Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Women at Le Mans: 1980 - present day

Rahel Frey, Cyndie Allemann, and Natacha Gachnang in 2010

1980 was the last year that female drivers entered the Le Mans 24 Hours in any number, until the 2010 race. That year, representation was increased by the presence of the all-female Matech Ford team.

Marianne Hoepfner/Jean-Marie Almeyras/Patrick Perrier (Porsche 934) - DNF
Anny-Charlotte Verney/Xavier Lapeyre/Jean-Louis Trintignant (Porsche 935 K3/80) - DNF
Lella Lombardi/Mark Thatcher/Don Whittington (Osella PA8 BMW) - DNF

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Ralph Kent-Cooke/Bob Garretson (Porsche 935 K3) - 6th

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Ray Ratcliff/Bob Garretson (Porsche 935 K3) - 11th
Desiré Wilson/Emilio de Villota/Alain de Cadenet (Grid Plaza S1 Ford) - DNF

Desiré Wilson/Axel Plankenhorn/Jürgen Lassig (Porsche 956) - 7th
Anny-Charlotte Verney/Vic Elford/Joel Gouhier (Rondeau M379C Ford) - DNF

Margie Smith-Haas/David Ovey/Paul Smith (Porsche 930) - DNF

Margie Smith-Haas/David Mercer/Jens Winther (URD C83 BMW) - DNF

Lyn St. James/Ray Bellm/Gordon Spice (Spice SE89C Ford) - DNF

Lyn St. James/Cathy Muller/Desiré Wilson (Spice SE90C Ford) - DNF

Tomiko Yoshikawa/Jun Harada/Kenta Shimamura (Spice SE89C Ford) - 15th (not classified)

Tomiko Yoshikawa/Alessandro Gini/Yojiro Temada (Courage C30LM Porsche) - DNF
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Luigino Pagotto (Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cup) - DNF

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) - 9th
Tomiko Yoshikawa/Jun Harada/Masahiko Kondou (Porsche 962C GTi) - 22nd (not classified)

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Andreas Fuchs (Porsche 911 GT2) - DNF

Claudia Hürtgen/John Robinson/Hugh Price (Porsche 911 GT2) - 13th
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Angelo Zadra (Porsche 911 GT2) - DNF

Claudia Hürtgen/Robert Nearn/Michel Ligonnet (Porsche 911 GT2) - 17th

Claudia Hürtgen/Vincent Vosse/André Ahrle (Porsche 993 GT2) - 20th

Claudia Hurtgen/Chris Gleason/Rick Fairbanks (Lola B2K/40 Nissan) - DNF
Vanina Ickx/Vincent Vosse/Carl Rosenblad (Chrysler Viper GTS-R) - DNF
Milka Duno/John Graham/David Murry (Reynard 01Q Judd) - DNF

Milka Duno/Didier de Radrigues/John Graham (Panoz LMP07 Mugen) - DNF

Vanina Ickx/Patrick Bourdais/Roland Bervillé (Porsche 996 GT3-RS) - 27th

Vanina Ickx/Joao Barbosa/ Martin Short (Dallara LMP Judd) - 16th
Liz Halliday/Gregor Fisken/Sam Hancock (Lola B05/40 AER) - DNF

Liz Halliday/Clint Field/Duncan Dayton (Lola B05/40 AER) - 19th

Liz Halliday/Vitaly Petrov/Romain Iannetta (Courage LC75 AER) - DNF

Vanina Ickx/Joao Barbosa/Stephane Gregoire (Pescarolo 01 Judd) - 11th
Amanda Stretton/Bob Berridge/Gareth Evans (Lola B06/10 AER) - DNF

Vanina Ickx/Jamie Campbell-Walter/Romain Iannetta (Creation CA07 Judd) - 20th

Vanina Ickx/Pierre Ragues/Franck Mailleux (Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2) - DNF
Natacha Gachnang/Cyndie Allemann/Rahel Frey (Ford GT) - DNF

Vanina Ickx/Bas Leinders/Maxime Martin (Lola Aston Martin B09/60) - 7th
Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/David Murry (Ford GT-R Mk.VII) - 26th

Keiko Ihara/Jean-Denis Deletraz/Marc Rostan - (Lola-Nissan B12/80 Coupe) - not classified

Natacha Gachnang/Franck Mailleux/Olivier Lombard - (Morgan LMP2) - 11th
Keiko Ihara/Fabien Giroix/Philippe Haezebrouck - (Lola B12/80 Nissan) - DNF

Keiko Ihara/Pierre Ragues/Ricky Taylor - (Morgan-Judd LMP2) - 14th

Christina Nielsen/Johnny Laursen/Mikkel Mac (Ferrari 458 Italia) - 35th
Ines Taittinger/Remy Striebig/Leo Roussel (Morgan-Nissan) - DNF

Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Bret Curtis (Ferrari 488 GTE) - 45th

Christina Nielsen/Fabio Babini/Erik Maris (Porsche 911 RSR) - 34th

Rahel Frey/Manuela Gostner/Michelle Gatting (Ferrari 488) - 39th

For earlier results, click here.

(Image from

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Women at Le Mans: 1950 - 1979

Yvette Fontaine, Christine Beckers and Marie Laurent in 1974

After the Second World War, it took a while for motor racing to get back to where it had been beforehand. The early 1950s was not the easiest time for female drivers, but a few managed to break through.
The biggest factor affecting women's participation at Le Mans during this period was the fallout from Annie Bousquet's fatal accident at the Reims 12 Hours in 1956. Due to the negative publicity this sad event triggered, French motorsport authorities were "reluctant" to accept entries from female drivers for a long time afterwards, meaning that none competed at all at Le Mans between 1955 and 1970.
During the 1970s, there was another boom in the number of female entrants, including Anny-Charlotte Verney and Lella Lombardi.

Germaine Rouault/Regine Gordine (Simca Gordini TMM) - DNF
Yvonne Simon/Michel Casse (Ferrari 166MM) - DNF

Yvonne Simon/Betty Haig (Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta) - 15th

Gilberte Thirion/André Pilette (Gordini T17S) - DNF

Marie-Claude Beaumont/Henri Greder (Chevrolet Corvette) - DNF

Marie-Claude Beaumont/Henri Greder (Chevrolet Corvette) - DNF

Marie-Claude Beaumont/Henri Greder (Chevrolet Corvette) - 12th (class win)
Christine Beckers/Roger Dubos/Pierre Pagani (Chevron B21/23 Ford) - DNF

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Martine Renier/Pierre Mauroy (Porsche Carrera RSR) - 13th
Christine Beckers/Marie Laurent/Yvette Fontaine (Chevron B23 Ford) - 17th (class win)
Marie-Claude Beaumont/Henri Greder (Chevrolet Corvette) - 18th

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Corinne Tarnaud/Yvette Fontaine (Porsche Carrera RS) - 11th
Marianne Hoepfner/Michèle Mouton/Christine Dacremont (Moynet LM75 JRD) - 21st (class win)
Marie-Claude Beaumont/Lella Lombardi (Alpine-Renault A441C) - DNF

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Hubert Streibig/Hugues Kirschoffer (Porsche 934) - 11th
Martine Renier/Thierry Perrier/Guy de Saint-Pierre (Porsche Carrera RSR) - 18th
Marie-Claude Beaumont/Didier Pironi/Bob Wollek (Porsche 934) - 19th
Lella Lombardi/Christine Dacremont (Lancia Stratos Turbo) - 20th
Christine Beckers/Jean Rondeau/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud (Inaltera Ford) - 21st

Lella Lombardi/Christine Beckers (Inaltera Ford) - 11th
Anny-Charlotte Verney/Rene Metge/Dany Snobeck/Hubert Streibig (Porsche Carrera RSR) - 18th
Anna Cambiaghi/Raymond Touroul/Alain Cudini (Osella PA5 BMW) - DNF
Christine Dacremont/Marianne Hoepfner (Lancia Stratos Turbo) - DNF

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Xavier Lapeyre/Francois Servanin (Porsche Carrera RSR) - 12th (class win)
Marianne Hoepfner/Christine Dacremont (WM P76 Peugeot) - DNF
Juliette Slaughter/Ian Harrower/Brian Joscelyne (Lola T294S Ford) - DNF

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Rene Metge/Patrick Bardinon (Posche 934) - 19th

Post 1979 results here

(Image copyright Corbis Images)

Friday, 15 October 2010

Women at Le Mans: pre 1950

The MG "Dancing Daughters" team of 1935, in their Midgets

The first Le Mans 24 Hours was held in 1923, and won by Andre Lagache and Rene Leonard, driving a Chenard & Walcker. No female drivers entered until 1930, but by the end of the decade, women drivers were commonplace, even making up some of the works entries.
Below is a list of all of the female participants up to 1949, with their results. In the case of a male/female driver pairing, the woman's name is always given first.

Odette Siko/Marguerite Mareuse (Bugatti T40) - 7th

Odette Siko/Marguerite Mareuse (Bugatti T40) - 9th, but disqualified for refuelling too early
Joan Chetwynd/H.H. Sisted (MG C-type Midget) - DNF

Odette Siko/"Jean Sabipa" (Alfa Romeo 6C) - 4th

Odette Siko/"Jean Sabipa" (Alfa Romeo 6C) - DNF
Marie Desprez/Pierre Brussienne (Bugatti T50S) - DNF
Elsie Wisdom/Mortimer Morris-Goodall (Aston Martin 1 1/2) - DNF

Dorothy Champney/Kay Petre (Riley Ulster Imp 9) - 13th
Anne-Cécile Rose-Itier/Charles Duruy (MG Midget PA) - 17th
Gwenda Stewart/Louis Bonne (Derby L8) - DNF

Anne-Cécile Rose-Itier/Robert Jacob (Fiat 508S Balilla) - 18th
Joan Richmond/Eveline Gordon-Simpson (MG Midget PA) - 24th
Doreen Evans/Barbara Skinner (MG Midget PA) - 25th
Margaret Allan/Colleen Eaton (MG Midget PA) - 26th
Gwenda Stewart/Charles Worth (Derby) - DNF
Elsie Wisdom/Kay Petre (Riley MPH) - DNF

Suzanne Largeot/Just-Emile Vernet (Simca-Fiat Balilla) - 12th (class win)
Joan Richmond/M.K.H. Bilney (Ford 10) - 14th
Dorothy Stanley-Turner/Enid Riddell (MG Midget PB) - 16th
Marjorie Eccles/Freddy Clifford (Singer Nine Le Mans Replica) - DNF
Kay Petre/G. Mangan (Austin Seven Grasshopper) - DNF
Anne-Cécile Rose-Itier/Huschke von Hanstein (Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine) - DNF

Anne-Cécile Rose-Itier/Claude Bonneau (MG Midget PB Special) - 12th
Prudence Fawcett/Geoffrey White (Morgan 4/4 Coventry Climax) - 13th
Fernande Roux/Germaine Rouault (Amilcar Pegase G36) - DNF
Suzanne Largeot/Just-Emile Vernet (Simca Huit Fiat) - DNF
Elsie Wisdom/Arthur Dobson (MG Midget PB) - DNF

Viviane Elder/René Camerano (Simca Huit) - DNF

(Image copyright

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Africa

Tasmin Pepper

The African continent has produced a few female drivers, the most famous being Desiré Wilson. This page will hopefully expand in future. Drivers in other types of racing in Africa can be found here

Vicki Kemp - raced in South African Supercars in 2010, aged 18, with a view to moving into NASCAR. She was selected for 2010 NASCAR Driver Talent Search and Shootout, but did not get through. Her finishing record in Supercars was not good, but she did manage eighth and ninth places. After that, she switched to single-seaters, and competed in Formula VW in 2011. Her car was more reliable, and she  had a best finish of sixth, at Killarney. She was tenth in the championship. During her second Formula VW season, her performances were similar, and she was eleventh overall. After that, she does not seem to have raced. As a junior, she was the first girl to win a South African karting championship in 2007.

Jennifer Murray - South African driver who was part of their A1 GP team, driving in one test session in 2006. She was taken on following her performances in Formula Ford, in South Africa and at the 2004 Formula Ford Festival in the UK. In 2006, she was a consistent top-ten performer in the South African series, and was fourth overall. Between 2007 and 2009, she mostly competed in the Shelby Can-Am sportscar series in South Africa, in a 3300cc Dodge. Her best season was 2008, during which she won two races, visited the podium ten times and was the overall runner-up. She has also competed in Formula Volkswagen, and in the all-female Formula Woman Nations Cup. 

Tasmin Pepper - well-travelled young driver from South Africa. She began racing in the South African Formula Ford Championship at sixteen. In her first full season, in 2007, she was fourth, and claimed her first podium finishes. In 2008, she combined the South African Formula Volkswagen series and Formula BMW Pacific, racing all over Asia as well as her homeland. Her best finishes in both championships were fourth places. She was seventh in Formula Volkswagen and thirteenth in Formula BMW. The following year, she stuck to Formula VW, and was rewarded with her first win, at Kyalami. Another three podiums at Kyalami and Killarney confirmed her fourth place. In 2010, she continued where she left off, finishing second in the championship, with another win at East London, and ten podium places. When she finished, she was never out of the top ten, and almost always in the top five. In 2011, she challenged again. Sadly, she did not win this time, although she was rarely out of the top five. She was fourth overall. In 2012, she switched to saloon car racing in the Wesbank Super Series, driving a VW Golf. She also returned to karting, including some visits to Europe, in the X30 series, after winning the South African edition in 2011. Her win was repeated in 2012. In 2013, she added more wins to her tally: a round of the VW Cup at Phakisa. Later that year, she was selected for the FIA VW Scirocco R-Cup ladies' evaluation tests, but did not win the following Shootout. She returned to the VW Cup in 2014, driving a Polo. She was fourth overall. In 2017, she returned to the VW Polo Cup in South Africa. She did a second season in the Polo in 2018, winning at least one race. In 2019, she qualified for the all-female W Series and was a solid midfield finisher, racing in Europe.

Brittany Vorster - Formula Three driver from South Africa. She competed in Formula 3 in South Africa in 2010, as well as travelling to Brazil for the Brazil Open. She did not qualify. Her South African results are not forthcoming. Prior to this, she raced in Formula GTi in South Africa, and was fifth in the 2009 championship after three podium finishes. A serious accident at the end of the 2010 season meant that she decided to retire. Before that, she was active on the karting scene, both nationally and internationally. Away from the track, she is a model and TV personality. 

(Image from