Holly Mason Franchitti with an Alfa Romeo
This post details some of the female drivers involved in historic racing in the UK and Europe. It includes the French Van de Vyver (VdeV) Championship for historic sportscars. Lorina McLaughlin (Boughton) now has her own post.
Julia de Baldanza - began racing historics in 2002. She has competed at many prestigious historic events, such as the Goodwood Revival, Monaco Historic Grand Prix, and Le Mans historic races, as well as other races around Europe. The cars she has driven and owned include a Bugatti T35B, Maserati A6GCSM and Alfa Romeo 1750 S/C Zagato. In 2007 and 2008, she drove in the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, in the Maserati. She regularly came in the top three of her class. Despite her good results, she classes herself as a “fan” rather than a serious competitor, and drives for fun. In 2012, she raced the Bugatti again, including at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. In 2013, she raced an OSCA Formula Junior in historic Formula Three events, and an Alta F2 car. In 2014, she was back in the Maserati, and competed in meetings including the Oldtimer Grand Prix in Germany, and the Goodwood Revival. In 2016, she drove Patsy Burt's McLaren-Oldsmobile in the Chateau Impney hillclimb.
Pia Bianchi - has raced historics in Europe, mostly in the UK, since the 1990s. She began in sprints and hillclimbs with a Renault 5 R5-F16 rally car. This was later replaced by a Porsche 934 Turbo, in which she graduated to circuit racing. Her co-driver is usually her husband, Tony, and they own an MGB, Chevron B8 and Allard Farallac jointly. They compete in HSCC events, at the Goodwood Revival, and in other historic racing festivals each year. In 2013, she mostly raced the MGB in VSCC events. In 2016, she raced a Farrallac and an Austin-Healey 3000.
Jo Blakeney-Edwards - VSCC member who races a Frazer Nash Shelsley in historic competitions in the UK. She has been driving since at least 2009, and often competes alongside her husband, Simon Blakeney-Edwards, sharing the car or as a two-driver team. In VSCC events, Jo often finishes in the top five. As well as circuit racing, she also drives in trials. For this, she either uses a Frazer Nash or an Austin. In 2013, she mostly drove the Frazer Nash, and she continued to race it in VSCC events in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, she was active in a Frazer Nash again.
Sue Darbyshire - race winner in historic events in the UK, driving her 1929 Morgan Super Aero. She began racing the car in 2003, after winning two championships in a bigger Morgan F4. She has won several races in the Morgan Cheffins Challenge, and at VSCC meetings. She was also the victor in a high-profile VSCC Ladies’ race in 2009. In 2011, she claimed her first hillclimb fastest time of the day at Pembrey. Sue continued to win races in 2012, despite breaking her arm in a hillclimb accident. Her winning streak continued in 2013. In 2014, she remained active and competitive in VSCC events, and in 2015, she seems to have concentrated on hillclimbs. In 2016, she returned to the circuits, although her season was affected by a crash in the Morgan at Mallory Park. She raced at VSCC meetings in 2017, earning at least two second places. Previously, she was a sidecar passenger in historic motorcycle racing.
Nicola van Dönhoff – Austrian driver, active in historic racing since at least the mid-2000s. She has raced a Bugatti T43 in Europe, and in VSCC events in the UK. In 2014, she raced a Ferrari 250 GT “Breadvan” with Martin Halusa. They drove in the Tour Auto, and the Le Mans Classic, this time with Niklas and Lukas Halusa. The team entered two cars, and their other Le Mans car was a Maserati 300S, and they were 42nd in Class Three. The Ferrari did not finish. She is the organiser of the Boy Capel Challenge and the Nürburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix. In 2016, she entered the Le Mans Classic again, in an Alfa Romeo 8C.
Rosanagh Eden - active in historic racing in the UK since at least 2008. Her car between then and 2010 was a 2500cc Alfa Romeo Sports from 1939. She used this in trials and circuit races, mainly VSCC events. In 2011, she started racing a Cooper Bristol T20, owned by her father, Nick. So far, she has not scored any notable results, although she is described as a “youngster” still.
Sharlie Goddard – races a Morgan in the UK. She has been active in motorsport since 2006, after inheriting her husband’s racing Morgan in 2004 and deciding to race it herself, inspired by pretending to a man at a petrol station that she did already. In 2012, she was particularly successful in the Aero Morgan Racing Challenge, winning her class eight times and setting a lap record at Silverstone. She was also very strong in 2013, with another eight class wins, and in 2014, when she led her class championship jointly up until the last race of the season. Her 2015 season was disrupted by a family emergency and medical issues, but she reappeared later in the season. In 2016, she bought another Morgan, and also did some more modern racing in China, in a Honda one-make race. She qualified well, but experienced serious car trouble during the race itself. She finished sixth on scratch in the 2017 BWRDC Allcomers' Handicap, but was heavily handicapped and finished down the order.
Gail Hill – has raced Jaguars in British club and national events since 2002. She has won two championships: the Jaguar XJ-S Class D title in 2005, and the B class in the XJ-S championship in 2011. Both of these performances included outright wins. Anglesey and Goodwood have been favoured tracks for her. In a rare non-Jaguar appearance, she raced an MG ZS in the 2009 Britcar 24 Hours, having been an enthusiastic participant in enduros and relays, such as the Birkett 6-Hour, in the past. She is the current Chairman of the BWRDC and has won several of their championships.
Gisella Ketvel – UK-based Italian-born driver who currently races a modern Lotus and a Jaguar E-Type from 1962, which she sometimes shares with Sam Hancock. In 2014, she and Hancock also shared an Alfa Romeo Giulia, which they used in HSCC events, and in 2013, she raced a Ford GT40 in the Guards Trophy, also held by the HSCC, and in the FIA Historic Sportscar Masters. That year, she raced a Merlyn single-seater, driving solo, and shared a Mini Cooper with her husband, Pii Ketvel. They raced together in the Lotus Cup. She continued to race the Jaguar in 2015. Away from motorsport, Gisella is a lawyer.
Katarina Kyvalova – Slovakian driver who usually races an Austin-Healey 3000 in the UK and Europe. She has competed at Goodwood, the Silverstone Classic and several VSCC meetings. In 2015, she raced the Healey in the Le Mans Legend, and was 37th out of 43 finishers. She is also part of the “Bentley Belles”, a quartet of female historic racers who drive Bentleys. The team drove together in the 2014 Benjafields 24 Hour race, in Portugal, and were twelfth overall, in a Bentley 4 1/2. They had run as high as fifth. The team are involved in various Bentley-related rallies and races, and were third overall in the 2015 Spa 6 Hours historic race. Driving with Nigel Batchelor and others, she entered the 2016 Le Mans Classic in two different cars, the Bentley and a Jaguar XK120. In 2017, she raced a Jaguar E-Type, and a Cooper T43 in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy at Goodwood. Katarina has been active in historic motorsport since 2000, starting off in rallies before switching her focus to circuit racing. She still navigates in classic navigational rallies on occasion.
Antonia Loysen – British historic racer active in the UK and Europe since 1981. She is most known for racing a series of Citroens, including a Light 12, MEP and 2CV. In the latter car, she has taken part in 24-hour races in the UK and Belgium. Her biggest Citroen race was the 2010 Le Mans Classic, in a C4 from 1932. She was 48th overall. Earlier in her career, in the 1980s, she raced Formula Ford and Formula Atlantic cars. In the late 1980s, she drove a BMW 2002 Ti in the BMW championship. As well as racing, she has set some speed records, and acted as a mechanic to other drivers.
Annette Mason - competes in a number of cars in historic events, particularly in the UK, as part of Ten Tenths, run by her husband, Nick Mason. She has driven a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica, Aston Martin Ulster, Ferrari 250 GTO and her own Bugatti T35. Some of the events she has driven in include the Goodwood Revival, Festival of Speed and several VSCC meetings. As well as racing, she has worked as a film stunt driver, in pre-war cars. She has raced less in recent years, partly due to an injury sustained in a celebrity horse race at Goodwood.
Holly Mason (Franchitti) - races historics in the UK as part of the Ten Tenths organisation. She has competed since at least 2006. She sometimes drives with Annette Mason, her stepmother, including a run at the 2009 Goodwood Revival in the Frazer Nash. Her usual cars are the 1934 Aston Martin Ulster and a more recent Alfa Romeo TZ, although she has driven other cars on occasion. Holly has won VSCC handicap races in the Aston Martin. She was less active in 2013 due to pregnancy, but she came back in 2014, driving the Frazer Nash at the Goodwood Revival. In 2016, she has been racing a pink Austin A35 in a historic one-make series, which includes a round at the Goodwood Revival. The car has been name "Floyd The Flying Cupcake". She had a testing accident in "Floyd" at Silverstone in 2017. Later, she returned to Goodwood for the Brooklands Trophy, in an Aston Martin Ulster.
Arlette Mueller - Swiss racer who drives historic Aston Martins around Europe, usually with her father, Urs. Her cars include a 1953 DB3 Coupe and a DB4 GT, which she usually shares with Urs, and a Lotus 22. She has driven at the Goodwood Revival, Silverstone Historic Festival and several events in the UK, Italy and France. She raced the Lotus in the Lurani Trophy in 2015, and was a midfield finisher.
Sévérine Moreau-Langin - competitor in the French Formula V de V series for historic sportscars since 2007. She has been racing in historic sportscar events, in France and Europe, since 2000. Her car is a Porsche 911 and her normal co-driver is Carol Quiniou. She took part in seven rounds of the Endurance series in 2007, and a full season in 2008. She and Carol were 20th overall, but eighth in class, in a very large field. Their best finishes were a third at Magny-Cours and a fourth at Estoril. In 2010, she won the French FFSA VHC Endurance Championship, driving the Porsche with Carol and Jean Jacques Renaut. She drove in the VdeV Nogaro event in 2011.
Claudia Nolte - races a Trabant in Germany. She competes in the dedicated Trabant A600 Cup, and in the German Historic Touring Car championship. She has been racing a Trabant 601 since 2011, in the HAIGO historic racing series, and the Schleiz meetings. Her finishes are normally mid-field, and she seems to do best in the HAIGO races. She did a part-season in the Trabant Cup in 2015, and had a best finish of second. It is unclear whether she is any relation to the East German politician of the same name.
Gaby von Oppenheim - active in the European historic racing scene, as a driver and an event organiser. She only seems to have started racing in her forties, in the late 2000s. Her usual cars are Porsche 911s, in a few different guises, which she uses in races and road rallies. Most commonly, it is a white 1965 model that she drives. Her co-drivers have included Marc Siebenthal and Claudia Hürtgen. In historics, she has raced mainly at the Nürburgring and Spa, in the Porsche. In 2012, she also drove an AC Ace Bristol from 1957 in the Le Mans Classic. Away from purely historic competition, she has also travelled to Senegal to race twice, in 2010 and 2011, in the Senegal Endurance Championship. Her car both times was a Porsche 911. In 2011, she drove a 911 in the Dijon round of the VdeV endurance series. In 2014, she raced both the Porsche and a BMW 2002 at the Spa Historic Festival, and was third in the Nürburgring Historic Trophy in the BMW, with Claudia Hürtgen. In 2016, she raced an Alpine 210 in the Le Mans Classic.
On the organising front, she is responsible for the German edition of Drive It Day, a classic event which commemorates the 1900 Thousand Mile Trial. She is also a cookery writer.
Janine Payne - successful ARP (club) Formula 3 driver in the UK for several seasons, before moving up to Thoroughbred Grand Prix in 2005, in a 1982 Arrows A4. She was fifth in her first race at Hockenheim and her best finish was third. This car was upgraded to an Arrows A5-1 in 2006, in which she finished seven races. In recent years, she raced in Historic Group C sportscar competition, using a Porsche 962C and Jaguar XJR16. The Porsche was sometimes shared with Richard Eyre. Her finishes have included many top tens.
Tania Pilkington - appears regularly at historic events in the UK. The car she is most seen in is an ex-Innes Ireland 1957 Cooper T43 single-seater, although she also drives an Alfa Romeo 6C1750. This car is sometimes shared with her sister, Alex. Among the events Tania has competed in are the Goodwood Revival, Silverstone Historic Festival, Pau Classic, and Spa Summer Classic. She is from a historic motorsport family: mother Trisha, father Richard and another sister, Erica, all race.
Agnieszka Piotrowska - Polish driver who races a Fiat 126 in historic events, in Poland and central and eastern Europe. She began competing in 2013, in the Fiat, in a novices’ championship in Poland, although she had done rally navigation previously, since 2007. In 2014, she raced in the HAIGO historic championship, based in Germany, still in the “Maluch Trophy” for small cars. Her best finish was 21st, at Poznan. She raced in the AB Trophy, a rallysprint series, in 2015, sharing her BMW with Michal Zalecki.
Carol Quiniou - mostly competes in historic events, but has driven slightly more modern machinery in the 2007 and 2008 VdeV Endurance championship, driving a Porsche 911. In historics, she has driven a Lotus 23B at many prestigious meetings, including the Goodwood Revival. Her other cars have included an Alexis Formula Ford, a Chevron shared with Helen Bashford-Malkie and a Lotus 59 Formula Ford. In this last car, she competed in the 2007 Historic Formula Ford Trophy France. She won the French FFSA VHC Endurance Championship in 2010, driving a Porsche 911 with Sévérine Moreau-Langin and Jean Jacques Renaut. She drove in the VdeV Nogaro event in the Porsche in 2011, with Sévérine. In 2014, she drove an E-Type Jaguar in the Le Mans Classic, in the Plateau 3 section.
Caroline (Abbou) Rossi di Montelera - French driver who races historics in Europe. She uses several cars, including a 1963 Brabham BT6 Formula Junior, in which she made her debut in 2012. She has also driven a Porsche 911, and has competed in historic saloon car races organised by the Historic Sports Car Club. In 2012, she was in action at all of its major events, including the Silverstone Classic and Dijon 6 Hours, at which she scored her first points, in the Pre-66 Touring Car race. In 2013 and 2014, she continued to race around Europe in historic Formula Junior. She raced the Brabham again in 2015 and 2016. Her main focus in 2016 was the Lurani Trophy, in which she was 40th overall.
Rhea Sautter - young German driver who seems to have been competing in historics since 2010. Her car is a 1961 Jaguar E-Type run by Gotcha Racing. She races in the Historic Touring & GT category, and has been seen in action at the Nürburgring’s Oldtimer GP, at Hockenheim, Spa and Zolder. Normally, she finishes, although she is not yet among the front-runners. Her father, Stefan Sautter, also races, and they sometimes compete together. She continued to race the E-Type in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, she raced in Australia, in the Phillip Island Historic Touring Car Championship. Her car was a Ford Mustang, and she was eleventh overall. She was back racing the E-Type in Europe in 2016. In 2017, she raced an Austin A35 in the Phillip Island Historic, as well as campaigning the E-Type in the Pre-66 GT Car Championship.
Janet Sherry - raced a Royale RP27, mainly in Historic Formula Ford 2000. She won the Invitation class of the Classic F3 championship in 2004 in the same car, and was still competing in this class in 2006. By 2008, she had changed spec to FF2000, and was running in the Historic FF2000 series in the UK. Earlier, she raced an Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti, between 1996 and 1998. She does not appear to have raced since then, and the Royale was sold in 2011.
Amanda Sparks – Australian driver who has raced in the Touring Car Masters series since 2009. Her cars have been historic Porsche 911s, usually an RS model. Her best year in the Porsche was probably 2011, when she was the winner of Division 3. The following year, she was third in Division 2. In 2013, she was fifth in Division 2, despite eight podium finishes. Since then, she has only really done part-seasons, in the Pro-Sports division. This seems to be related to an injury she suffered in 2014.In 2016, she only did three races, but was second in two of them, at Adelaide. Earlier in her career, she had some success in a Kawasaki-engined West sportscar, and was second in the Australian Sports Racer series. She was due to start the 2017 TCM Series, but did not. Amanda often races against her husband, Greg Keene. They are both medical doctors.
Amanda Torregiani – raced a Ford Mustang in the ICS Historic Saloon Car Championship in the UK, in the 1990s. She did at least one season, in 1994, when the series supported the BTCC. She raced alongside her husband, Nick, in another Mustang, and both cars were sponsored by the Maltese Tourist Board. Unfortunately, no race results are forthcoming for Amanda, or this series in general.
(Image copyright Lara Platman)