Sunday, 26 September 2010

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Norway


Miriam Aasli, during the 2014 Rally Bohemia

Norway has produced a number of female rally drivers. They tend not to be as well-travelled or well-known as their Swedish and Finnish counterparts, but they do get around.
Between 1960 and 1990, there were many more women competing in Norwegian rallies than there seem to be now.


Miriam Aasli - young driver active since 2011. Her first rally car was a Nissan Almera GTI, a rather unusual choice. She continued to rally the car in Norwegian events in 2012, entering seven, and had a best finish of 28th, in the Stavanger Rally. In 2013, she drove the Almera for most of the year, and was moderately successful, with class wins in the Hedemarken and Sørland rallies. Her only real low point was her only retirement, which came on the Telemark Rally, after the driveshaft on the Almera broke. Mid-season, she did one rally, the Stavanger Rally, in a Ford Fiesta, and was rewarded with her first top twenty finish - a twelfth place. In 2014, she changed over to the newer Fiesta full-time, and achieved two top-twenty finishes from eight rallies: 20th in the Sørland Rally and 16th in the Rally Telemark. She also did her first overseas rally, finishing 22nd in the Rally Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. In 2015, she stuck to the Norwegian championship again, in the Fiesta. Her best result was a 26th place in the Rally Hedemarken, and she was sixth in class. In 2016, she rallied the Fiesta again in the Norwegian championship, and was third in her class. The best events for her were the Rally Hedemarken and the Rally Sørland, in both of which she was second in class and 25th overall.

Trine Jensen - Norwegian who rallied in the 1960s and 1970s. In the early part of her career, from 1964 to 1969, she drove a Saab 96 and VW 1500 in Norwegian rallies, finishing well in class with some wins. Later, she took part in some international events, including the RAC Rally in 1975 and 1976, and the Swedish Rally in 1975, 1976 and 1977. This time, she was driving a Ford Escort. Her best result was probably fourth in the 1973 Rally Denmark, in an Escort.

Wenche Knudtzen - competed mostly in the 1960s and 1970s and through to the 1980s. In the early days, she drove a Saab with Carl Erik Knudtzen, sometimes as co-driver. They scored some class wins in Norwegian events. Later, she teamed up with a series of different co-drivers, and apparently favoured Soviet-built cars, such as the Moskvich she used in the 1972 Daily Express Rally, and the Lada she drove in the RAC Rally in 1982, finishing on both occasions. She drove the Lada in rallies in Norway and Sweden late in her career. 

Wenche Nafstad - rallied in Norway between 1978 and 1982. She also drove in the (now) Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark. Some of these rallies were international events, but their full results are hard to find. Wenche was among the front-runners in a "Ladies in Action" class for Scandinavian rallies during her years of activity. Her normal co-driver was Thor Nafstad. She is still active in motorsport administration, as a co-ordinator for the Volvo Original rally series.



Laila Schou-Nilsen – Norwegian driver who rallied in Europe in the 1960s. Between 1961 and 1963, she used Skoda cars in Scandinavian events. The best of these was an Octavia, which took her to ninth place in the 1962 Vinterrally, in Norway. In 1963, she drove a Skoda TS in the 1000 Lakes Rally, finishing 29th. Her last big rally seems to have been Monte Carlo in 1965, in which she drove a Saab 96. In the 1930s and 1940s, she made a name for herself as an Olympic downhill skier, and was an early exponent of women’s speed skating. She died in 1998.

Randi Sofie Tangeland - rallied in the 1970s, in her native Norway and Europe. She began as a junior in 1970. Soon, she was finishing well in class, driving a Fiat 850 Special, 127 and 128. She competed internationally between 1975 and 1977, entering the RAC and Swedish rallies in 1976, and the RAC in 1975 and 1977. She also co-drove for Birger Tangeland on occasion, including in international events. Her career continued into 1980, when she drove an Opel Kadett in Europe, including the Tulip Rally.

Heidi Wessel - driver and co-driver, mainly active behind the wheel in the 1960s. Among her earliest rally starts was the 1962 KNA Junior Rally in Norway, driving a Wartburg. She reappears in 1965, driving a Renault R8 Gordini with Trine Wessel, scoring some good positions in Class 5. Later, she drove a BMW 1600, Audi 90 and Alfa Romeo in Norwegian events, assisted by Trine Wessel, Kiss Sorvig and others. She disappears from the entry lists at the end of the 1960s, although Trine Wessel, presumably a sister, continues to navigate for other drivers.


(Image from bilsport.no)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Women in the Mille Miglia, Part II



Ada Pace (not during the Mille Miglia)

Female participants in the 1956 and 1957 runnings of the Mille Miglia, omitted from the last post due to space constraints.

1956
Sheila van Damm/Peter Harper (Sunbeam Rapier) - 72nd
Nancy Mitchell/Patricia Faichney (MGA) - 74th
Gilberte Thirion (Renault Dauphine) - 82nd
Annie Bousquet (Triumph TR2) - 95th
Giovanna Moscatelli/Pietro Manodori (Fiat-Abarth 750) - 148th
Nadège Ferrier/Bernard Cahier (Renault Dauphine) - 154th
Marguerite Pagot/Marc Frilloux (Triumph TR2) - 158th
Mirella Agosti/Aldo Piva (Lancia Appia) - 174th
Ines Fendoni/Bruno Moroni (Renault 4CV) - DNF
Gilberte Stempert (Panhard Dyna) - DNF
Maria Teresa Barozzi/Carlo Pelli (Siata 1250 GT Zagato) - DNF

1957
Anna Raselli/Francois Smadsa (Ford Thunderbird) - 137th
Annie Spiers/Jacques Spiers (MGA) - 153rd
Annie Soisbault/Monique Bouvier (Panhard Dyna) - DNF
Ada Pace (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV) - DNF
Sheila van Damm/David R. Humphrey (Sunbeam Rapier) - DNF
Lise Renaud/Regine Gordine (Citroen DS19) - DNF
Nancy Mitchell/Patricia Faichney (Triumph TR3) - DNF
Regine Langlois/Gerald Langlois (Salmson 2300) - DNF

(Image from http://www.forum-auto.com/sport-auto/histoire-du-sport-auto/sujet379179-3080.htm)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Women in the Mille Miglia


Lia Comirato Dumas, seven-time entrant

The original Mille Miglia was a road race across Italy, which ran between 1927 and 1957, with a break for the Second World War. There were 24 editions in total. It was run as a round of the World Sportscar Championship between 1953 and 1957.
It was stopped, in this format at least, after the 1957 running, when Alfonso de Portago, his co-driver and thirteen spectators died in an accident. After that, it ran as a regularity test, and later still, both a historic rally and a round of the modern Italian Rally Championship. Only the original event is charted here.
All the known female participants in the original road race are recorded here. For the sake of clarity, the woman's name is always given first in the case of a male/female driver pairing.
1928
Maria Antonietta d'Avanzo/Manuel de Teffé (Chrysler Tipo 72) - DNF
1929
Mimi Aylmer/E. Strignasacchi (Lancia Lambda Berlina) - 29th
Maria Antonietta d'Avanzo/Carlo Bruno (Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS) - DNF
1931
Maria Antonietta d'Avanzo/Carlo Castelbarco (Bugatti T43) - DNF
1932
Maria Antonietta d'Avanzo/Francesco Severi (Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider Touring) - DNF
1934
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Gianfranco Comotti (Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 SSft Spider Brianza) - 13th, class win
Joan Hall/Eddie Hall (MG Magnette K3) - DNF
1936
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat 508CS Balilla Sport) - 14th
Mimi Aylmer/Gambellini (Fiat 508 Balilla Gas) - DNF



Mimi Aylmer, actress and racer
1937
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat 508CS Balilla Sport) - DNF
Elsie Wisdom/Tommy Wisdom (MG Tipo SA Berlina) - DNF
1938
Adele Macchia/Alberto Macchia (Fiat 1100MM Berlinetta Salvio) - 45th
Paola della Chiesa/Luigi della Chiesa (Fiat 1100 Sport) - DNF
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat-Comirato 1100) - DNF
1940
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat-Comirato 1100) - DNF
1947
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat-Comirato 1100) - 8th
Mirella Quadri/L. Quadri (Fiat) - DNF
Irma Martelli/Geri (Fiat) - DNF
Leonida Crespi Perellino/Cesare Crespi Perellino (Fiat 1100S Berlinetta) - DNF
Carla Vincentini/Emilio Vincentini (BMW 308) - DNF
1948
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat-Comirato 1100) - 2nd
Mirella Quadri/L. Quadri (Lancia Aprilia) - 20th
1949
Corinna Braccialini/P. Braccialini (Cisitalia 202 SMM) - 127th
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Fiat-Comirato 1100) - DNF
Mirella Quadri/L. Quadri (Lancia) - 20th
1950
Maria Teresa de Filippis/A. Motta (Urania) - DNF
Margherita Grosso/F. Grosso (Fiat 1100S Berlinetta) - DNF
Corinna Braccialini/P. Braccialini (Cisitalia 202 SMM) - DNF
1951
Yvonne Simon/Alberto Cacciari (Ferrari 166 MM Spider Vignale) - 90th
Betty Stapleton/Ernest Stapleton (Aston Martin Spa Special) - 111th
1952
Lia Comirato Dumas/Alberto Comirato (Siata Daina Gran Sport Fiat) - 62nd
Bianca Maria Piazza/Mario Piazza (Ferrari 195 Inter Berlinetta Vignale) - 83rd
Graziella Fontana/W. Giacometti (Fiat 500C) - 200th
Betty Stapleton/Ernest Stapleton (Aston Martin Spa Special) - DNF
1953
Olga della Beffa/Alberto della Beffa (Alfa Romeo 1900 TI) - 31st
Susanna Millo Heaurtaux/Jean Heaurtaux (Jaguar C Type) - 35th
Gilberte Thirion/Helmut Polensky (Porsche 356) - 64th
Dafne Bernardi/Ottavio Marazzi (Lancia Aurelia) - 75th
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Franco Goldoni (Stanguellini 750 Sport) - 117th
Graziella Fontana/W. Giacometti (Fiat 1100) - 120th
Maria T. Zambrini/Paul Guiraud (Peugeot 203) - 126th
Annie Bousquet/Simone des Forest (Renault 4CV) - 282nd
Bianca Maria Piazza/Mario Piazza (Ferrari 250 MM Pininfarina) - DNF
1954
Bianca Maria Piazza/Mario Piazza (Ferrari 250 MM Pininfarina) - 42nd
Gilberte Thirion/Annie Bousquet (Gordini T15S) - 55th
Franca Pittoni/Carlo Pittoni (Fiat 1100 Zagato) - 75th
Dafne Bernardi/Franco Torresi (Fiat 1100/103) - 85th
Madeleine Bochon/Lise Renaud (Renault 4CV) - 127th
Renata Angiolini/Giacomo Pizzagalli (Peugeot 203) - 136th
Giovanna Moscatelli/Pietro Manadori (Fiat 500C) - DNF
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Franco Goldoni (Stanguellini 750 Sport) - DNF
1955
Irene Terray/Pierre David (Peugeot 203 Special) - 52nd
Gilberte Thirion/Nadège Washer (Gordini T15S) - 57th
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Augusto Zocca (Stanguellini 750 Sport) - 99th
Maria Teresa Barozzi/Carlo Pelli (Fiat 1100 Zagato) - 158th
Gilberte Stempert (Panhard Dyna) - 161st
Nicole Angelvin/Marc Angelvin (Simca Aronde) - 186th
Mirella Agosti/Daniele Agosti (Fiat 1100/103) -198th
Luisa Pozzoli/Emilio Prudenzano (Fiat 1100/103 TV) - 209th
Renata Anselmo/Adolfo Peluso (Iso Isetta) - 277th
Lise Renaud/Regine Gordine (Moretti 750 Gran Sport) - DNF
Giovanna Moscatelli/Pietro Manadori (Fiat 500C) - DNF
Maria Teresa de Filippis (Maserati A6GCM) - DNF
(1956 and 1957 follow here)
Lia Comirato-Dumas image: http://www.fiat508cs.stellaleone.ch/mille-miglia.html
Mimi Aylmer image: http://www.balillaregistroitaliano.it/coppad'orodellittorio02.html

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Women in the Targa Florio

Elisabeth Junek in the Targa Florio
The original Targa Florio was a legendary endurance road race in the mountains of Sicily, which began in 1906. It ran in various forms until 1973, when it was downgraded to a national sportscar event, and then a rally. It was a round of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973.
The first female competitor was Madame le Blon in 1906. She acted as a riding mechanic for her husband, Hubert le Blon, who finished sixth in his Hotchkiss.
Below is a list of all the female drivers who have taken part in the original race. Where male/female pairings are entered, the woman's name is placed first for clarity.

1920
Maria Antonietta d’Avanzo (Buick) - DNF

1922
Maria Antonietta d’Avanzo (Alfa Romeo ES) - DNF

1927
Elisabeth Junek (Bugatti T35B) - DNF

1928
Elisabeth Junek (Bugatti T35B) - 5th
Margot Einsiedel (Bugatti T37) - 12th

1953
Anna Maria Peduzzi (Stanguellini) - DNF

1954
Anna Maria Peduzzi (Stanguellini) - DNF

1955
Maria Teresa de Filippis/Luigi Belucci (Maserati A6GCS) - 9th

1957
Isabella Taruffi/Piero Taruffi (Lancia Appia 1100 ) - 1st

1958
Ada Pace/Carlo Peroglio (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV) - 15th
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Francesco Siracusa (Ferrari 500 TR) - DNF

1959
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Giancarlo Rigamonti (OSCA Sport 750) - 20th
Ada Pace/Carlo Peroglio (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV Zagato) - DNF

1960
Ada Pace/Giancarlo Castellina (OSCA S1100) - 11th
Anna Maria Peduzzi/Francesco Siracusa (OSCA F2/S 1500) - 17th

1963
Ada Pace/Vincenzo Arena (Abarth-Simca 1300 Bialbero) -  DNF

1968
Pat Moss-Carlsson/Rosadele Facetti (Lancia Fulvia HF Zagato) - 19th

1969
Gabriel Konig/Mark Konig (Nomad Mk2-BRM) - DNF

1970
“Patrizia”(Silvia Strobele)/Luigi Moreschi (AMS SP-Ford) - DNF

1971
Christine Beckers/Ennio Bonomelli (Porsche 911 S) - DNF

1972
Rosadele Facetti/Marie-Claude Beaumont (Opel GT) - DNF

1973
Giuseppina “Giusy” Gagliano/Sergio Mantia (Alfa Romeo GTA) - DNF

(Image source unknown)

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Earliest Women's Races


Ellen Jouanny and a De Dion motor tricycle

Events for women drivers have existed almost since the earliest days of motorsport.

Le Championnat des Chauffeuses
In 1897, the first known ladies’ race was held at the Longchamps racecourse, in Paris. It was billed as the “Championnat des Chauffeuses” (Women Drivers’ Championship), and was held as part of a race meeting for those involved in showbusiness. Among the entrants were a vaudeville actress (Ellen Jouanny) and a costume designer (Léa Lemoine). These events would later become the "Championnat des Artistes". In the early days, they mainly consisted of bicycle races, which some of the "chauffeuses" also entered. It was organised by the Paris Echo newspaper.
Eight women competed, riding De Dion motorised tricycles. The format of the event consisted of three elimination runs, of one lap each, and a final, of two laps. The results were as follows:

Heat 1
1. Léa Lemoine
2. Ellen Jouanny
3. Jane Boié

Heat 2
1. “Bossu”
2. Germaine Doverne
3. Hélène Darbell

Heat 3
1. De Grandval
2. “Hellé”

Final
1.  Léa Lemoine
2.  De Grandval
3.   “Bossu”

The competitors all received prizes, with the winner, Léa Lemoine, being presented with a bracelet.

The Championnat was run at least three times, between 1897 and 1899. Some of the drivers, including Léa Lemoine, returned for all three editions. Later events were open to cyclecars as well as tricycles.

The Ranelagh Automobile Gymkhana
In July, 1900, the first ladies’ race in the UK was held at the Ranelagh Club in Barnes, London. It was part of the Ranelagh Automobile Gymkhana, which comprised of a series of races, challenges and motorised games. The race was run on a course a little less than a mile long, and consisted of a single lap. The results were as follows:

1. Miss Weblyn (6hp Daimler “Parisian”)
2. Mrs. Edward Kennard (De Dion Voiturette)
3. Miss M. Lloyd-Price (4hp Panhard)
DNF: Miss Vera Butler (6hp Panhard)

Vera Butler also took part in the “Starting and Stopping Handicap” later on.
For a long time, there was some confusion around this race, as “Weblyn” was written down somewhere as “Wemblyn”, making it hard to verify her existence.
The Gymkhana was not a one-off, and more ladies’ races were held. In 1904, a ladies' race was organised, but as only one driver, Mrs. George Thrupp, turned up, she was awarded the prize in a walkover. After this, the Gymkhana appears to have become an official event of the Women’s Automobile Club, the first all-female car club in the UK. They held gymkhanas at Ranelagh in 1905 and 1906, at least.

The USA
The earliest women's race in the USA seems to have been held at Washington Park in Chicago, in September 1900. The track was a mile-long dirt oval. Two women took part, but the make and model of their cars is not recorded. They may well have been electric vehicles, which were considered suitable for female drivers. A driver with the same surname as Jeanette Lindstrom is also recorded in an electric car race at the same meeting. The race was run over two laps.

Results:

1. Miss Jeanette Lindstrom
2. Miss M.E. Ryan
The Brooklands Ladies’ Bracelet Handicap
The original proprietors of Brooklands were not overly keen on female drivers, but in 1908, a Ladies’ Race was put on for them. Ethel Locke-King, one of the leading drivers, was the wife of Hugh Locke-King, the owner of Brooklands, and helped to run the track, despite not being allowed to drive on it competitively. Seven women entered the Handicap, but only five made it to the start.


Results:
1. Muriel Thompson (Austin “Pobble”)
2. Ethel Locke-King (Itala)
3. Christabel Ellis (Arrol-Johnston “Guarded Flame”)
4. Mrs J. Roland Hewitt (De Dion)
5. Nelly Ridge-Jones (Sunbeam)
DNS: Lady Muriel Gore-Brown (Humber)
DNS: Ada Billing (Mors)

Later, at the August Bank Holiday meeting, a Match Race was held between Muriel Thompson and Christabel Ellis, which was again won by Muriel Thompson.

(I am grateful to Grace’s Guide [www.gracesguide.co.uk] for information.)




Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Formula Woman



Entrants in the 2004 championship

Formula Woman began in the UK in a blaze of publicity in 2004. It was billed as a unique and groundbreaking opportunity for women to become racing drivers. The series was supported by Mazda, who were using it to promote their RX-8 road car. 16 women, all of whom had to be complete novices, would race identical RX-8s around the UK’s circuits, followed by a dedicated TV programme.

Despite the media fanfare, Formula Woman was both controversial and plagued by problems from the start. Its selection criteria were criticised when it was discovered that applicants were being judged on their “presentation skills”, instead of solely on their driving standards. When rumours suggested that the championship would have a reality TV elimination format, with viewer votes, there was considerable derision. Katherine Legge, who was employed by Formula Woman as a driving instructor, walked out early on, for reasons never fully explained. Sponsors dropped out, and the planned TV coverage was cut to three episodes only.

The series did go ahead, without the elimination votes, although reality TV touches, such as drivers being berated by Tim Harvey and Graeme Glew, the championship bosses, were retained. The championship was won by Natasha Firman, sister of F1 driver Ralph Firman, and her prize was a test in a BTCC car. Natasha went on to do a few races in Britcar later, but claimed that she had entered for fun and had no desire to drive professionally.

2004 Championship:
1. Natasha Firman
2. Lorraine Pinner
3. Bev Tyler
4. Juliette Thurston
5. Emma Hayles
6. Margo Gardner
7. Pippa Cow
8. Lauren Blighton
9. Nicola Robinson
10. Judith Lyons
11. Sarah Bennett-Baggs
12. Amy Handford
13. Victoria Hardy
14. Max Thompson
15. Catherine Gard
16. Joanna Linton
17. Karen Andrews

Mazda withdrew its support after 2004, but Formula Woman continued using Caterham 7s. A “Nations Cup” ran in 2005, consisting of 2004 graduates and more experienced drivers from around the world. It was won by Natalie Butler of the UK.

2005 Entry List:
Emma Hayles (England)
Annie Templeton (England)
Natalie Butler (England)
Margo Gardner (Scotland)
Rachel Owen (Wales)
Jennifer Daniel (Ireland)
Jennifer Murray (South Africa)
Nettan Lindgren (Sweden)
Anna Walewska (Poland)
Lauren Gray (Australia)
Amanda Hennessy (USA)
Theresia Balk (Netherlands)

The novice-based championship continued in 2006, but with a much lower profile and no TV coverage. It was won by Nikki Welsby. Although more seasons were planned, and advertisements were issued for drivers in 2007, the championship was quietly cancelled. The Formula Woman website was taken down in 2008.

Several drivers from Formula Woman have continued to race around the UK, including Sarah Bennet-Baggs (2004) and Nikki Welsby, but most have either given up or struggled to find sponsorship.

(Image from http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

Citroen Challenge Feminin



Challenge drivers in 2004

The Citroen Challenge Féminin was a rallycross series for women, which ran between 2003 and 2006, when Citroen withdrew its support. It featured as part of French Rallycross Championship meetings and acted as an extra race for female competitors in the mixed Citroen Challenge. Initially, the cars used were Saxos, but these were superseded by the C2, upon its introduction in 2004. The first three championships were won by Catherine Planche. Veronique Patier, a consistent runner-up, triumphed in 2006.

The series attracted quite a large field, and had some crossover with the Andros Trophée Feminin grids of the time. Some of the drivers used it as a stepping stone to higher levels of rallycross competition, but others, despite doing well, did not compete outside it. Among the entrants who went on to greater things are Anne-Sophie and Marie-Laure Lemonnier, and Celine Menier, who all compete (or competed) with varying degrees of success in the main classes of the French Rallycross Championship. Veronique Patier and Catherine Planche now compete in different areas of motorsport.

2003 Championship:
1. Catherine Planche
2. Sophie Gaillard
3. Sandra Bessas

2004 Championship:
1. Catherine Planche
2. Veronique Patier
3. Marie-Laure Lemonnier
4. Stephanie Liger
5. Anne-Sophie Lemonnier
6. Sandra Bessas

2005 Championship:
1. Catherine Planche
2. Veronique Patier
3. Anne-Sophie Lemonnier
4. Marie-Laure Lemonnier
5. Stephanie Liger
6. Aurelie Salviat
7. Delphine Picoty

2006 Championship:
1. Veronique Patier
2. Aurelie Salviat
3. Anne-Sophie Lemonnier
4. Marie-Laure Lemonnier
5. Isabelle Poncet

(Image from http://rallycross-news.pagesperso-orange.fr/coupec2.htm)

The Mazda 121 Challenge




This championship ran in 1996 and was initiated by Mazda, to promote its 121 supercompact car. It appears to have run as part of the Australian Touring Car championship, and consisted of eight races. A number of the entrants had at least some motorsport experience, mostly gained in other Australian saloon championships. One, Jo Cadman, is better-known as a rally driver. Some, including Kylie Waldon, were complete novices.

The Challenge was won by Tania Gulson, who had prior experience in one-make racing. Her victory came in spite of a large crash in the second race, at Sandown. Melinda Price was second, and touring car racer Sue Hughes-Collins was fifth. Tania Gulson also set the championship’s lap record, at Symmons Plains. Paula Elstrek won at least two races. Profiles of some of the drivers involved can be found here.

Entry list:
Tania Gulson
Melinda Price
Sue Hughes-Collins
Kylie Waldon
Paula Elstrek
Jo Cadman
Megan Kirkham
Kerryn Brewer
Carolyn Peterson
Wendy Gibbs
Cassandra Crisp
Carol Jackson
Joanne O'Brien

(Image from http://members.iinet.net.au/~misstery/rosco/paularesume.html)

The Citroen Total Trophy



The Citroen Total Trophy ran in France in 1984. It was a “driver search” competition, which began in 1981 and was originally open to both sexes. The women’s edition in 1984 was a one-off.

The drivers were recruited through a series of regional competitions, with the regional winners going forward to the main Trophy competition. According to Sylvie Seignobeaux, the regional winner for Lyon, the trials involved both racing and rallying, motorkhana events and stunts such as driving whilst blindfolded. Eleven women made it into the second phase of the competition.

The Trophy proper was rally-based and ran as its own class in French events. All the competitors used Citroen Visa Mille Pistes models provided by Citroen. There were six rounds, covering gravel and tarmac. The performances of the drivers varied, as would be expected in a group of novices.

The Trophy had a very generous prize fund, with cash awards down to tenth place. The winner was awarded a Citroen works-supported drive for the 1985 season. The runner-up had her 1985 season funded by Citroen.

Sylvie Seignobeaux was the eventual winner, after proving herself to be one of the strongest drivers from the beginning. Christine Driano was second. Both took up their prize drives the following year, although Christine Driano took her rally career much further in the future. Other drivers who emerged from the Trophy are Patricia Bertapelle, who went on to considerable success in rallying and circuit racing, and Florence L’Huillier, who continued to drive in rallies, and later, as Florence Duez, in sportscar races.

Entry list:
Christine Driano/Brigitte Bigata (Bordeaux)
Sylvie Seignobeaux/Sylviane Sitarz (Lyon)
Pascale Neyret/Jocelyne Goglio (Paris)
Andrée Andrina/Martine Benquet-Crevaux (Marseille)
Florence L'Huillier/Nicole Vicaire (Rennes)
Patricia Bertapelle/Nadine Faivre (Nancy)
Christine Belime/Marie-Paule Pradelle (Centre)
Muriel Gervais/Nicole Guiblain (Ile-de-France)
Carole Vergnaud/Guylaine Juillot (Paris region)
Bernadette Sacy/Andrée Tabet (Lille)
Yvonne Querherno/Marie Latieule (Toulouse)

(Image copyright Citroen PSA)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Ford Fiesta Ladies' Cup



Delia Stegemann and Anette Meeuvissen

This series was a one-make saloon competition for women drivers, using identical Ford Fiestas. To begin with, they were fairly standard models, but after 1984, they were XR2s. It ran in Germany between 1982 and 1986, with a few races in adjoining countries. There were separate points awarded for German and international drivers, but only one winner per championship.

The 1982 joint victors were Delia Stegemann, who went on to race in Formula Three, and Anette Meuvissen, who went on to race in the DTM. Entry lists, have proved hard to find, but Beate Nodes was the 1984 champion, succeeded by Traudl Klink. Beate went on to become the first woman to finish in the top three of a DTM race, and Traudl later managed her own racing team.

Champions

1982 Anette Meuvissen/Delia Stegemann
1983 Claudia Ostlender
1984 Beate Nodes
1985 Traudl Klink
1986 Marion Beule

Towards the end of its lifespan, the Ladies’ Cup became less popular and grid sizes declined. It was retired after the 1986 championship.  In 1990, the Ford Fiesta Mixed Cup, a two-driver mini-endurance series for male/female driver partnerships, replaced the Ladies' Cup. Both Sabine Schmitz and Claudia Hürtgen tasted their first motorsport success in this championship, alongside Thomas Marschall and Michael Funke respectively. A large number of female VLN and German saloon racing regulars got their start in either the Ladies’ or the Mixed Cup.

The Mixed Cup was cancelled after the 1992 season.

Champions

1990 Beate Nodes/Thomas Meyer
1991 Claudia Hürtgen/Michael Funke
1992 Sabine Schmitz/Thomas Marschall

(Image source unknown)

The Fabergé Fiesta Challenge



Mary Fullerton and Ellen Morgan

The Fabergé Fiesta Challenge was a PR-led exercise, which also had the aim of encouraging female participation in motorsport. It was originally promoted via the Radio Times as a “Find a Lady Racing Driver” competition. In the competition phase, which ran in 1979, it was sponsored by Fabergé’s Kiku cosmetics brand.

The series encompassed both circuit racing and rallying. Competitors drove identical yellow Ford Fiestas in six races and six rallies around the UK. There were fifteen competitors, who each had a female navigator for the rally events. Both novice and experienced drivers were eligible, and many of the navigators, who included Dilys Rogers and Dorothy Selby-Bothroyd, had international experience.

The eventual winner was Geunda Eadie, who won four of the races and one of the rallies. Her prize was a fully-funded year in the British Touring Car Championship, driving a Ford Fiesta. She was also entered into the RAC Rally.

The Challenge had one of the best prize-drives ever offered in a women-only series, which may have explained its popularity with applicants and the high calibre of entrants. It launched the career of Louise Aitken-Walker, who had her first motorsport experience there, and Jayne Neate and Mary Fullerton had had, or would have, considerable experience in rallying.

Fabergé only ever intended the Challenge to be a one-off, and no more versions were held.

Entry list:
Louise Aitken/Ann Kidd
Viv Ayres/Alison Green
Fiona Butterfield/Marilyn Tricker
Rose-Anne Clinton/Maggie Greenland
Sarah Cohen/Dorothy Selby-Boothroyd
Lesley Cowcill/Ann Roden
Geunda Eadie/Dilys Rogers
Edna Eagleton/Christine Coward
Mary Fullerton/Ellen Morgan
Lyn Jensen/Lesley Hazell
Felicity Kerr/Liz Jenner
Anne King/Helen Locker
Jayne Neate/Lynda Stangle
Trudy Smith/Julie Berrie
Julie Speechley/Helen Hally

More details of the drivers and events involved in the Challenge can be found here.

(Image from http://fiesta.foxcraft.co.uk/championship_new.html)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

"Les Autres", 1950 - 1980


Patsy Burt in her McLaren-Oldsmobile

During the revival of Speedqueens, I came across a number of drivers who did not fit well into the categories I had chosen for the site. Some of them had competed in several different disciplines, making it hard to place them in one. Others raced in slightly obscure disciplines, or in those I had decided not to cover fully.

In time, some of these entries may be moved to "better homes". Below is a list of jills-of-all-trades, non-US stockcar racers, speed eventers and entrants in events like the Tour de France, where it was unclear what their normal category was.

This page has been split chronologically: to see "Les Autres" after 1980, click here.

Katja Ajak (Stockhausen?) - enigmatic driver active in Germany in the early 1950s. She drove a BMW-engined Condor in the German Formula 3 Championship in 1951, finishing one race at Hockenheim. She is also pictured as a driver in the Baden-Württemburg rally that year, although the model of her car, her navigator’s name and her finishing position are not known. In 1952, her name reappears as an entry into the Glockenspitz hillclimb, driving a Scampolo. After this, she seems to disappear from the scene.

Jennifer Birrell (Nadin) - British sports and saloon racer of the 1960s and 1970s. She started motorsport through rally navigation, for Pat Moss among others. She also drove in some rallies herself, including a run in the RAC Rally in 1966, driving a Hillman Imp, and a trip to the 1967 Monte in a Ford. As a circuit driver, she was second in the 1967 Formula Vee Championship in her first season of racing. Later, she was part of the all-female Ring Free Oil Team for the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours, with Rosemary Smith and Janet Guthrie. They did not finish. She still entered rallies, using a Simca for British events between 1973 and 1974. In 1975, she finished the Spa 24 Hours in a Triumph Dolomite, with Christine Beckers and Marianne Hoepfner, as well as racing a Hillman Avenger in British Touring Cars.

Christina Boulay - campaigned a Renault-Alpine A108 in France in 1963 and a Glas 1204 TS in 1964, including the Tour de France Auto. She did not finish on either occasion. Her co-driver was Michel Legourd in 1963 and Jean-Francois Piot in 1964.

Monique Bouvier - owner and driver of a Dyna Panhard in the mid-1950s, active in France at the time. Her biggest event was probably the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which she co-drove the Panhard with Annie Soisbault, although they did not finish, due to mechanical problems. That year, she also did some circuit racing with Annie, finishing second to her at a promotional race meet for Esso at Montlhéry. Previously, she is known to have participated in an Economy Run with Louisette Texier, and may have done some other rallies with Louisette, or one of the group of French lady drivers which included Louisette and Annie.

Margot Brådhe - mostly competed as a rally co-driver in the 1960s, in Swedish rallies. Among the drivers she sat beside are Barbara Johansson and Ursula Wirth, who was more usually a navigator herself. She also raced on the circuits occasionally. In 1959, she drove an Auto Union 1000S in the Canonloppet round of the Swedish Touring Car Championship. In 1960, she made another guest appearance, driving a Saab 93 and finishing eleventh at Skarpnäck Airfield. Margot’s daughter Liz was involved in rallying, and her grand-daughter is Jonna Eson Brådhe, another rally driver.

Patsy Burt - took part in some circuit races in the 1950s, as well as acting as a navigator for Anne Hall in rallies on occasion. She drove both Cooper single-seaters and Jaguar and Aston-Martin sportscars, among others. She raced the Cooper up to Formula 2 level, and drove in European sports races. However, she is best known for speed events, her sole focus from 1959 onwards. She was British Sprint Champion in 1970, held the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb course record from 1967 to 1978 and won the Brighton Speed Trial outright in 1968. Her Brighton record stood for seven years. Her most famous car was a McLaren-Oldsmobile single-seater special. During her career, she won 42 events outright, in the UK and Europe. Some of her speed records still stand today. She died in 2001.

Michèle Cancre (d’Orgeix) - active in motorsport in the mid-late 1950s and early 1960s, based in France. She was Annie Soisbault’s co-driver for the Tour de France between 1957 and 1961, with a best finish of twelfth in 1961. Previously, during the 195s and 1954 seasons, she was an early exponent of stock car racing, and travelled to London to participate in races at New Cross. She also raced in France, alongside her husband. As well as motorsport, Michèle competed in showjumping throughout her life, and was a multiple French champion. She is sometimes credited on entry lists as “Madame Cancre”.


Gloria Castresana Waid - Spanish driver active in the 1960s in rallying and circuit racing. She began competing after her marriage, in 1963. By 1965, she was taking part in major rallies. That year, she won her class in the La Palma Rally, and was seventh overall in the Rallye Isla de Tenerife. Her car was a Mini Cooper. Later, in 1967, she acted as a navigator to “Miss Spain” in the Rallye Femenino San Isidro, helping her driver to a win in the Slalom section. The same year, the Jarama circuit in mainland Spain opened. Gloria was a regular there from the beginning. In 1968, she raced in the 3 Hours, a European Touring Car race. Her car was a Hillman Imp usually raced by her husband, and its halfshaft broke. She normally drove her Mini on the circuits. Her career finished in 1970, when she moved to the United States.


Monique Celis - Belgian driver who took part in races and rallies in Europe , in the 1960s. She was 20th in the 12 Hours of Huy in 1964, driving a Volvo. In 1968, she was part of a team for the Rally of Portugal with “Chavan”, in a BMW 1600, but it is unclear whether she drove or navigated. On the circuit racing side, she drove a Volvo 122 in the Belgian Touring Car Championship in 1964, and was fifth in class in the Belgian Cup. It is likely that she entered other events at around the same time.

Judy Charlton - first South African woman to win a circuit racing championship: the 1973 Formula Vee series, after some technical disputes involving other competitors. In 1975, she raced in Formula Ford, and was third in the South African championship. Later, she specialised in saloon racing, and was joint winner of the South African Group One championship in 1977, with Sarel van der Merwe. Later, she drove a Datsun in touring car races, and continued to race, on and off, until 1994. Her achievements were rather overshadowed by those of Desiré Wilson, with whom she shared a Ford Escort in the 1975 Kyalami 1000km race.  


Pat Coundley - raced sports and touring cars in the 1960s, in the UK. She started her career in 1959, in speed events, driving a Jaguar D-Type belonging to her husband, John, a racer. After some years in club races and sprints, using Jaguar sportscars, she made her debut in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1964, driving a Lotus Cortina. She was not overly competitive. The same year, she drove a single-seater Lotus Climax 19 in the Brighton Speed Trials. The year before, she used a D-Type. At the Antwerp Speed Trials in 1964, she drove a Jaguar XKD, and set a European women's speed record of 161.278 mph. At some point in the early 1960s, Pat also raced a Lotus Elite, including a Ladies’ Handicap at Brands Hatch. She sometimes shared the car with her husband. 


Lorraine Dubonnet – French driver who raced, rallied and broke records in the 1950s. She was from the Dubonnet liqueur family, and was the daughter of early racer, André Dubonnet. She often drove an Alfa Romeo, particularly the 1900 model. In 1953, she seems to have been quite active in the Italian women’s racing scene, and was second in the Como-Lieto Colle hillclimb, in the 1900. The same year, she broke an average speed record in the same car, at Montlhéry. Later in the year, she was third in the Tour de France, sharing the car with her son (or nephew?), also called André.  Paola della Chiesa counted her as one of the best female drivers of the time.

Alice Fergusson – one of Canada’s earliest female racing drivers. She drove a Fiat 500 in the British Empire Motor Club’s Spring Trophy in 1950, at Edenvale. She was fourteenth in the race. Later, she raced a Nash Metropolitan, in 1954, a Citroen and an Austin-Healey Sprite. Her best result was probably her third place in the Harewood Acres 4-Hour Relay in 1958. The car was a Citroen ID19. She was married to Jim Fergusson, a racer and promoter, and got into motorsport through him.

Wendy Hamblin – raced saloons, single-seaters and small sportscars in the UK in the 1960s. Her first car was a Cooper Formula Junior, which she mainly used for hillclimbs. Later, she used a Lotus 7 and a series of Minis in club races and speed events. In 1965, she was second in a handicap at Brands Hatch, sharing a Mini Cooper with her husband, Keith. She also competed at Goodwood. During this time, she became one of the early members of the BWRDC. From 1967, she raced a Shelby Cobra, winning her class in the Brighton Speed Trials. In 1971, her last year of competition, she and Keith raced a self-modified Diva sportscar, which they called the “Angood”. Wendy won the BWRDC’s racing championship.

Mercedes Hennerici - active in German motorsport in 1971. She was part of the Hennerici motorsport family, who also owned the Eifelland caravan company that sponsored several drivers, including Hannelore Werner, and a short-lived Formula One team. She was second in the 96-hour Marathon de la Route event at the Nürburgring, driving a BMW 2002 Ti with Heiz Hennerici, her father, and Helmut Kuhl. The same year, she drove in the Eifelland Rally, also held at the Nordschleife, with Wolfgang Schneider. Her car is not recorded, and she was not among the leaders. She does not appear to have competed after 1971.


Joyce Leavens – normally competed in hillclimbs, in cars including a Triumph TR2. She used this car at Brunton in 1954. However, she also did some circuit racing. The biggest race of her career was the 1953 Spa 24 Hours, which she entered with her husband, Barry, in a Jowett Javelin. They did not finish. As well as actively driving, she was a rally navigator, who sat alongside Nancy Mitchell in 1954, as well as other drivers, including a Marie Kelleher.

Anita Lidén – Swedish driver who attempted to build a career in NASCAR in 1970. She entered the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside, but never made the start. She had apparently raced in Formula Ford in Sweden in 1969, although no actual results are forthcoming. After her trip to America, she returned to Sweden and continued to race in Formula Ford, in the Swedish and European championships. Much later, in 1976, she raced in the Mini Lady Cup, a Swedish all-female racing series, and won at least one race.

Shelley Marten - raced mainly in southern England in 1961 and 1962. Her car was a distinctive red Alexander Turner MkI GT model. She was a semi-regular at Goodwood, and also raced at Silverstone and the more central circuits, scoring some class wins. She was noted for her consistency, only ever non-finishing once, during the 1961 Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton, and that was due to a gearbox problem. Her career ended upon her marriage in 1962, when the Turner was sold.  

Beatrice (“Tilly”) Naylor (Shilling) - mostly known for racing motorcycles prior to WWII, and her work during the war as an aircraft engineer. Her motorcycling achievements included lapping Brooklands at over 100mph on a Norton. In the 1950s, she raced a Lagonda Rapier in the UK. Her best results were probably a pair of second places in handicap races at Goodwood and Silverstone in 1957. In 1956, she mostly drove in Ladies’ races, with a best finish of second at Goodwood. Later, she owned an Elva Formula Junior, but it was actually raced by her husband, George. She was an early member of the BWRDC.

Joëlle Pasquier – raced in the Elf Renault Gordini Cup one-make championship in France, in 1975. The following year, she was also involved in the championship, or at least a qualifying event for it, held at the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans. Later, in the 1980s, she raced powerboats, one of the first women to do so, before returning to motorsport for the Dakar in 1987. Her car was a Lada Niva, and she did not finish. She died in 2012, aged 62.

Malou Racle - rather obscure driver active in the 1960s, mostly in rallies. Different sources have her as French or Swiss. She first appears in 1960, driving a DKW Junior in the Monte Carlo Rally, with Marie Cantenot as navigator. In 1962, she raced a DKW Junior, belonging to herself, in the Nürburgring 500km, with Monika Wallraf. They were 30th overall, and sixth in the 850cc class. Later on in 1964, she reappears in the rally entry lists, in the navigator’s seat. She sat alongside Henri Ziegler in a Mini Cooper in 1964, and they entered, at least, the Monte Carlo and Geneva rallies together.  By 1967, she was still co-driving in a Mini Cooper, with Marie Descoust, in the Geneva Rally.

Rita Rampinelli - Swiss driver active in the 1950s. She mostly competed in hillclimbs across Europe, first in a Cisitalia D46, which she used in 1951, and later, a Porsche Spyder. Apparently, she was the first Swiss woman to buy a Porsche. Before the cessation of circuit racing in Switzerland, she came fourth in the Swiss national championship twice, although details of which race series this referred to, are hard to pinpoint. In 1953, she drove in a sportscar race supporting the Swiss Grand Prix, at Bremgarten, and was sixth, in a Cooper Bristol. She appears in the start list for a similar event in 1954, but the result is not forthcoming. As well as circuit racing nad hillclimbs, she also participated in rallies, including the Monte Carlo Rally in 1953, alongside Max Brunner. Rita died in 2011, at the age of 88.

Gilberte Stempert - former ski champion who competed in races and rallies in the mid-1950s, usually driving a Dyna Panhard X. She is most known for her two single-handed attempts at the Mille Miglia, in 1955 and 1956. She was 116th in 1955, but did not finish in 1956. She used the same car for the 1956 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally. Earlier, she had competed in the 1953 Alpine Rally, in a Dyna Panhard X87. As well as rallies, she drove the Panhard in races in France. She continued to appear occasionally in rallies, more often as a navigator, towards the end of the decade, and used a Porsche 356 and a BMW, among other cars. She appeared in the 356 in the 1962 Paris-St. Raphaël Rally.

Louisette Texier - French driver and rally navigator in the 1960s. She entered the Tour de France between 1961 and 1964, as both co-driver to Annie Soisbault and named driver. In 1961, she drove an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and in 1964, a Jaguar MkII. Her co-driver both times was Marie-Louise Mermod. On the other two occasions she navigated for Annie Soisbault. They did many other rallies in France together, including the 1960 Solitude-Charbonnières, in which they were third, in an Alfa Giulietta SS. Louisette was also a regular face in the Paris-St. Raphaël womens' rally, in which she used a Renault Dauphine in 1962.

Jenny Tudor-Owen – raced and rallied, mostly in Europe, during the 1960s. Her first car, lent to her in 1962, was a Mini, but she quickly moved on to an MGB. This particular car is the one most associated with her, and she raced several different versions. In 1964, she was fourth in the Copenhagen Cup at the Roskildering. In between two MGB seasons, she also raced a Lotus Elan in 1965, but this was not her favourite car. She was most successful in it in hillclimbs, in France and Germany. After another spell in the MGB, she acquired a Jaguar E-Type, which she used in 1967 and 1968, winning the 1968 BWRDC Racing championship. On the rallying side, she is best known for her Coupe des Dames in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon, driving a Volvo 145. She was part of a four woman team with Elsie Gadd, Anthea Castell and Sheila Kemp. The car belonged to Elsie Gadd, who had no rallying experience, so she hired Jenny and Sheila as her lead drivers. They were 41st overall, just in front of Jean Denton’s MGB, which had been the favourite for the Ladies’ prize.

Francine Warein - active in French rallying and sportscar racing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968 and 1969, she rallied a Triumph TR5 and TR6, mainly in France, although she also drove in the Rally of Portugal in at least one of those years. In 1969, she was tenth in the Rallye des Routes du Nord, in the TR5. This was probably her best rally result. That year, she also entered the AGACI 300 race at Montlhéry, and was 20th, and finished 27th in the Tour de France, both in the TR6. In 1970, she started racing a Lancia Fulvia, which she used in hillclimbs, and a second Tour de France. She and Paulette Delcros were 38th overall.


Ileana Zigraiova - Czech driver who raced a Renault Gordini R8 at Brno in 1966, sharing the car with Austrian, Karl Mörth. They were tenth overall, and second in class. She may well have done some more circuit racing, but she was probably more of a rally driver. From as early as 1962, she entered rallies in then-Czechoslovakia, usually in a Skoda to begin with. Her best result in a Skoda was probably a 20th place in the Czech Vysočinou Rally in 1962. Her best-ever result was ninth, in the 1967 Rallye Stavba Košice, in the Renault.  

(Image source unknown)

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)