Saturday, 11 September 2010

Female Drivers in Touring Cars in Europe, 1950 to present day


Ksenya Niks, Andrina Gugger and Ulrike Krafft, at the start of the 2013 ETCC season

Apologies for what will be a lengthy post.
Women have competed in touring car championships at all levels in Europe, from the upper levels of club racing to the European championships. Interestingly, there seem to be fewer female drivers in the ETCC (now WTCC) now than there were in the 1960s.
Below is a selection of female drivers who have driven in touring car championships across Europe. Belgian drivers are likely to be found in the "Belcar" post, Italian drivers in the "Italian Drivers" post, and those who have taken part in one-make championships have their own pages. Dutch drivers, Swedish drivers, German drivers and British drivers now also have their own post. Mette Kruuse can now be found here.


Anna Alexandrova - Belarussian driver who raced in the National section of the Russian Circuit Championship in 2016, driving a Ford Fiesta. She took part in the first two races at Smolensk, but then left the series after a DNF at Nishni Novgorod. She was thirteenth and fifteenth in her two races. She also did three rounds of her home championship, in the same car, with a best finish of seventeenth, also at Smolensk. In 2015, she raced a VW Polo, taking in a couple of rounds of the Belarussian Touring Car Championship at Smolensk and finishing eleventh and twelfth. She used the same car in the Russian Endurance Challenge at Moscow, and finished fourth in the 4-hour race, sharing with Sergei Koronatov.

Christine Bourcier – raced in the French Super Production championship in 2000 and 2001. Her car in 2000 was a Citroen Saxo, and she used a Peugeot 106 and a Ford RS2000 in 2001. Both times, she drove for the Guerreiro Sport team. She does not appear to have raced again since then.

Nicole Drought – races touring cars in the Irish championship (ITCC). Her car is a Honda Integra, which runs in the Touring class. 2015 was her first year of serious competition, although she is from a motorsport family (mostly involved with rallying.) Her season got off to a shaky start with a crash in her first race, but she was soon on the pace. Her best finishes were a pair of second places, and she was second in the Touring class at the end of the season. As well as the Honda, she was invited to race a Porsche 944 at the Classic Car Live meeting, and finished fourth. She carried on in the ITCC with the Honda in 2016, in the Production class. After leading the Production standings for part of the season, she was fourth on the final leaderboard.

Natalia Goltsova - long-time competitor in Russian touring cars, always in a Lada. Despite having raced karts since the age of five, she was 28 when she really announced herself on the Russian scene, racing in the Lada Kalina Cup and scoring a second place at Moscow. That year, she also raced a Lada Samara on ice. In 2010, she raced in the Light category of the Russian Touring Car Championship, in the Kalina, usually finishing mid-field. This continued, and she had a best finish of tenth in 2011. On the ice, she was second in the Ladies’ championship, at Cherepovets. She continued to improve in 2012, with a best finish of fifth. In 2013, she was back to midfield, with grids strong this year, although she did manage two third places in Mitjet Cup races. After an incident involving her hair becoming caught in her helmet straps, causing her to lose concentration and crash, she did not return to ice racing in 2013, although she made some guest appearances in 2014. Most of 2014 was spent in the RTCC. This year, she scored some more top tens, including a fifth at Smolensk. She raced in the RTCC again in 2015, in a Lada run by her own family team. Her best result was fourth, at the NRING circuit, and she was ninth in the championship, one above her team-mate. As well as circuit racing, Natalia has also competed in rallycross, in a Lada, with some success. She raced her VAZ in the RTCC in 2016, with mixed results. She finished as high as fourth at Smolensk, but could not always match that pace, and was disqualified from the last round, finishing 18th in the championship. Her father is Vladimir Goltsov, a Soviet-era racer who also participated in the Dakar.


Nanna Gøtsche – Danish driver who races a SEAT Leon Supercopa car in endurance events. She has been racing cars since 2012, after many years of karting. Her first racing car was a Renault Clio, which she used in the Point S Silkeborg Clio Cup, achieving two third places and eighth in the championship. She continued to race Clios, sometimes for the Sally Racing team, for the next couple of seasons. In 2015, she raced in the Hankook Tyres 24H Series, usually in class A3T, for Zest Racecar Engineering. Her best result was in the Paul Ricard race, where she and her team-mates were 35th, sixth in class. Nanna was sixth in the series' Ladies’ Cup, which was quite competitive, having completed four of the six races. In 2016, this improved to second, even with a part-season. She was driving for the Artthea Sport team, who also won the SPX class. Her car was a Porsche. As well as endurance racing, she also competes in historic cars from time to time, including a Volvo Amazon.

Yvonne Gregoire - rather obscure driver of the 1970s. She occasionally appears in the French Touring Car Championship entry lists. In 1974, she drove a Simca Rally 2 in an FTCC race at Croix-en-Ternois, coming tenth in Class 2. In 1978, she reappears, in a Simca Rallye 3. She finished in 17th place in the Production 1600 class at Montlhéry. At some point, she was involved in an all-female Simca racing championship, and was apparently the runner-up, behind another mysterious driver called Catherine Bozio. This seems to have taken place in 1974.

Chantal Grimard - former Olympic swimmer who raced in Belgium in the mid-1980s. She first appears in the Belgian Touring Car Championship in 1985, driving a VW Golf GT. The full results for this championship are not available, but Chantal was not among the front-runners. In 1986, she drove in the championship again, which ran under Group N regulations. Her car was a Toyota MR2. This year, she was second in a heat of the Trophée de la Mer du Nord, but did not finish the main race. She was also 25th in the Spa 24 Hours, driving a Toyota Corolla with Anny-Charlotte Verney and Henny Hemmes. In 1987, she took part in some rounds of the French Formula Three championship, with the Belgian Sport Auto Racing team. After this, her racing career seems to peter out.

Jenny van Hilten - most famous for racing a Group B-spec Ford RS200 in Europe, in the late 1980s. She was quite successful in hillclimbs, winning her class at the Lorentzweiler event twice. One of her most memorable races was at Zandvoort in 1988, when she entered the DTCC round there. After making the most of her four-wheel-drive in the wet in the Group A Super Touring race, she was fourth overall. That year, she also drove  an RS500 in the Spa 24 Hours, with Evert Bolderheij and Bernard Winderickx. They did not finish. Jenny, driving with her husband, Bram van Hilten, and a driver called Phillips, returned to Spa in 1989, in a Honda Civic. They were 38th overall. That year, she made another appearance in Dutch touring cars, driving a Ford Fiesta XR2, but did not finish. In 1990, she competed in the Citroen AX GTI Cup, and managed some top-five positions. She was noted for her pace in qualifying. Later, in 1992, she did some more hillclimbs in the XR2. She is from Luxembourg, but did much of her racing in the Netherlands.

Oksana Kosachenko - best known as a Formula One press officer, and as the former manager of Vitaly Petrov, but she had a short competition career in the mid-2000s, while she was working as a motorsport broadcaster. She took part in the Russian VW Polo Cup in 2002 and 2003, with a best finish of tenth at St Petersburg, in 2002. In 2004, she drove a Polo in some rounds of the Russian Touring Car Light Championship, but she was never among the front-runners. In 2005, she made two appearances in the Russian Touring Car Championship, at Moscow. She finished 17th in both of her races, driving a Honda Civic. More recently, she has distanced herself from her racing experiences, and has made claims that women are not strong enough for top-level motor racing.

Petra Krajnyák – Hungarian driver who competes in the Hankook Racer Cup. Her car is a Suzuki Swift, and she drives for the OXXO Energy team, alongside Anett György. In 2016, her best result was eighth place, achieved twice in the middle of the season. This took her up to 11th place in the championship, after missing a round. 2016 appears to be her first season of senior competition.

Sabine Kukute – Latvian driver who raced a Nissan 350Z in the Speedest 1000 Euro Race series. Later, in 2008, she took part in the Baltic Touring Car Championship, driving a BMW 320. Her best finish was eighth, at Riga, and she was 21st overall. The same year, she appeared on reality TV in Latvia, for which she is best known.

Marina Mise – raced in the Croatian Touring Car Championship in 2007. Her car was a Skoda Felicia. She did not race for the whole season, but had a reasonably competitive sixth place at Dugopolje as her best finish. Although she did not do much circuit racing, she was quite active in hillclimbs in Croatia, competing in her national championship in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, she also used a Yugo, and in 2010, she was still on the hills, in a Fiat Cinquecento.

Michaela Peškova – raced a Ferrari 430 in Slovakia in 2010. Her best finish in the Slovakian racing championship was fifth, at the Slovakiaring. She also shared a Renault Megane with Karolina Czapka-Lampel in a two-hour enduro at the same meeting, finishing seventh. In 2009, she shared a BMW M3 with Matej Kotrba for the endurance races of the Czech Touring Car Championship. She does not appear to have raced since 2010.

Danielle Plomteux - Belgian touring car driver who specialised in long-distance events. In 1969, she raced an Opel Rallye Kadett in the Grand National at Zolder, a multi-heat endurance event. She was 61st. The following year, she was part of a team driving a tiny Honda S800 in the Nürburgring 36 Hours. She won her class, with team-mates Charles de Meutter and Serge Trosch, also Belgian. The same year, she returned to the Nürburgring for the Marathon de la Route, in a much bigger Opel Commodore. The race was 84 hours long, and ran over three-and-a-half days. Danielle and her team-mates, “Clyde” and a Y. Errolean, were twelfth, and second in the 2500cc class.

Irina Protasova - Ukrainian driver who has raced in multiple categories, always driving for Ukrainian teams. She was part of the Bevz Konstantyn set-up in 2010 for the S2000 European Touring Car Cup, driving a BMW 320i E46 in the first two rounds, after which the team pulled out. She scored two twelfths in Braga, and a ninth and a DNF at Salzburg. In 2012, driving a similar car, she took part in two races in the Dutch Supercar Challenge, for Chayka Racing. In 2007, she also tried rallying, driving a Subaru Impreza to tenth place in the Prime Yalta Rally in Ukraine. 

Kate Rafanelli - finished fourth in the 1996 Spa 24 Hours, driving a BMW with Florence Duez and Yolanda Surer. She returned to Spa in 1997, this time with Vanina Ickx and Florence Duez, in another BMW, but did not finish after an off. The same result transpired from her 1994 efforts with Benoit Galand and Didier Stassart, in a 325i this time. As well as her 24-hour racing, Kate also competed in the Andros Trophy on at least one occasion. Her family ran a BMW preparation company, so it is likely that she raced BMWs elsewhere in smaller events.

Angélique Sadalian - began racing in French national events in 2014, aged eighteen. She was the women’s champion on the 2014 VTR Tour, a simulator racing series, and this led to a drive in a Mitjet enduro race at Magny-Cours, as part of a three-driver team. She did some more Mitjet racing in 2015, based at Magny-Cours, then moved on to the Peugeot 208 Racing Cup in 2016. She was driving for No Limit Racing, with Guillaume Plubel.

Sandra Sutter – Swiss driver who races in ADAC Procar in Germany. After some time spent in karting, she did her first Procar races in 2008, when she was 18 years old. She drove a Ford Fiesta for the Vizethum team at Oschersleben, and was eighth in one race. In 2009, she joined the NK Racing team, still in a Fiesta. She did five races for the team, almost half a season. Oschersleben was her best circuit, and she was sixth twice there. Her final position in Division II was eleventh. After a break, during which she returned to karting, she did another part-season in Procar in the Fiesta in 2011, supported by Glatzel Racing. She was fourteenth overall, after four races, at Lausitz and Assen. Her best finish was eleventh, at Lausitz.

Emilie Tapy - raced in French Supertouring between 1999 and 2005. She was 29th in 1999, driving a BMW M3 E30, after only a few races. Her 2005 return yielded an eleventh place, in another BMW. In between, she had another drive in a BMW in 2000, and was fourteenth. In 2006, she competed in an Opel Astra Coupe in GT races. She was 20th and 25th at Pau in a joint French/British GT race meeting. Her team-mate was Anne-Sophie Nourry. She drove the same car with Audrey Roche at Val de Vienne, scoring a 21st and 27th place with two class wins. She was also linked to a Larbre Competition Dodge Viper drive, but this did not occur.

Marie-Rose Tibesar (“Miss Timaro”) - competed in European Touring Cars in 1962 and 1963. In 1962, she drove in the Brands Hatch and Nürburgring 6-Hour races, in her own BMW 700. She was 20th at the Nürburgring with Ulrich Therstappen, and 19th at Brands Hatch with Rona Pearson. Both times she was fifth in class. The following year, she entered the Brands Hatch 3 Hours with Peter Galliford, but they did not finish. She did not enter any more major races. “Miss Timaro” was from Luxembourg.

Isabel van de Velde - drove in the Belgian touring car championship in the mid-1980s. Full information about this championship is hard to come by, so it is difficult to know the extent of her racing activities. She first appears in the entry list for the 1985 EG Trophy support race, driving a VW Polo for the Belgian VW Club team. It is unclear whether or not she finished. In 1985, she drove a Toyota Starlet in the Trophée de la Mer du Nord. She qualified for the final, but her results in the heats, as well as her actual final position, are not forthcoming. She may well have taken part in other races during those two seasons.

Isabella (Bella) Walkoun - Austrian driver who races a Mini in central Europe. In 2013, she competed in the ESET Championship, and was among the leading Austrian drivers. Her best overall finish was sixth, at the Red Bull Ring. She entered the same championship in 2014, using the Mini and a Mitubishi Colt. Her best finish has been fifth, at Salzburg. 2013 seems to have been her first season of racing.

(Image from http://www.automobilsport.com)

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