Amilcar Pegase. The Pegase seems to have been one of her favourite cars and she drove it in French and North African races in the latter part of the 1930s.

Elena Samsonova - early Russian driver, born in 1890 and active shortly before the First World War. In 1913, she was tenth in an off-road trial near Moscow, driving an American Hupmobile. In 1914, she drove the Hupmobile in another trial, on roads this time, near St. Petersburg (Volkhonskoe Road). She set a time, but her position is not recorded. Shortly before this, she had raced in the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de St. Petersburg, in the same car. Her race ended on the third lap, due to a damaged wheel. She had been sixth. Later, she qualified as a pilot, and became one of Russia’s first active military pilots, mostly in reconnaissance. She died in 1958.

(Image source unknown)

Friday, 27 August 2010

Circuit Racers from Southeast Asia

The countries of Southeast Asia - Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines particularly - have their fair share of female racers on their tracks. Some, such as Keiko Ihara, Tomiko Yoshikawa and Takeda Kanami, have travelled extensively and raced in Europe, making them much more visible, but many more race at home. Leona Chin now has her own post. Thai saloon racers can be found here.

Red Bull's female driver search, based in Malaysia, has added to this tally recently, with its rotating squad of female touring car drivers, some of whom have gone on to further motorsport careers. The 2009 "Red Bull Rookies" are pictured here.

Even more female drivers are active in drifting, which is currently outside the scope of this site.

Single-seater drivers from this region now have their own post.

Below are some short profiles.

Kwon Bo Mi – Korean driver who races saloons in her home country. She began senior competition in 2011, after some years of karting. She only started karting to get herself out of depression due to her music career faltering. Her first season was interrupted by her car catching on fire during her first race, and broken ribs from a crash in a subsequent one. In 2014, she raced in the Veloster Turbo Cup in Korea, as well as acting as a coach to younger drivers. This is a Hyundai one-make series. As well as racing, she is a motoring TV presenter.

Jacquelin Ch’ng – Malaysian-born driver who raced in the Chinese Clio Cup in 2014. She performed quite well in the B class with some runner-up spots, but she was not able to challenge effectively for overall honours. Before the Clio Cup, her first motorsport experience was a ride in a celebrity race for charity, organised by the One Foundation. She was second in the Ladies’ category. She is better-known as an actress in the Hong Kong film industry.

Evelyn Coseteng - races a Toyota Vios in a one-make series in the Philippines. Her first season of competition was 2016, in the Toyota Vios Cup. She raced in the Promotional class for new drivers and was third and second from her first two starts. In 2017, she contested the Promotional class again. Evelyn did not start racing until she was over 50.

Menchie Francisco – Filipina driver who was part of the first all-female team to compete at Subic Raceway. She and Michelle Pritchard raced a Nissan Sentra in the four-hour race at the 2000 Philippine Motorsports Festival. In 2001, she raced a Honda Civic in the SVI Challenge Cup, and was one of the leading drivers in the Rookie class. She carried on racing for the next ten years or so, finishing fourth in the Philippine Touring Car Championship in 2005, making another appearance in the Subic enduro in 2007, and winning Class C of the Super Saloon championship in 2008. In 2010, she was one of the drivers invited to take part in a one-make race for Chevrolet Cruzes, the final race ever to be held at Subic. Menchie got into motorsport through her husband, Kookie Ramirez, and first competed in club races in 1999.

Alinka Hardianti – Indonesian driver who races a Toyota. She usually competes in slalom and drifting, but has done some circuit racing. In 2013, she took part in the Indonesian Super Touring championship and won two of her three races, finishing second in another. In 2016, she returned to the circuits, in Japan this time, and raced at the Fuji track, in the Gazoo Racing Netz Cup. She was 24th in her race, from 36th on the grid. She was the first non-Japanese female driver to race in the series. She is supported by Toyota Team Indonesia. In 2017, she entered the event again. 

Puteri Ayu Jasmin - Malaysian driver with the Red Bull Rookies team. She joined the team in 2007 and raced at the 2008 Merdeka Millennium races and the Sepang 1000km. She was retained as a “senior rookie” in 2009. In 2008, she was sixth in class B at the MME event, with Leona Chin, Norlina Johor and Norbaizura Ruslan. In 2009, she ran in the same events, and was 21st overall, fourteenth in class at the Sepang 1000km. She stayed on as a Senior Rookie in 2010, acting as a driver mentor as well as a team member for the Sepang 1000km. Her car was a Honda Integra DC2. She returned as a senior Rookie in 2011 for the Sepang race.

Claire Jedrek – British-born Singaporean driver. She began racing in the 2014 Malaysian Super Series, and was eighth overall at the end of the season. The same year, she took part in the support race for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.  Her car was a Honda. She continued to race in the Super Series, now the Championship Series, in 2015, including the Grand Prix support race. This year, she was second, her first podium finish. Away from racing, she works as a live MC and TV presenter for motorsports and fitness in Asia. She sat out 2017 due to pregnancy.

Mika Kagoshima – Japanese driver who has raced on and off since 2008. That year, she took part in Formula Challenge in her home country, and had a best finish of 16th, achieved at Motegi and Suzuka. In 2013, she partnered Rally Marina Sa for the Sepang rounds of the Lamborghini Trofeo Asia, driving a Gallardo. They were fourteenth and thirteenth. Mika is better known as a media personality in Japan, who has been a model, actress and pop singer.

“Kiki” (Nurul Alis Aidil Akhbar) – Malaysian TV personality who has raced in several editions of the Merdeka Millennium Endurance race (now known as the Sepang 12 Hours), often as part of Red Bull-sponsored female teams. She first raced for the Red Bull X-1R team in 2006, replacing Deanna Yusoff, although she had previously done some racing for a Lotus team. She raced a Proton Satria alongside Hiroki Nakamura and Kazumi Mikami. They did not finish. She stayed with the team for 2007, when she was also part of the mentoring team for the “Red Bull Rookies” female driver search. In 2008, she entered the Merdeka Millennium event again, in a Suzuki Swift, with Hiroko Nakamura. In 2009, she raced in the Sepang 1000km for the Televas team, driving a Honda Integra DC2. At other times, she has competed in the Proton 300km Endurance race, a celebrity Grand Prix support race, and grass-track autocross.

Kiki Kung – races a Caterham in Taiwan, after competing in karts since 2013. She ran well in both the Chinese and Taiwanese championships. In the Asian motorsport world, she is more known as a broadcaster, both in front of and behind the camera. In 2016, she also tested a Formula Renault, as well as racing a Caterham in at least one round of the Taiwan championship. She is from a motorsport family; her father raced, and now runs his own team.

Carmen Lim - Singaporean driver selected for the Red Bull Rookies team in Malaysia, in 2010. She took part in the Sepang 1000km and Merdeka Millennium Endurance race for the team, in a Honda DC2. They were 28th at Sepang. This was her second attempt at the 1000km event; in 2009, she drove a Proton Satria with Akina Teo and Amir. They did not finish. That year, she also competed in a rally at Sepang, in a modified CLK. She was second in the ladies’ class. She also appears to have done some drifting, and possibly rallycross, in 2009, as well as karting. She does not appear to have competed since 2010. 

Aira (Alexandra) Medrano - Filipino driver who races touring cars in Southeast Asia. She was a karter in her childhood, but took a break from motorsport before enrolling in the Toyota Vios Cup in 2016, aged 19. She won the Promotional class at least once in her first season and finished the season in second place. She moved up to the Sporting class in 2017, against more experienced drivers, and was a frequent podium finisher, as well as helping the Toyota Alabang team to win trophies.

Junko Mihara - Japanese actress and media personality, who raced quite extensively in the 1990s. She started in touring cars, in 1990, and drove in some races of the Japanese championship then and in 1991, in a TOMS Toyota Corolla. Both times, she shared a car with Masahiro Matsunaga. In 1992, she changed teams, driving for the Kawasho set-up, but her car was the same. Although she scored a few points, she did not enter enough races to make an impact on the championship. Between 1992 and 1995, she also raced a little in Europe, entering the Spa 24 Hours each year. She was always in a Toyota, either and MR2 or a Corolla, and usually with Matsunaga. She was 16th in 1994 and 19th in 1995, and did not finish the other races. For the latter race, she was part of an all-female team with Michiko Okuyama and Kumi Sato. In 1996 and 1997, she raced sportscars in Japan, alongside Matsunaga, in an MR2. She was not among the front-runners, although the Japanese Super GT championship, at the time, was quite competitive. Her best finish was 20th, at the Fuji Special GT Cup in 1996. In 1998, she made one appearance at the Fuji GT round, in a Toyota Cavalier, but was unclassified. She does not appear to have raced since then.

Kazumi Mikami – Japanese driver active around Southeast Asia, often as part of all-female teams, including the early incarnations of the Red Bull Rookies in Malaysia. In 2002, she was racing sportscars in Japan, and entered the Suzuka 1000km in an Oscar SK5.2. She and her team-mates were unclassified. She also travelled to Australia for the Targa Tasmania historic rally, in which she drove a Toyota Sprinter. In 2005, she raced in Formula Toyota in Japan, and joined the Red Bull Rookies for the first time. She drove a Proton Satria in the Merdeka Millennium race at Sepang, with Philippa Yoong and Deanna Yusoff. They were sixth in class B. The three were set to team up again for the Sepang event in 2006, but Philippa Yoong was replaced by Hiroko Nakamura, due to pregnancy.  

Hyemin Moon – South Korean driver who competes in the TCSA (Touring Car Series Asia). She started out in 2015, racing a Toyota GT86 in a one-make championship. 2016 was her first season in the TCSA. Her car was a Honda CL7, and she did a full season, with at least one Independent class win, at Motegi. In 2017, she was second in one round of the TCSA. Unfortunately, language barriers have prevented any further effective research into Hyemin’s activities.

Hiroko Nakamura – Japanese driver who raced in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race and Sepang 1000km on at least five occasions, initially as part of what would become the Red Bull Rookies team. She and Philippa Yoong raced a Honda X1-R together in 2005 and 2007, then in a Proton Satria sponsored by Alex Yoong, Philippa’s brother, in 2010. In between, she teamed up with “Kiki”, another Red Bull Rookies graduate, in a Suzuki Swift, in 2008. Hiroko raced another Satria in 2011, as part of the Thunder Asia Racing Team, with Melvin Choo and Eric Yeo. Earlier, she raced in the Toyota Vitz championship in Japan, and worked at racetracks as a promotional model.

Kaori Okamoto - Japanese driver, who raced touring cars in the 1980s and 1990s. She was strongly associated with Toyota cars, and often drove for the TOMS team. In 1986, she drove a Toyota in the Japanese championship. By 1987, she was competing in the World Touring Car Championship, for TOMS, in a Corolla, with Hideshi Matsuda. They did not finish the Spa 24 Hours, but were 30th in the Fuji 500km. In 1988, she raced  a similar car in some European and Asia-Pacific championship events. After her best finish of twelfth, in 1989, driving a Toyota Corolla, Kaori returned to the Spa 24 Hours every year until 1994, often with Keiichi Suzuki and Morio Nitta. Other than that, she mainly concentrated on the Japanese touring car championship, completing most of the season in 1990 and 1991, driving a Corolla for the TOMS/Fujitsu Ten team, and later the FET team. In 1991, she also entered the Dakar Rally, in a Toyota.

Michiko Okuyama - Japanese driver who raced in Japan and Europe, in the 1980s and 1990s. Her earliest big race was the Suzuka 1000km, in 1985, in which she drove a Mazda-engine West 85S. She and her team-mates, Masako Fujikawa and Hideki Ogawa, did not finish. In 1989, she took part in one round of the Japanese touring car championship, at Fuji, and did not finish again, in an Isuzu Gemini. The following year, she did some more rounds of the JTCC, in a Fujitsu-sponsored TOMS Toyota Levin, with different team-mates. They were not often on the pace. Another outing in the Gemini gave another DNF. By 1995, she was racing in Europe, as part of an all-female team, with Kumi Sato and Junko Mihara. They competed in the Spa 24 Hours in 1995, and were 19th overall in a Toyota Corolla. In 1997, she tried GT racing in Japan, the dominant form of Japanese domestic motorsport, but a Renault Spider drive in the Super GT Championship did not materialise.

Michelle Pritchard – British-Filipina racer who competed in the Philippines. Her first race was the four-hour enduro held at the Subic Motorsports Festival in 2000. She shared a Nissan Sentra with Menchie Francisco, and was third. In 2001, she raced in the SVI Challenge Cup, racing against her erstwhile team-mate. She was competitive, and did well in qualifying. Her first motorsport experiences came from dirt track racing, and rallycross. Later, she worked as a motoring journalist in the Philippines. She is probably best known as a violinist with the band Imago.

Geraldine Read – Malaysian driver who races saloons in Southeast Asia. She got her start in motorsport through the Red Bull Rookies driver talent search, in 2014. She was selected for the Red Bull team for that year’s Sepang 1000km, alongside Siti Shahkirah Shaharul and Illy Aquila Fateen Ismail. Their car was a Proton Satria, and they were twelfth overall. Driving for a different team, Geraldine returned to the Sepang 1000km in 2015, in a Suzuki Swift. She did not finish. Since then, her opportunities to race have been limited, due to finances, but she spent the spring of 2016 testing, and competed again later in the year. She raced a Proton for the Dreamchaser team in the Malaysian Championship Series. In 2017, she had a second season in the series. The Dreamchaser squad won the team championship. 

Rally Marina Sa – Indonesian driver who currently races sports and touring cars. In 2013, she took part in the Sepang rounds of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, with Mika Kagashima of Japan. They were thirteenth and fourteenth in the two races. In 2014, she raced in the Audi Race Indonesia one-make series, and won at least one race. She was third in the championship. Previously, she competed on and off in single-seaters from the age of fourteen, in 1994, when she won a national championship. In 1996, she won the Asian Formula championship at Gudang Garam. After that, she did quite a lot of drag racing in southeast Asia, as well as working as a TV presenter for MotoGP and NASCAR.

Kumi Sato - well-travelled Japanese driver. She was the first female driver in Japanese Super GTs, in 1997. Between then and 2001, she raced GTs in the B class of the Japanese championship. Her best overall finish seems to have been 17th. Her cars included a Tom's Spirit Toyota MR-S, which she used in 2001, a Toyota Cavalier and a Celica. Her best finish in 2001 was 19th, at Suzuka. In 1994, she spent some time in the UK, racing a Honda Civic in the Snetterton 24 Hour race for Mardi Gras Motorsport. More recently, she has driven a Subaru Impreza in Germany, coming 14th overall and second in class at the 2005 Nürburgring 24 Hours. Her co-drivers were Stephane Sarrazin, Kazuo Shimizu and Toshihiro Yoshida. She returned to the 24 Hours in 2008 and 2011, driving a hybrid-technology Lexus for Gazoo Racing. In 2012 and 2013, she drove for the team in some rounds of the VLN, in preparation for the Nürburgring 24 Hours. In 2014, she raced in the 24 Hours again, in a Toyota GT86. She was 54th, with an all-Japanese team. In 2015, she was part of another Japanese Gazoo team, in a Lexus RC this time. They were 39th. In 2016, she raced another Gazoo Toyota at the 24 Hours, the new C-HR. She is better-known as a motoring journalist.

Siti Shakirah – one of the winners of the Red Bull Rookies driver search in 2011, aged just seventeen. That year, the competition had both male and female winners. Her prize drive was a seat in a Red Bull Proton Satria for the Sepang 1000km. She also took part in a Malaysian Grand Prix support race, in the same car, which was a round of the Malaysian Super Series. After 2011, she was retained as a driver by the red Bull Rookies team, and did at least two more Sepang 1000km races, in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she was twelfth overall, with Geraldine Read and Illy Aquila. Prior to her Rookies debut, she competed in international karting from the age of nine.

Anne Wong - Singaporean driver best known as the winner of the 1970 Macau Grand Prix race, in a Mini. She started from last on the grid, having only just qualified. She tried again in 1971, and was seventh, in the Mini. As well as Macau, Anne raced her Mini in the Philippines and Australia in the early 1970s, including a 6-hour race in Australia in 1971, alongside Rick Lisle. Her first big race was the Singapore Grand Prix in 1969, which she did not finish. This followed a spell at the driving school at Brands Hatch, shortly after she left school. According to contemporary news articles, she did most of her racing in Malaysia, including the Malaysian Grand Prix (for touring cars), plus rallies and hillclimbs. By 1979, she had retired from the tracks, although she was that year’s official starter for the Malaysian Grand Prix. She also worked as a motoring journalist.

Denise Yeung – Hong Kong driver who raced in the Asian Renault Clio Cup in 2016. This was her sixth year of competition. In 2015, she represented Hong Kong in the China Racing Cup, in a standard Senova D70, and took part in the Macau Grand Prix, finishing fifth. Previously, in 2014 and 2015, she raced in the touring car championships of Hong Kong, Korea, Macau and Taiwan, winning ladies’ awards for all of them. She first raced in the HKTCC in 2012. Her 2015 HKTCC season was a particularly good one, with a win, plus a second and a third. In 2012, she took part in one Asian Touring Car Championship race in a Honda Integra. 

Rose Tan Ying - Chinese racer who mainly drives a Porsche. She began racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup in China in 2004, and competed on and off in it until 2006. In 2011 and 2012, she contested the whole championship, with a best result of 16th, in 2011. In the Porsche, a 997 GT3, she has also appeared in the Asian GT Championship, winning her class on several occasions, and the Macau GT Cup. Away from the Porsche, she has scored race wins in a Lotus Exige, in the Pan Delta Super Racing Festival, and also drove the Exige in the Lotus Cup. In 2009, she also tried touring car racing in a Citroen, in the Chinese championship, driving for the Dong Feng team. 

Joanna Yoong – British-born Malaysian driver. She was active for three seasons in the 1980s, and was the first female driver to win a race in Malaysia. She won the Harvey Yap School of Driving race, supporting the 1984 Selangor Grand Prix, in a JPS-sponsored BMW. In 1987, she also tried her hand at rallying, in a Daihatsu Charmante. She drove in the Rally of Malaysia, but did not finish, due to engine trouble. Her children are Alex Yoong, former Formula One driver, and Philippa Yoong, Red Bull endurance racer. 

Philippa Yoong - Malaysian driver who competes in endurance races in Asia. She drove a Proton saloon for the X1-R Red Bull Racing team. In 2008, she scored second and eighth places at Sepang, assisted by Leona Chin and Puteri Ayu Jasmin. This was the team and Philippa’s best result. She was one of the professional members of the team, which was made up of a rotating squad of female drivers. She first drove for the team in 2003. In addition to endurance events, she has also taken part in some drifting competitions in Southeast Asia, as well as competitive water-skiing. Her brother is ex-Formula One driver, Alex Yoong. She returned to endurance racing in 2010, at Sepang, and was 15th in the 1000km race. She has been active in motorsport since 2003, when she drove a Proton at the Merdeka race, as part of a different all-female team.

Deanna Yusoff – Malaysian-Swiss driver who was one of the earliest members of the Red Bull X-1R racing team, which became the Red Bull Rookies. She entered her first Merdeka Millennium Endurance race in 2004, driving a Proton with Philippa Yoong and Maznah Zolfikli. They were 38th overall, and the first all-female team to finish the race. Deanna and Philippa raced in the event again in 2005, with Hiroko Nakamura. In 2006, she was set to join the team again, but work commitments forced her to pull out. The same trio from 2005 were reunited in 2007, with their Proton Satria, and were seventh in class.  As well as the twelve-hour Merdeka Millenium race at Sepang, Deanna did some saloon racing, and karting, in Malaysia. She is better known as an actress.

Naomi Ran Zhang - Chinese driver, active since at least 2009. She has been versatile since her first year, when she raced in the Clio Cup and Asian GT Masters. Driving a Ferrari 360 Modena, she won Class B, with one win. The following year, she tried single-seaters, in the form of Asian Formula Renault, but was not as fast , and only finished 17th at the end of the season. Her best finishes were two eighth places, at Zhuhai. In 2011, she kept her options open, with guest appearances in the China GT Challenge, in the Ferrari, and the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. However, her main focus was Formula Pilota in China. She was 24th overall. Since 2012, she has concentrated on the Audi R8 LMS Cup in China. In 2013, she got into the top ten once - a ninth place at Ordos. She was 20th overall, after finishing 25th in 2012.

(Image source unknown)

Under-17 Racing Series

During the past ten years in the UK, several full-size championships for junior drivers aged fourteen to seventeen have emerged. Girls have been involved from the start, and have found varying degrees of success, up to and including championship wins.

This is a list of drivers who are most known for, or have only competed in, racing series designed for the under-17s. Due to space constraints, this only includes full-size car racing and not karting.
Junior Rallycross racers can be found here. Sarah Moore and Katie Milner have "graduated". Sophia Floersch now has her own post.

Nina-Jo Atkinson - raced a Saxmax Citroen Saxo in 2006 and 2007, starting at the age of fourteen. She scored a few top-ten finishes towards the end of her time in the series. In 2008, she moved up to the Mini Challenge, despite being still only sixteen years old. She is noted for having driven the Nürburgring at speed when only fourteen. As well as circuit racing, she has done some rally navigation.

Lydia Austen - one of the first girls to take part in Britain's then-leading junior car racing series, T-Cars, in 2001. She raced for two full seasons. Her results were not spectacular, but she proved herself capable of holding her own on the track. She suffered a couple of nasty on-track accidents but always kept going, holding out for a finish. For 2002 she was considered good enough for the new Zip Formula junior single-seater category, and managed to put together a sponsorship deal. Unfortunately, the deal fell through and Lydia has been absent from the national racing scene ever since.

Charlotte Birch - races in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in the UK. She has had a best finish of tenth, at Rockingham, Knockhill, Croft and Brands Hatch. She started racing cars at fourteen. Unusually, she stepped straight into junior motorsport without having done any karting beforehand. Her aim is to race in the BTCC or endurance racing.

Sophie Byrne - raced in the Irish Ginetta Junior championship between 2011 and 2013. Her results improved every year, from eighth in 2011 to third in 2013. After moving up to senior competition, she acquired a Ford Fiesta XR2 which she raced in the Future Classics championship in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, as Sophie Austen-Byrne, she travelled to Silverstone for the BWRDC’s Race for a Record women’s handicap.

Megan Campbell - Northern Irish driver who raced in the Irish Ginetta Junior championship between 2015 and 2017. She was fifth in the 2017 series, having only been out of the top five when she did not finish twice at the start of the season. She made steady progress over her three seasons, with a tenth and a seventh in 2015 and 2016.

Pippa Coleman – did a season of Ginetta Junior racing in 2009. She was a competent, if not quite consistent driver, who did not compete for the full season. She managed six top-ten finishes, the best of these being two sixth places, at Thruxton and Rockingham. Her 2009 campaign followed a run in the 2008 Winter season. She does not appear to have raced since then.

Tatiana Dobrynina - member of the Volkswagen Junior Academy in Russia. She races in the Russian Touring Car Championship, in the National class. Her car is a Volkswagen Polo. 2017 seems to be her first year in the series. At the time of writing, her best result has been a fifteenth place, at Kazan. She has been active in Russian motorsport since 2015, when she took part in some Time Attack events in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo XI.

Christie Doran - had her first season of full-sized motorsport in 2011, aged fifteen, in the Ginetta Junior championship. Despite a fairly large-scale media campaign in her favour, she only managed to compete at the Knockhill meeting. She was thirteenth in her first race and did not finish her second. Despite her age, she occasionally carries out road tests for the Scottish Sun, under the tutelage of her father, Jon. In 2012, she had support from the Scottish Sun for another race season, but she does not appear to have secured the additional funding she needed. Instead, she moved into historic racing, in a Triumph TR8. She was quite effective in the Scottish Classic Sports and Saloon series, finishing tenth overall. The next two seasons were spent in the Scottish BMW Compact Cup, which was a mixed experience, and she had to miss some of 2014 after a big crash in the first round. In 2015, she raced in England, in the VAG Trophy. Her car was a VW Golf. After a steep learning curve, she finished the season with three third places. As well as racing, she was part of an initiative that offers training and racing opportunities to injured service personnel. In 2016, she did her second VAG season, and scored three wins, putting her in the running for the Class B title. She raced the Golf again in 2017, but only for a part-season. This was due to badly damaging her car in a crash at Rockingham. Her best finishes were a pair of seconds at Thruxton, and she was third in the Class B championship.

Shanel Drewe – competed in the UK Junior Touring Car Championship in 2016, driving a regulation Citroen Saxo. This was her first experience of circuit racing, although she has been active in motorsport for the past couple of years as a mechanic, despite only being fifteen years old. She was 25th in the championship after completing a full season, with a best finish of sixteenth, at Oulton Park. In 2017, she graduated to senior motorsport and had a successful season in the Road Car class of the Clio Cup. She was second overall, with three wins.

Emily Glanvill – Scottish driver who races in the Junior Touring Car Championship in the UK. She was born in 2000, and 2016 was her first season of circuit racing. Previously, she was active in Autograss grass-track racing, at club level, in the junior classes. Emily was a consistent finisher who stayed out of trouble, but was not quite on the pace. Her best finishes were early in the season, at Pembrey, and she was 24th in the championship.

Virsavia Goltsova - part of the Goltsova Racing team with her mother, Natalia Goltsova. She began racing in 2017. Her first race was the Kazan round of the Russian Junior Touring Car Championship. She was 16th then 13th in a Lada Kalina, as part of a three-car Goltsova Racing team. Her best overall results in the series were two eleventh places at Smolensk. In September, she was third in a two-hour endurance race at Kazan.

Alicia Goundry - had her first season in cars in 2017, at the age of fourteen. She was competing in the Junior Saloon Car Championship for MMR Racing. Her season started steadily, but she found some speed at Croft and took the first of her two third places. Previously, she raced karts from 2013, as part of the “Goundry Girls” team with her two younger sisters, Tilly and Sienna. Alicia and Tilly competed in the 2016 National Super One series.

Esmée Hawkey – raced in Ginetta Juniors in 2014. She was a finalist in the Ginetta Junior Scholarship at the end of 2013, which led to a development deal with AmDTuning. As well as karting, she raced in the last three Ginetta Junior rounds, at Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch. Her best results were two 15th places, at Rockingham and Brands Hatch. She was 22nd overall. She also tested an AmDTuning BTCC car. In 2015, she is drove for JHR Developments in Ginetta Juniors. Her best overall finishes were two fourteenth places, at Oulton Park, but she did well among the Rookie drivers. She was 25th in the championship. 2016 saw her graduate to senior competition, in the form of the GT Cup, racing a Porsche Cayman.  She was championship runner-up. In 2017, she was nominated for the Carrera Cup GB Junior Scholarship.
Jamie-Lea Hawley - racing in the Renault Clio Cup Junior series in the UK in 2018, with the Finsport team. She did her first season in a car in 2017, in the Ford Fiesta Junior championship. With only a little karting experience, it was a steep learning curve for her, but by the end of the season she was almost finishing on the podium; she was fourth in the last race at Donington. This was enough for tenth overall in the championship.

Emma Laddiman - competed in some Saxmax races in 2008, after taking a year out from expected motorsport activities due to injuries. She now works for Barwell Motorsports.

Emily Linscott - first raced a car in 2017, when she competed in the last three rounds of the Ginetta Junior championship. This was only her second season in motorsport, full stop, having taken up karting in 2016. Her best Ginetta Junior overall finishes were a pair of twelfth places at Brands Hatch and Silverstone, although she scored far better in the rookie rankings. Richardson Racing saw her potential and she was signed by the team for the 2018 Ginetta Junior season.

Jemma Moore - took her first steps in circuit racing in 2017 when she entered the Brands Hatch rounds of the Junior Saloon Car Championship. In 2018, she started the season proper and took  pole for her first race. She finished third. This is her best result of the season so far. Jemma is the younger sister of Britcar racer and former Ginetta Junior racewinner Sarah Moore.

Mia Morgan - started racing in Ginetta Juniors in 2007. She returned to the series for a part-season in 2008, improving slightly on her 2007 results.

Emma Pascall - raced in the UK's T-Car series in 2004 and 2005. A serious accident limited her participation in 2004 and she was a solid, rather than competitive, finisher. She does not appear to have continued in motorsport after 2005.

Abbi Pulling - made her car racing debut at the start of 2018, in Ginetta Juniors in the UK. At the time of writing, she has proved herself capable of top-ten finishes, including a ninth place at Brands Hatch. Prior to her Ginetta drive, she was one of Britain’s most successful karters of 2017. She won the Super 1 Junior TKM championship and the British ‘O’ Plate championship outright. She had been runner up in Super 1 Junior TKM in 2016.

Amy Scarisbrick - has competed in both junior and senior categories. She ran a whole season of Saxmax in 2006, before using the same Citroen Saxo in the 750MC Stock Hatch championship in 2007. Her results were unspectacular, but she managed to hold her own against experienced drivers. In 2008, Amy concentrated on her education and did not race. She now works as a sports broadcaster on local radio.

Irina Sidorkova - races a Volkswagen Polo in the Russian national junior touring car championship. In 2017, she won two of her eight races, at Fort Grozny and Nishni Novgorod. She has also scored two second places at Smolensk. She first raced at a Moscow rally show in 2015, when she was just eleven. This was the beginning of her involvement with the Volkswagen Academy. Prior to this, she raced karts in Russia, Estonia and Finland.

Julia Strukova – Russian driver who made her circuit racing debut in 2015, in the RSKG Junior championship, a saloon series for 14-17 year olds. Her car was a VAZ, and she was second in the championship, winning two races at Kazan. For the rest of the season, she was rarely off the podium. As she turned 17 in 2015, she had to move up to senior motorsport in 2016. She joined the Russian National Touring Car Championship, driving a Kia Rio. At the end of the season, she was eleventh in the championship, with a best finish of sixth, at Kazan. She had another season in the Kia in 2017, recording a best finish of seventh, at Smolensk. Prior to 2015, she was involved in rally raids.

Lydia Walmsley – started her career in cars in 2016, driving a Citroen Saxo in the Junior Saloon Car Championship. She was fourteen when she entered the championship, and combined her part-season with karting. Her best result was a sixth place, at Knockhill. After four races, she was 26th in the championship. She returned to the JSCC in 2017 and proved a competent driver. Her best finishes were two fourths at Silverstone. 

(Image copyright Jakob Ebrey)

Cross-Country Rallying

Syndiely Wade

Specialist drivers who have competed in rally raids across the globe. Those who are better-known as stage rally drivers or circuit racers are listed in their respective sections. The best-known female rally-raid exponents, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Isabelle Patissier, Martyna Wojciechowska and Andrea Mayer, have their own profiles.

Madalena Antas (Cupertino de Miranda)  – competed in rally raids, often for the Nissan Dessoude team. She drove a Pathfinder pick-up for the team in the 2007 Dakar, the last to be held in Africa, but did not finish. This was her third attempt at the Dakar for Nissan. In 2005, she was 17th in the Baja Espana Aragon, driving a Toyota Landcruiser. Early in her career, she also won the Portuguese off-road championships. Madalena is following in the footsteps of her mother, Teresa, another Dakar competitor.

Victoria Carrasco - Chilean driver. She has competed in off-road rallies in South America from 2004, using a Kia Sorrento. She was eleventh in the 2006 Por las Pampas Rally, her only Cross-Country World Cup outing. Now, she is more commonly seen as a navigator to Juan Francisco Carrasco, in rally raids and stage rallies.

Hend Chaouch - one of Tunisia’s foremost drivers. She has driven in the Rally Tunisia fourteen times, as driver and navigator. Her first time in the driving seat was 2001, when she finished the Tunisian, Moroccan, Dubai and Paris-Dakar raids. Her best finish was 17th with a class win in Dubai. These have been her best results, although she has won several honours for being the first Tunisian, African or female finisher. She has taken part in the Dakar twice. As well as the Cross-Country World Cup, she has competed in women-only rallies, and was third in the 1994 Rallye des Gazelles. She has also organised rallies in Tunisia and worked in assistance teams. Her cars have been a Toyota Landcruiser, Mitsubishi Evolution and Nissan Patrol. She was banned from competition for 2010, after an incident on the 2009 Tunisia Rally. In 2011, she returned to the Rally Tunisia in a Toyota. After this, she does not appear to have competed, and her website has been taken down. In 2013, she spoke out publicly in support of Saudi women being permitted to drive, alongside Ari Vatanen. In 2014, she returned to desert rally raids, and won the Ladies' award on the Rallye du Maroc. Her car was a Toyota HDJ80. She planned to enter the Rally of Tunisia again in 2015, but did not make the start. In 2017, she was second in the Rallye El Chott, driving a Toyota.

Martine de Cortanze - Frenchwoman who raced both cars and bikes in long-distance events. She entered the first Dakar in 1979 on a motorcycle, and entered every race until 1983. She also had a considerable career in stage rallying, winning ladies’ awards in the Monte Carlo and Corsica rallies, among others. She also took part in the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally at least once, in the 1970s.

Monique Delannoy – first female driver to compete on the Dakar in the Car class, in 1980. She drove a Peugeot 504 with Catherine Bonnier, but they did not finish. In 1981, she used a Mercedes 240 jeep, and was 25th, with Bernadette Sacy. The following year, she drove a Volkswagen Iltis, with Alain Bodard, but again did not finish. Another run in an Iltis in 1983, this time as a navigator to her husband, Jean, gave her a 38th place. Co-driving again, she assisted Nicole Maitrot, a former motorcycle competitor, to 16th place in the 1984 Dakar, in a Mitsubishi Pajero. Previously, Monique raced in the Leyland Trophy in France, with Bernadette Sacy. This was a one-make series for British Leyland cars, in 1978.  

Sylviane Goutaland – French veteran of many Paris-Dakar rallies, beginning in 1980, when she entered in a Lada Niva, up to 2007. Her vehicles have included a Toyota Landcruiser and a Nissan Patrol. She has usually finished, but not been among the top drivers. As well as the Dakar, she competed in other raid-type events around the world, but not always successfully or happily. She has kept a low media profile since 1994, when she was involved in a fatal accident in Australia.

Pascale Geurie - one of the first women to enter the Paris-Dakar rally, in 1979. She was contesting the motorcycle class. She also drove a Range Rover in the 1982 event, but did not finish. On the track, she attempted to qualify for Le Mans as well, driving a Lola with Martine Renier and Anna Cambiaghi in 1978. Prior to this, she had raced on the French circuits, in touring cars.

Estelle Hallyday (Lefébure) – drove in rally raids in 2000, as part of a Mitsubishi-based private team. She competed for the team in that year’s Tunisian Rally, and also in the Dakar, driving a Pajero. Later, she was associated with an Italian team running a Nissan Pathfinder, but she does not appear to have actually competed. In 1992 or 1993, she raced a Venturi prototype in the Andros Trophy. Estelle is better known as a model and actress.

Elisabete Jacinto - began her career as an international motocross rider, before moving up to rally raids and the Dakar, She was the highest-placed female motorcyclist in 2000. In 2003, she got her licence to drive trucks and began entering rally raids in this class. She did her first four-wheeled Dakar that year. Since then, she has won the Truck class of the 2006 Shamrock Rally and the 2007 Morocco Rally. On the 2007 Dakar, she was 21st overall and sixth in the Truck class, her best finish. Since then, she has really upper her game to become one of the leading drivers in the Truck class. In 2010, she won the Tunisian and Moroccan rallies. Returning to those events in 2011 gave her another win, and a third place, as well as a second overall in the Rally Africa Eco Race. 2012 was not quite as fruitful, with a fourth overall (second truck) in the Rally Africa Eco Race, and a third in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, in a VW Amarok. Late in the season, she was third in the truck class of the Rally Morocco. Driving a MAN truck in 2013, she won the truck class of the Rally of Morocco and came second in the Baja Aragon and Africa Eco Race. In the MANTGS, she was seventh overall in the 2014 Africa Eco Race, and third in the Truck class. Later, she was tenth overall in the Rally of Morocco, and fourth truck. In between, she drove the Amarok again in the Rallye des Gazelles, and was second. In 2015, she drove a MAN truck for the Oleoban team. She was fourth in the Africa Eco Race, and took part in the Morocco Rally. For Volkswagen, she was sixth in the Rallye des Gazelles. She entered the Africa Eco Race again in 2016, and was fourteenth overall, and third in class, in the MAN. Driving a VW Amarok, she was fifth in the Gazelles event. She also participated in the Libya Rally, but did not finish. In 2017, she was back in the MAN truck, run by the Bio-Ritmo team. She was third in the Truck class of the Morocco Desert Challenge, but did not finish the Rallye du Maroc. The truck got stuck in a sand dune and it took 14 hours to get it out.

Véronique Jacquot (Muringer) – took part in rally raids in a truck in the mid-2000s. She was 29th in the 2004 Dakar, as part of an all-female team in a MAN truck. Her team-mates were Geraldine Brucy and Uta Baier. She first entered the Dakar in 2003. In 2004, she also became the first driver to enter the Rallye des Gazelles in an HGV, a Mercedes Unimog. She first competed in the Rallye des Gazelles in 2002.

Christine Martin – French driver who drove in rally raids in the early 1980s. She raced motorcycles in rally raids for much longer, and was one of the first women to finish the Dakar on a motorcycle. In 1984, she entered the four-wheeled Dakar, and drove a Lada Niva. She did not finish. Unfortunately, the following year, she scored another DNF in the Dakar, this time driving a Peugeot 504 Dangel. She does not appear to have rallied again after this.

Guo Meiling – Chinese driver who entered the Dakar in 2016, driving a Mini. Unfortunately, she was injured in a crash during the prologue, when her car left the road and hit spectators. Previously, she had driven the car in rally raids in China, finishing 22nd in the 2015 Taklimakan Rally, and 21st in the 2014 Grand China Rally. Her start in rallying came through competing on a quad in Chinese raids.

Carole Montillet (Carles) – former Olympic skiing champion who turned to motorsport after her retirement. Initially, she concentrated on rally raids, and won the Quad class of the Rally Aïcha des Gazelles in 2004 and 2005. Her partner was Mélanie Suchet. In 2006 and 2007, she was second in the Car class. She then moved into mixed competition, in the French Tout-Terrain championship, and the Transafrican Rally. She was sixth in the Transafrican event in 2006. In 2007, she took part in her first Dakar Rally, driving a Nissan, but could not finish, due to problems with the car’s electronics. Later, in 2011, she returned to the Rallye des Gazelles, in a Springbok prototype with Syndiely Wade, and won the event outright, a feat she repeated in 2012, navigated by Julie Verdaguer in a Jugand Buggy. In between, she tried circuit racing, in the form of the Racecar stock car championship in France, in 2010. She did four races, and was 24th overall. In 2015, she won the expert category of the Rally Aïcha des Gazelles, driving a Toyota. 

(Maria) Céu Pires de Lima – Portuguese driver who competes in rally raids in Europe and further afield. She drove a Toyota with Pedro Silva Nunes in the 2006 Dakar, and finished in 66th place. At the time, she was 58 years old. This was her second attempt at the Dakar, having entered, but not finished, in 1997. In her home country, she has won multiple Ladies’ titles in off-road rallying, as well as class wins, in the 1990s and 2000s. She has occasionally been co-driven by Teresa Cupertino de Miranda, her cousin and the mother of Madalena Antas. The two rallied together in the 2011 Baja Portugal. She has often driven Toyotas, but also used a Nissan Navarra for the 2004 Baja Portugal.

Yara Shalaby – Egyptian driver who competes in cross-country rallies. She has raced both cars and motorcycles, but now concentrates on four wheels. In 2014, she entered the Pharaons Rally, in a Toyota Landcruiser. In 2015, she drove in a series of local raid events, including the El- Remal Desert Challenge and the El-Gouna Rally (on a motorcycle), where she had an accident and injured herself. She is not from a motorsport background, and initially struggled to prepare her car to the correct scrutineering standards, and to find a reliable navigator who would not get the team lost.  At the end of 2015, she vied for a funded place in the 2016 Sealine Desert Rally Challenge, through the FIA’s Women In Motorsport event in Qatar. She was not one of the winners.In 2016, she competed in the Al-Remal Challenge, as well as setting a record for kayaking, and founding the Gazelle Rally Team, and all-female, all-Egyptian rally raid team.

Makiko Tomokawa – competed in rally raids in the 1990s and early 2000s, usually in a Mitsubishi. Frustratingly little information about her career is readily available, but she appears to have driven in the Dakar from at least 1995, using a Mitsubishi T1 that year, and other Mitsubishi models in subsequent additions. In 2000, she is described as a “veteran”, alongside her regular co-driver, Akemi Asada.

Luisa Trucco - competes in the Truck class of international rally raids, using an Iveco racetruck. She entered her first Dakar in 2005, and has competed in every edition since then. In 2010, she seems to have branched out and entered more rounds of the Cross-Country World Cup, still in the Iveco. Her best result has been a win in the Truck class of the 2010 Pharaons Rally, and  a third in class in the Tunisian Rally. She also competes in motorcycle enduros in her homeland of Italy. It is unclear whether she raced after this.

Syndiely Wade - Senegalese rally raid specialist who has participated in four editions of the Dakar. Her first entry, in 2003, resulted in the 58th spot. She drove a Nissan Terrano in the event in 2004, but could not finish this time. Another Nissan vehicle gave her a 52nd place in 2005, as well as a finish in the all-female Rally Aicha des Gazelles, with Valerie Dot navigating. After a break from competition in 2006, she tried the Dakar again in 2007, but did not finish. She and Valerie competed in the 2008 Rally des Gazelles, although the Dakar was cancelled. In 2010, she entered the Rallye des Gazelles again, alongside Carole Montillet Carles. Their vehicle was a Nissan Springbok. They repeated their win in 2011, and Syndiely triumphed again in 2013, this time with Florence Pham. They were driving an Isuzu D-Max. Her profile has been lower since her father was deposed as the President of Senegal.

(Image copyright www.motorsport.com)