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. Between 2015 and 2017 she competed in Trans Am in a Dodge Viper, winning two races. In 2018, she used the Viper in the Chase for the Trigon Trophy TR3 Series, finishing seventh with one win. She did two races in this series in 2019, finishing second in one of them at Circuit of the Americas.

Dana Moore - competed in the Women’s Global GT Series in 1999 and 2000. Her best finish was ninth in 2000 and her best race finish was fifth. Prior to this, she raced historics and in 1998, Formula Ford. After the WGGTS folded she struggled to get a major ride and raced Legends on both asphalt and dirt, winning races at her local Cajon Speedway. In 2005 she attempted a comeback after a neck injury, signing up for a motorsport-based reality TV show in an attempt to win a NASCAR Busch Series drive.

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.

Kata Bozo - raced alongside Ines Lammens in the Skylimit Yokohama BMW in 2016. She is Hungarian, but lives and works in Belgium. 2016 was her first season and included the Fun Cup 25 Hours and Zolder 24 Hours, in which she was fifth in class (32nd overall). She was one of the older drivers in the team at 20. Ines and Kata won the Belcar Ladies’ Trophy in 2017, and were third in their class. In 2018, Kata raced in the team’s other BMW E90 for the first event of the season, but switched to VGL Racing and their Saker prototype for the 24 Hours of Zolder. She and her team-mates were 19th overall and sixth in class and Kata retained her Ladies' title. She also raced in the Ford Fiesta Sprint Cup in Belgium. She raced the Saker again in 2019 but only completed half of the season due to funding issues.

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. In 2018 and 2019, she continued in historics, racing the Chevron at Le Mans and also a Ford Escort and Porsche 911 around Europe. 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 places. In 2018, she did not do many major events but she did drive a Ligier at Shanghai for one round of the Asian Le Mans Series, as part of an all-female R24 team. She started racing in 2013, in ADAC Formel Masters, and was sixteenth in the championship, with a best finish of eighth, at the Slovakiaring. 2019 was a quiet year, beginning with the driver assessments for the all-female W Series. Stephane got through three stages of testing but pulled out after being named as a reserve driver. She did another round of the ALMS for R24 at Buriram and was seventh in the LMP3 class.

Ines Lammens - began racing in Belgium in 2016, when she was 16. In her first year of racing, she tackled the 25 Hour Fun Cup race and the 24 Hours of Zolder, driving a BMW for Skylimit Yokohama Racing. She raced in the revived Belcar series in 2017, alongside Kata Bozo and Jo Lammens, who is her father. She and Kata won the Ladies’ Trophy. They were third in their class overall. The team raced in Belcar in 2018 as AR Performance. They were ninth overall and third in class.

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.

Sigrid Maes - races in Belcar for JuSi Racing. Her car for 2018 was a BMW 120D, which she raced as part of a three-driver team in the Endurance championship. She and Jurgen Vermeulen are the “Ju” and “Si” in the team name. The team was formed by the pair at the end of 2016, and their first race was that year’s Zolder 24 Hours. Sigrid had done track days before starting her career with Vermeulen. The team also occasionally competes in the Fun Cup.

Hanne Terium - Dutch driver racing in the 2018 Ford Fiesta Sprint Cup. She recorded a top-ten finish in its first race at Zolder. Previously, she raced a BMW E90 in both Belcar and the Dutch Supercar Challenge. She was part of the AR Performance team for that year’s Zolder 24 Hours, as team-mate (but not sharing cars) to Ines Lammens and Kata Bozo. She raced for EMG Motorsport in Dutch Supercars and was ninth in Supersport Division 2, driving solo. This was her first season of racing, although she comes from a motorsport background and raced karts from the age of 12. Her second season was something of a let-down, with six non-finishes from twelve races. She was third in the Junior standings. 

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

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 do Bonnie Henn, Margie Smith-Haas, Alice Graves 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. After a year out, Sarah came back to racing in the 2019 Pirelli GT4 America West series, in an Audi R8. She scored three third places in the Pro-Am class, again with Trinkler. 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.

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.

Linda Sharp - raced sportscars in the 1970s and 1980s in the USA. She says in a 1973 article that she began racing in 1969. Her early big outings, starting in 1972, were in a Datsun 2000, updated to a B210 in 1978. She shared this car with Jim Fitzgerald for the 1978 Champions Spark Plug Challenge, entering the Daytona and Road Atlanta 6 Hours events. They were twelfth and thirteenth. A second attempt at the Daytona race in 1979 gave her 21st place. Her career then went quiet, apart from some races in the Kelly American Challange. Much later, she raced an Oldsmobile Ciera in the 1989 IMSA series, sharing the car with different drivers. It was not hugely competitive in either the Summit Point or Road America rounds. Her last major race was the 1991 Road Atlanta IMSA race and she drove a Chevrolet Camaro. She is also well-known as an automotive journalist who had a syndicated column called “Sharp Driving” for some years.

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.

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 and she was eighth in her first race at Watkins Glen. In 2018, she was even better, finishing second in the GTS Am Challenge of the Pirelli World Challenge, driving a BMW. She won two races. Her IMSA activities were limited to one start in the Daytona 24 in an Aston Martin, which did not finish. It was the same in 2019, although she drove a BMW M4 and did one race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. 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, Lia Comirato Dumas, Elena SamsonovaMarguerite Mareuse 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.

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.

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”.

Käthe Rantzau - Austrian driver who raced in Europe in the 1920s. She was fourth in the 2000cc class in the 1925 Klausen hillclimb, driving an Ansaldo. Later, in 1927, she entered the Semmering climb in a Grofri, which was a rebadged Austrian Amilcar. . Her first motorsport experience seems to have been a tenth place in a women-only road race held in Vienna in 1923. She was tenth, driving an Austro Daimler. She is best known as an opera singer.

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.

“Madame Suvorina” - one of Russia’s earliest female competition drivers. She drove an Opel and other cars in road races from 1910, winning her first St. Petersburg-Kronstadt winter road race that year, although that might have been a class win. With the same car, she entered the same race in 1914. That year, she also drove an Excelsior in a short speed trial near St Petersburg. She may also have been involved in aviaton. Her given name is not recorded. 

(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, as do Anne Wong, Kumi Sato, Junko Mihara and Naomi Ran Zhang. Thai saloon racers can be found here and Korean drivers 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.

Maila Alivia - former off-road competitor who races in the Toyota Vios Cup in the Philippines. 2018 was her debut year on the circuits and she scored several top tens in the Promotional class, although she sacrificed her car to her team-mate in the final round. She has also taken part in endurance races in the Philippines: she and three other Vios Cup drivers won their class in the Petron 8 Hours at Clark International Speedway. They were driving a Cup car. She continued in the Vios in 2019. Although she was one of the fastest Promotional class drivers and set two fastest laps, she was usually just outside the top ten.

Julia de los Angeles - Filipino driver who began her senior career in the 2017 Toyota Vios Cup, aged just 16, having had to wait for two years to receive the appropriate license. She raced for the Parts Pro team in the Promotional class in 2017 and 2018. She scored at least one top-ten finish in 2018, despite not being the best at qualifying in the field.

Phoemela Baranda - raced for Team Philippine Arena in the 2018 Toyota Vios Cup. She races in the Sporting class and had at least one fourth-place finish, despite not having raced for a year. She has been involved with the Vios Cup on and off since 2013, having been a karter and then done her first car race in a 2005 celebrity event. She is an actress and model away from the circuits.

Pia Boren - Filipino driver who is most famous for drifting. She has competed in endurance racing in her home country, including a run in a Ford Focus at the 2007 Petron-SVI 4 Hours event, held at Subic. She was seventh overall, sharing the car with two other drivers. She was fourth in the one-make Ford Lynx Cup in 2003 and fourth in Formula Toyota the following year, alongside more Lynx racing. She now works as a sports journalist and previously wrote for Top Gear Magazine’s Philippines edition.

Kanthicha Chimsiri - Thai driver who races in the Asia Pacific Ferrari Challenge, using a Ferrari 488. She has completed two seasons in the championship, in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, she was ninth in the Am class, with a best result of sixth, achieved twice at Albert Park and Hampton Downs. She was twelfth in the 2017 series, in what appears to be her first year of competition. In 2018, she may also have raced a Ferrari in the Thai Super Series. She was definitely back in the Asian Ferrari Challenge in 2019, finishing ninth in the cahmpionship and 21st in the World Finals. Away from the track, she competes in beauty pageants.  

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.

Betty Chen - Taiwanese driver who competed in the China GT Championship in 2019. She drove a BMW M6 in the GT3 class and earned a best finish of fourth at Qingdao and Sepang. Her final championship position was ninth. Her team-mate for most of the season was Jody Fannin. 2019 was only her second year of competition and her first time in a GT3 car. She had only taken part in two previous races before China GT with Fist-Team AAI.

Cherry Cheung - Hong Kong driver who made her major-race debut in Malaysian TCR in 2019. She drove a Volkswagen Golf and picked up two ninth places. 2019 is only her second year of racing, having began in the Chinese Racing Cup in 2018. She won her class in the 2018 888km of Shanghai, driving a Toyota GT86 as part of a four-driver team. Her Teamwork team has some plans to compete in the UK.

Emily Chow - races a Proton Saga in Malaysia. She took part in the 2019 Saga Cup one-make series, driving for the Millennium Motorsports team. She first raced in the Cup in 2018, after more than ten years of driving a Lotus Elise in hillclimbs, track days and autocross. She races in the Casual category of the Saga Cup, although she is not one of the championship’s front-runners.

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.

Gabie Desales - races in the Flatout Racing Series in the Philippines. She did her first season of circuit racing in 2018 and came away with a ladies’ title, driving a Honda Civic. In December, she was part of a four-woman team for the Petron 8 Hour race at Clark International Speedway. Her team-mates were Kathy Villar, Dimple Napat and Aira Medrano. This was her second major endurance race after a run in a 12-hour event in the summer. Prior to circuit racing, she won several titles in slaloms and was a seven-time ladies’ champion.

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 (Yaris) 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 and 2018, she entered the event again. 

Gretchen Ho - races a Toyota Vios in one-make series in the Philippines. She is better known as a TV presenter and she initially began racing in celebrity events. She is a regular in the Celebrity class of the Vios Cup, having first competed in it in 2017. She was the championship’s best female driver in her first year and by 2019, was posting top-three finishes. She has hinted that 2019 was her last season.

Anna Inotsume - Japanese driver who began her career in 2015 as part of a women’s motorsport initiative run by Mazda in Japan. She was selected to race in the Super Taikyu series in a Mazda Roadster as part of an all-female team, which she continued to do in 2018. In 2018, she made her debut in the Asian Le Mans Series, joining the all-female R24 team for the Fuji race alongside Marie Iwaoka and Stephane Kox. They were seventh in the LMP3 class. Anna tried out for the 2020 W Series but was not selected.

Marie Iwaoka - Japanese driver who races sports and GT cars in Southeast Asia. She got into motorsport through a women’s initiative run by Mazda Japan in 2015. Since then, she has continued to race in Japan’s Super Taikyu series in a Mazda Roadster as part of an all-female “Love Drive” team. In 2018, she joined another all-female team for the Asian Le Mans Series, driving a Ligier LMP3 for R24 Racing. She achieved three seventh places at Shanghai, Buriram and Fuji, with team-mates including Anna Inotsume, Stephane Kox, Sarah Bovy and Sayaka Kato. She also did some rounds of the Super Taikyu championship in a Mazda Roadster.

Azrina Jane (Abdullah) - Malaysian driver who competed in drifting and autocross for several years before switching to circuit racing. She took part in the Advanced class of the Proton Saga Cup in 2019, driving for Millennium Motorsports Asia. This ran as part of the Malaysian Speed Festival, where she was a regular face in the drift and Solo sections. This was at least her second season in the Proton, although results are proving hard to find. Azrina is also the president of the Malaysian women’s car club and gives precision driving instruction to its female members.

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.

Sayaka Kato - Japanese driver who competed in a round of the 2019 Asian Le Mans Series as part of Keiko Ihara’s all-female R24 team. She drove a Ligier JS P3 with Sarah Bovy and finished seventh at Fuji. She also races a Mazda Roadster in the Super Taikyu series for Love Drive Racing. She entered two races with the team in 2018, helping them to a class fifth in the championship. In 2019, she raced with them full-time, . Her association with Mazda began in 2017 when she took part in a women’s driver training program. She won the “Ladies No 1 Race” from Anna Inotsume, driving a Roadster. 

“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.

Hiroko Komatsu - races in the Super Taikyu series in her native Japan, driving a Mazda Roadster for the all-female Love Drive team. She has been active in Super Taikyu since 2015, when she was selected for a women’s motorsport initiative run by Mazda. She has taken part in several events for them, as well as a run in at least one round of the 2016 Inter Proto one-make championship. She drove a Mazda Roadster for Love Drive Racing in 2019.

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.

Faye Kusairi - Malaysian driver who has been active in motorsport since 2012 and circuit racing since 2016. She first competed in the Malaysian Speed Festival and was fourth in the 1600 Race Car series, driving a Honda Jazz. Her best finish was third. That year, she also took part in the Sepang 1000km and was part of a four-driver winning team in a Proton Prima. The following year, she formed a female team with Sharina Ramlle for the MSF series. She is back racing in the MSF in 2019 after a one-year hiatus. Away from the track, she is a TV and film actress.

Angeline Lee - crossed over to circuit racing in April 2019 after having made her name as a sim racer. She entered the Malaysia Championship Series after winning a sim-racing shootout at the end of 2018. Her car is a Ford Fiesta, shared with German racer Sophia Menzenbach. The pair was 24th in both of their races at Sepang. Angeline has previously raced karts and also worked as a race organiser in Malaysia.

Joan Lee - Malaysian driver who races a Toyota and a Proton. She took part in the Sepang 1000km race in 2018, sharing a Toyota Vios with Stephen Wan and Goh Eng Peng. They were 18th overall. In 2019, she is competing in the MSF Super Turismo series in a Proton Saga, racing the Saga Cup class. She is part of the Seng Motorsports team. Previously, she worked as a promotional model in the motorsport industry.

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. In 2018, she moved up another class to the Super Sporting category.

Elysse Menorca - Filipino racer who became the first woman accepted into the Nissan GT Academy in 2016. Like the other Academy finalists, she started as a sim racer but crossed over into real-life motorsport, starting with Time Attack and drift-style events in a Toyota Corolla. In 2018, she took part in the Toyota Vios Cup. She contested the Promotional class and was a regular top-five finisher. She continued to race in the Promotional class in 2019 and was third overall.

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.  

Michie Mimoto - Japanese driver who has competed in her homeland and Thailand. She is mainly known for her performances in drifting but has been taking part in circuit racing in Thailand since 2016. Her Thai exploits have mainly been in the Toyota Vios Lady Cup, where she is a racewinner, although she has added Toyota Hilux Pickup racing to her schedule since 2018, which runs on the same bill. She was fourth in one of her first pickup races at the Chiang circuit in 2018, and has scored several top-ten finishes since then, in 2018 and 2019. She also competed in the Lady Cup that ran alongside the Thailand Super Turbo series, winning one race. Her car was her Vios.

Hinako Muramatsu - winner of the 2019 Kyojo Cup. She narrowly defeated Miki Onaga, winning the final race of the year. This was her first season in the all-female sportscar championship; previously, she raced single-seaters in the Super FJ series from 2017, racing at Okoyama and Suzuka. Her best result has been third at Okayama in 2019. Before that, she was involved in karting for several years.

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.

Dimple Napat - races in the Toyota Vios Trophy in the Philippines. She has been active in the series since 2015, when she entered the Promotional class at the age of 22. By the end of the 2018 Vios season, she was one of its leading drivers, winning twice at Clark International Speedway in the Promotional class. At the end of 2018, she was also part of an all-female team for the 8 Hours of the Philippines race, driving a Honda Civic with Kathy Villar, Gabie Desales and Aira Medrano. They did not finish. In 2019, she competed in Sodi World Series karting.

Nurul Husna Nasharuddin - Malaysian driver who normally races at Sepang, often alongside her father Nasharuddin Aziz. She has been racing since at least 2012, when she began her career in historics, driving a Honda Civic. She remained in the Asia Classic Car Challenge and continued to make guest appearances until recently. In 2019, she raced a Proton Saga in a one-make cup. Throughout her career, she has often raced Proton cars, including another Saga in 2018 which she shared with her father for the MSF Turismo championship. She has competed in the Sepang 1000km several times, and finished ninth in the 2014 edition, sharing a Proton Satria with Foo Yung Cheh and Yee Kok Jun.

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.

Miki Onaga - races a VITA sportscar in Japan, in both the all-female Kyojo Cup and in the mixed Inter Proto series for which that car is eligible. She was second in the 2019 Kyojo Cup, having joined for the second round and won straight away. This was the start of a championship battle with Hinako Muramatsu, which lasted until the final round - Muramatsu won. Miki has previously raced in a one-make series for the Toyota Vitz in Japan in 2015, as well as several years of karting.

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.

Sharina Ramlle - races a Proton Saga in her native Malaysia. She competes in the Casual class of the Proton Saga Cup, which is part of the Malaysian Speed Festival bill. As well as this, she sometimes races a Honda Jazz in the Malaysian Super Production championship, alongside her husband. According to Malaysian media, she has been racing since 2011 and is supported by “Pursuit of Dreams”, a driver programme run by MSF and Petronas. Sharina is also one of the members of Malaysia’s first women’s motorsport organisation and has an all-female team to work on her car. Her nickname is “Racing Mama”. 

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. She did some endurance racing in Malaysia in 2018, but did not compete as often. 2019 was similar, although she did get out in the K Car 24-Hour endurance race at Sepang at the end of the year.

Maria Fernanda Ribeiro - first female winner of a race on the Macau circuit, in 1956. It was a ladies’ race which she won in a Fiat 1100 from two other women. She had been competing for a couple of years by this time, having finished second in a speed test at the circuit in 1954. Her car was a Vauxhall belonging to her father, and she shared it with her husband. She did another Macau ladies’ race in 1958, finishing second in the Fiat. Her motorsport career ended in 1960 when she moved to Australia.

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.

Yumiko Sekizaki - Japanese driver who began racing in 2015 after being selected for a women’s motorsport programme run by Mazda. She was the fastest driver of the final twelve selected. Since then, she has been part of the Love Drive team competing in the Super Taikyu series, driving a Mazda Roadster with other Japanese female racers. She was part of the team for the 2018 Fuji 24 Hours. In 2019, she switched to rallying in a Toyota Vitz and competed in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge.

Shasha Shafie - Malaysian driver who competes in the Malaysian Championship Series. She normally shares a Suzuki Swift with Shafiq Samsudin. They have been racing together since 2018 and compete in the SP2 class for production cars, where they are midfielders, although they did score some class podiums in 2018. The car was put up for sale after the second round of the 2019 championship due to problems. As a teenager, Shasha was a karter, but she did not start her senior career until she was in her 30s.

Siti Shakirah (Shakirah Shaharul) – 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. In 2018, she made her single-seater debut in the Southeast Asia Formula 4 championship, taking part in the last three races at Sepang. She returned to Sepang in 2019 for the 1000km race, partnering Angeline Lee in a Toyota Vios. They were 29th overall. Prior to her Rookies debut, she competed in international karting from the age of nine.

Rio Shimono - Japanese driver who was set to make her debut in the 2020 Japanese TCR series, although this was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. She will drive a Honda Civic run by Drago Corse when the championship restarts. Rio previously raced in the Super FJ Series in Japan, an entry-level championship based at the Okuyama circuit. She scored two wins during the 2019 season.

Nanami Tsukamoto - Japanese-Brazilian driver famous in her home country for her pink cars and glamorous image. She competes in both racing and rallying, as well as drifting. In 2018, she travelled to Europe to race in the VLN, driving a Toyota GT86 for Ring Racing and earning a second and fifth in class. She had previously raced a GT86 in a one-make series in Japan between 2013 and 2017, alongside electric car racing in the JEVRA EV Trophy and a 2015 season in the Japanese Carrera Cup, where she was eleventh overall. In 2017, she won two rounds of an Audi A1 one-make series and in 2018 she added to her win tally with three victories in the Z Expert Trophy, driving a Nissan Fairlady. In rallies, she has competed in the 2018 and 2019 Toyota Gazoo Challenge in a GT86. 

Kathy Villar - won the GT150 championship of the Philippines Grand Touring championship, driving a Honda Civic. She was also Rookie of the Year. Late in 2018, she was part of an all-female team for the 8 Hours of the Philippines race, alongside Dimple Napat, Aira Medrano and Gabie Desales. They ran as high as third in class in their Honda Civic until it caught fire. Kathy previously competed in Time Attack events.

(Boey) Chai Pao Weei - races in the Proton Saga Cup in Malaysia. Her car is a Proton Iswara. She has been racing Protons in single-make championships since at least 2016. She won a Saga Novice Cup race at the 2017 Malaysian Speed Festival, sharing the car with Choo Yoong Chon. At the end of 2018, she raced a Suzuki Swift in the Sepang 1000km alongside Shasha Shafie and Nurul Husna Nasharuddin. In 2019, she competed in the Saga Cup Casual section of the MSF Super Turismo championship, in the Iswara.

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.

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