Saturday, 11 September 2010

Female Drivers in Touring Cars in the Rest of the World

This post works in the same way as the last one, only it features female touring car drivers from places other than Europe. Australian drivers now have their own post, as do American drivers. Violeta Pernice now has her own post, as does Delfina Frers.

Dora Bavio – raced touring cars in Argentina in the 1960s and 1970s. She began racing in a Renault Gordini, and favoured French cars throughout her short career. She was very young when she started, still in her late teens. In 1970, she entered the Argentine touring car championship, driving a Peugeot 404. She drove in seven events, and had a best finish of eighth, in her first race at Salto. Her last event of the year was the Argentine Touring Car Grand Prix, which she did not finish, stopping after the third stage. In 1972, she raced a Peugeot 504 in the championship, but only did one race, which she did not finish. Much later, a driver called Dora Bavio appears in the Rally of Argentina, driving a Peugeot 504, which suggests it was her.

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

Delia Borges – Argentina’s first female racing driver. She took part in the Argentine touring car championship in 1951, entering seven races. This included the Argentine Touring Car Grand Prix, a multi-day road race with 199 starters. Her best finish was 21st, driving a Chevrolet in the Mil Milhas. Her co-driver was Manuel Arrouge. Later, in 1954, she registered as an entry for the Carrera Panamericana, but did not race. She died in 1961.

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

Paula Calderón - races in touring cars in Colombia, her home country. Her first major race was the 6 Hours of Bogota in 2009, driving a Kia Picanto. With her team-mates Nelson Gutierrez, Pavel Russi and Alejandro Torres, she won the ST2 class. After a break, she returned to the circuits in 2012, in the ST2 class of the Colombian touring car championship. Driving a Kia Turbo this time, she was second overall, alongside Daniel Alvarado. In the same car, she was 22nd in the Bogota 6 Hours, racing against her sister, Tatiana Calderón. In 2014, the Calderón sisters planned to race together in New Zealand, but this did not happen. Paula does not seem to have raced at all. 

Valérie Chiasson – Canadian driver who began racing in 2007, after some years of karting. She started in the Toyota Cup, then in 2009, moved into the American Canadian Tour series, a stock car championship. She was 19th overall in her Chevrolet Impala, and second in the Rookie championship. She continued to compete, on and off, until 2012, when she left the motorsport world for a year, to concentrate on her other sporting interest: equestrianism. In 2013, she started planning a comeback, and funding for a part-season in the Canadian Touring Car Championship was available. She joined the Lombardi Honda team for four races in their Civic, and was fourth and fifth at Montreal, and tenth at Trois-Riviéres. One of these races was a Grand Prix support race. She intended to carry on part-time in 2015, and did continue to race, although in the one-make Nissan Micra Cup rather than the CTCC. She was sixth overall. In 2016, she raced the Micra and a Porsche 911, in the Canadian GT3 Cup. The Porsche was the better car for her, and she was eighth in the championship, with a best finish of sixth at Bowmanville. She was eighteenth in the Micra Cup. 

Pamela Esquivel – races touring cars in Mexico. In 2013, she won her first major race, a round of the Mexican Endurance Touring Car championship. Her car was a Ford Ka, and she was sixth in the championship. The same year, driving the same car, she was fourth in the Pony 1600 championship, with three third places. After that, she raced in Super Touring, still in Mexico, and was eighth in the 2014 Light championship, driving a Ford Focus. After another season in that category in 2015, she moved up to Super Touring 1 in 2016, driving a Renault Clio. At the time of writing, her best result has been a fourteenth place at Mexico City. Super Touring 2 was a more successful hunting ground for her, and she took one race win on her way to third in the championship. She started her motorsport career as a rally co-driver, and her first circuit race was a 24-hour race in Mexico City, which her brother also entered.

Marie-France Gagné – raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014. She drove a Mini Cooper in the Touring class. It was her first season in the series, and she acquitted herself well, with a best finish of sixth, and tenth in the 22-driver Touring class. She was competing with her husband, Éric Lacouture, as a team-mate. They are both dentists.

Silvina Genjo – winner of the Copa Corsa womens’ one-make series in Argentina in 1998. The same year, she also tried single-seater racing, in Formula Renault. Also in 1998, she did some races in Turismo Nacional, like many of her women-only series colleagues. Her car was a VW Polo. In 2000, she appeared in the TN series again, driving a VW Gol. Between 1998 and 2001, she also seems to have raced in a Kia one-make series in Argentina.  

María de los Angeles Hanhcik – Argentine driver active since the early 1980s, although she only really came to prominence about ten years later. She did two seasons in the Copa de Damas, driving a Nissan Sentra, and was the series runner-up in 1995. In 1997 and 1998, she took part in Formula Hyundai Femenina, finishing fourth in 1998. That was the year that she moved into mixed motorsport, in the Turismo Nacional championship.  For the next ten years, she combined drives in this series, in cars including a Renault 19, with one-make racing in a Kia and a Ford Fiesta, and Formula Tico. During this time, she was second in one TC race, although it is not clear which year. Since 2007, she has continued to race, on and off, and makes guest appearances in the TC series most years. She is also a performance driving instructor for BMW.

Nathalie Hénault – raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014, after several years of regional and club competition. She was racing in the Super class, and her car was a Subaru WRX. Right from the first round, she was on the pace, finishing eighth. Her best finishes were a pair of third places, both at Calabogie. She was fifth in the championship, and probably would have been higher without a string of DNFs near the end of the season. A second season of the CTCC ended quite similarly in 2015; Nathalie was more consistent, and had a better finishing record, and was fifth again, with a best finish of fifth at Shannonville. Her car was the Impreza. She raced in the Subaru in at least some rounds of the GT Challenge in 2016.

Sharima Khan – represents Guyana in the Caribbean championship. She began racing in 2012, at seventeen, when she raced alongside her father in endurance events. Since then, she has raced at her local South Dakota circuit in Guyana, and made some history in 2015 when she finished second there, driving her Honda CRX. She raced a little at the start of 2016, and then represented Guyana again in the CMRC in November, in the Honda. 

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

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

Verónica Peyón – Peruvian driver who competed in the Peruvian Touring Car Championship between 2010 and 2013. In 2012, she was seventh in the championship, driving a Honda Civic. Her best finish was second, at Chutana. The following year, despite five podium finishes, all at Chutana, the competition was stronger, and she was eighth. Prior to her two full seasons in the championship, she entered the 6 Hours of Peru twice, in 2010 and 2011. 2011 was her best year; she was fourth in class in a Toyota Corolla, driving as part of a team of three. In 2015, she was still racing, in the CCTC touring car championship, which she also entered in 2014, driving a Honda Civic still. She has won races outright, both years, and is one of the leading drivers in the series. In 2016, she drove for the Etna Baterias team, and won at least one race, at La Chutana. 

MaJo Rodriguez – raced trucks in 2016, in her homeland of Mexico, in the Super Copa Telcel series. Her truck was a Freightliner. Previously, since 2013, she competed in the Mexican national touring car championship, winning the T6 category twice in 2013 and 2014. Both years, she won the 24 Hours of Monterry, in the T5 and T6 categories. In 2015, she was runner-up in the Super Touring Light series, driving a Chevrolet, after taking three wins. She quit truck racing part-way through the 2016 season in order to concentrate on touring cars, driving a Ford in the Super Touring 1 championship.

Ana Gabriela Rubio – Mexican driver who races touring cars. She began with the local championship held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, after growing up around motorsport, and watching her father comepete. In 2013, she was eighth in the Pony 1600 championship, in a Chevrolet. She moved up to Mexican Super Touring in 2014, competing in the Light 2 category, in another Chevrolet. She was fifth overall.  2014 seems to have been her last year of active competition.

Stephanie Ruys de Perez – raced saloons in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, she was fourteenth in the Sanair Trans-Am race, in a Mini Cooper. She is best known for racing for the Comstock team, one of the first commercially sponsored racing teams. She also raced a Sunbeam Imp in 1966. Among her other cars was a Chevrolet Camaro. More detailed information about her career is not forthcoming, although she was quite famous at the time, appearing on TV adverts.

María Luz Salvucci – races in the Argentine Touring Car Championship. She had her first season in 2015, in Class 2 of the National series. Her car was a Ford Fiesta. It was not a full season, and she managed a best finish of 21st, at Viedma. In 2016, she drove the same car for the same DG Motorsport team, still in Class 2. Previously, she was active in karting in Argentina and the USA. Her brother, Ignacio, also races in the Turismo Nacional series.

Laleh Seddigh – Iran’s top woman driver. She has won several races against men, as well as her country’s Ladies’ Championship. She won the Iranian 1600cc GT championship outright in 2005. Since 2006, she has been unable to compete in her own country after accusations of cheating. She was barred from entering the Open class of Iranian touring cars after her 2005 win, so she disguised her new 2400cc car as her last season’s 1600 model in order to compete. She was found out and banned. Since then, she has done some Formula BMW races in Bahrain after receiving a licence there. She is also reported to have raced a Formula 3 car in Italy. At the same time, she was also active in rallying in Iran, where she has won multiple Ladies' titles between 2000 and 2009. In 2014 and 2015, she entered Iran's Shiraz Rally, driving a Peugeot 206 and a Mitsubishi Lancer, respectively. She finished in 2014, in thirteenth place.

Gisela Segade Sanchez – races touring cars in Argentina. In 2015, she took part in the Top Race series, driving a Chevrolet Vectra. Her best result was a sixth place, at Concepción in Uruguay. It was a tough season, with crash damage meaning she sat out a race, and later complained about the number of collisions in the series. She was 19th in the championship, and third in the Ladies’ Cup. She did most rounds of the Top Race championship in 2016, driving a Volkswagen, but had a poor finishing record and was 26th in the points, with only three finishes from nine races. Between 2010 and 2013, she did part-seasons of varying length in the Turismo Pista touring car championship, driving a Dodge and a Fiat.

Pat Sonnenschein - South African driver who raced in the 1960s. She competed in the Kyalami 9 Hours in a Mini, in 1964 and 1965, finishing sixth and 15th respectively. Her team-mate was George Armstrong. Later, in 1969, she drove with Christine Beckers, in an Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina. They were 18th overall. She raced between 1963 and 1969, and among her other cars was a Ford Zodiac, the first of its kind to be raced at all.

Samantha Tan – raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014. Her car was a Mini Cooper, and she was fifth in the Touring class, and ninth overall. Her best finish was fourth, at Mirabel, and she was usually in the top ten. This was quite remarkable, given that she was only 17 years old, and in her first full season of motorsport. Previously, she had done a little NASA stock car racing, with some success, and track days. In 2015, she raced a Kia Forte Koup in the Pirelli World Challenge, in the USA. Despite a bumpy start at Circuit of the Americas, where she did not finish any of her three races, she had a decent season, with fourth spots at Mosport and Miller. She was sixth in the championship. Mid-season, she also found time for some rounds of the CTCC, in a Mini, scoring one third place at Toronto. Most of 2016 was spent in the Pirelli World Challenge, where she drove a Honda Civic in the TCA class. She was sixth in the class championship, with a best finish of sixth and a consistent finishing record. Late in the season, she made two guest appearances in the CTCC, and was fifth and seventh at Bowmanville.  

Clare Vale - has competed in V8 Supercars in her native South Africa since 2007. In recent years, she has alternated between this and drifting. Between 2008 and 2010, she ran full seasons in Supercars, and her best overall finish was tenth, in 2010. She rose to prominence the year before, when she achieved a pole position, and went on to lead a race in her Ford Mustang. In 2012, she only did a part season, before returning to drifting. Prior to Supercars, she did two seasons in the Shelby Can-Am championship, in 2005 and 2006, finishing twelfth and eleventh respectively. She had also raced a Subaru in production car events, a Porsche 917 GT car and a classic Chevron in historic races.

Josefina Vigo – competes in Argentina’s Top Race series. Her car in 2015 was a Chevrolet Cruze, and she was 21st in the championship, after completing half a season. Her best finish was eleventh, at Chaco. This was her first time in Top Race, but she had raced in GT2000 in Argentina from a young age: she was 18 when she did her first races in 2012, in a Ford Mondeo and a Honda. She was eighth in the championship, with a best finish of fourth. In 2013, she managed her first podium finish, a second at La Plata, on the way to a championship fifth. Her car was a Ford Focus. Driving a Honda in 2014, she was third twice, at La Plata and Olivarría, and was seventh overall. Josefina has described 2015 as a learning year, and hopes to be more competitive in 2016. 2016 turned out to be an up and down season in the Cruze; she was disqualified from the first round, then managed a sixth place a few weeks later. She was 20th in the championship. Prior to her senior debut in 2012, she raced karts, and was Sudam Atlantic
champion in 2011.

Sandra Villaruel – Argentine actress who has done some motor racing. In 2012, she made a guest appearance in the Buenos Aires round of the Argentine Mini Cooper Challenge, and was eleventh. In 2014, she was set to compete in Class Two of the Turismo International championship, as part of Top Race in Argentina. During the second race, at Santa Fe, she crashed her Ford Fiesta heavily and briefly lost consciousness. She has not raced since. 

(Image copyright K&N Filters)

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