Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Winter Break

Speedqueens is undergoing its yearly update and clean-up, so there won't be any new posts for a while.

See you in the New Year!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Elizabeth Jones

Liz in 1964, in Minsk

Elizabeth Jones, born Rosemary Jones, in Newbridge, Wales, raced a Mini and other cars in international saloon races in the 1960s. She always raced under her own family name, and was often referred to as “Liz” in race reports.
She graduated from the Cooper Racing School in 1960, as one of its six most promising students. She was thirty years old, and was probably one of the oldest in the group. Using a car run by the School, she entered some Formula Junior races that year, and finished eighth in a race at Silverstone.
In 1961, she moved on to GT racing, in her own Austin-Healey 3000. She raced at Snetterton twice that year, and was second and fourth in class. In September, she took part in the Autosport 3 Hours, also held at Snetterton. Her finishing position has been lost, but she was racing against Porsches and Jaguar D-Types. According to Christabel Carlisle, a rival of the time, she took part in at least one Ladies’ Handicap race at Brands Hatch that year.
In 1962, she stuck with BMC-made cars, but exchanged the powerful and brutish Healey for the first of her series of Minis. She entered some rounds of the British Saloon Car Championship, starting at Silverstone. Her Mini was a Cooper model, prepared by the Downton Engineering team, an established tuning company. She was fourth in class at Silverstone, then twelfth overall at Aintree, in the British Grand Prix support race.
She was thirteenth overall, and second in class in the 1962 Brands Hatch 6 Hours in 1962, alongside Alan Mann and Tony Hegbourne in a Ford Anglia.  This was a double drive, as she also recorded a DNF in her own Mini, which she was sharing with rally driver, Pauline Mayman.
1963 started in a similar vein. She was fourth in class in her first BSCC race, also at Silverstone, also in a Mini. Her second appearance was at Crystal Palace, for the Small Car Trophy, and she was seventh overall. Unusually, four female drivers started this race, including Christabel Carlisle, whose career took her in most of the same directions as Liz. At Silverstone, for the Grand Prix support race, she joined up with Alexander Engineering, another preparation and tuning firm, driving one of their Mini Coopers. Unfortunately, the car developed mechanical trouble, and Liz had to retire. Her second outing in the Alexander Mini, at Brands Hatch, ended in a 16th place.
In the middle of the season, she took part in the Brands Hatch Six Hours, driving for Alexander Engineering, in the Mini. Her team-mate was the Finnish rally champion, Timo Mäkinen. They were 18th overall. Early on, Liz led her class, but bad weather and hard-charging other drivers dropped them to second, behind John Aley and Rauno Aaltonen.
Liz also accepted another one-off drive in the Tour de France, in a Mini, but a works BMC Mini this time. She was sharing the car with Pauline Mayman. Christabel Carlisle was slated to be part of the team, but did not compete in the event. The engine of the Mini did not last until the end.
 For 1964, her partnership with the Alexander Engineering team continued. In the BSCC, it was something of an underwhelming year, with some non-finishes. Once again, her best race was the Small Car Trophy at Crystal Palace. Liz was fifth, in a race completely dominated by Mini Coopers, like her own. Otherwise, her strongest finish was at Brands Hatch, in the Guards Trophy meeting. She was fourteenth overall. Throughout the season, a rivalry between her and Anita Taylor, who also drove a Mini, was stirred up a little by the press. It was true that Liz and Anita were sometimes competing directly for places, but other drivers, including Anita’s brother, Trevor Taylor, were often involved.
Alexander Engineering also provided a Mini for Liz for the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, which she shared with the American driver, Denise McCluggage. They retired, due to an accident. This was not a race for the Mini; several of them fell by the wayside, or underachieved, in this wet race.
In July, Liz seems to have accepted a drive with the British Vita team for the Spa 24 Hours. She shared a Mini Cooper with Harry Ratcliffe, but engine failure on lap seven put paid to any chance of success.
She was also a rally co-driver, who sat beside several different drivers in the RAC and Monte Carlo rallies. The cars were BMC models. She began in 1962, in major rallies anyway, sitting alongside Daphne Freeman in the RAC Rally. The car was a Mini. In 1964, in another Mini, she accompanied Shelagh Aldersmith for the Monte Carlo Rally. Shelagh, competing alongside the BMC works drivers in a private car, joined the team in starting from Minsk, in Belarus, which was then behind the Iron Curtain. They did not finish. After her circuit career ended, Liz continued in rallying, and took the wheel herself in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally. Her co-driver in her Mini was Patricia Ozanne.
Her motorsport career seems to end here. Some time later, Liz moved to America, and became a well-known breeder of Mastiffs, under her married name of Degerdon. In 1989, she was charged with animal cruelty by the US authorities, and remains a controversial figure in the Mastiff breeding world.
She returned to the UK, where she continued to live until her death in 2010, at the age of 70.
(This post is heavily indebted to the research of Radnorian.)
(Image from

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Nicole Sol

Nicole Sol, left, with Yvette Fontaine, in 2013

Nicole Sol raced in Europe, mainly in Belgium, in the late 1960s. She was a contemporary and rival of Yvette Fontaine and Christine Beckers, although she is not as well-known as either of them.
Nicole got her start in motorsport in quite an orthodox way. She enrolled in the Volant Shell driving school in 1965, learning the craft of single-seater racing. It was a surprise to some that she was ranked seventh out of the 105 aspiring racers, especially as she was the only woman. Her first race was the Benelux Cup at Zandvoort in 1965. Her car was a Formula Three Merlyn Mk V. She was second overall.
Despite her obvious knack for single-seaters, she ended up racing in saloons in 1966. Her first race in the Belgian Touring Car Championship was the Coupe Terlaemen at Zolder. She was fourth overall, in a Ford Lotus Cortina. This was her only race in the series. In a different car, an Alfa Romeo 1300 TI, supported by Alfa Romeo Benelux, she was 19th in the Spa 24 Hours, with Yvette Fontaine.
In 1967, she made a proper attack on the Belgian Touring Car Championship. Driving an Alfa Romeo 1600 GTV, she won the Group One class of the first round, the Grand National at Zolder. In a GTA, in Group Two, she was second in class in the Belgian Cup. Back in the GTV for the Coupes de Spa, she was 16th overall. For the Chimay 500km, she teamed up with Yvette Fontaine in a GTA, run by Lucien Bianchi’s team, and was second , behind the GTA of Serge Trosch and the ailing GTA of Daniel Dezy, whom they overtook late in the race. The last round was at Zolder, and she switched to a Ford Lotus Cortina, in Group Two. This gave her fifth in the qualifying heat, and ninth in the final. She was fourth in the championship.
Using the Cortina, she also took part in the Spa 24 Hours, with Tom Sol (her then-husband). They did not finish, due to a broken con-rod. In the Alfa, she drove in one round of the European Touring Car Cup, at Zolder, and was ninth.
In 1968, Nicole was absent from the Belgian championship results lists, but she was still racing, as an Alfa Romeo Benelux driver. She and Christine Beckers drove a 1750 Berlina in the Spa 24 Hours, and made the finish, in 23rd place. Nicole also drove in hillclimbs, and won at least one, the Marche climb, in an Alfa Romeo TZ prototype. She was fifth in the Bomerée event.
This year, Nicole took part in the TAP Rally of Portugal, with Brussels as her starting point. It is unclear whether or not she finished, or even which car she drove (it was very likely an Alfa). Her co-driver was Nadine Kerkhove.
In 1969, she returned to the Belgian Touring Car Championship. She was in a Lotus Cortina again, supported by Ford of Belgium. At around this time, Ford were using female racing drivers to promote their cars. In the UK, Anita Taylor was one such driver. In common with Nicole, who had worked as a model, she was attractive, and this increased her publicity value. Of course, Nicole (and Anita) also had a couple of seasons of competitive racing under her belt, and some wins.
In the first Belgian Cup race, she was sixth in Group One, as team-mate to Jacky Ickx, in an Escort. After missing the Zolder Grand Prix, she was 19th overall in the Coupes de Spa, and 17th at Chimay. The Grand National was run as a multi-heat and final event this year; Nicole won her heat, but was only 35th in the overall classification. She then missed the Benelux Cup, and was 21st in the North Sea Trophy. The second Belgian Cup race gave her a fourth in class.
Away from the circuits, she took part in the Rally of Portugal again, starting at Brussels, but this time, as a navigator. The driver was Gilbert Staepelaere, and the car was a Ford Taunus 20M. They did not finish. 
After this, she stepped down from professional motorsport, although she has remained involved to the present day, in club and historic events and promotional drives for various marques. In 1983, she came out of retirement for the Monte Carlo Rally, driving an Alfa Romeo Alfasud TI. This was as part of the last incarnation of Team Aseptogyl, and she and Marie-Francoise Placq were running as Team Belgium. Nicole did not finish.
Most recently, she drove a Bentley Flying Spur in the Star Rally, an all-star, televised Belgian event, in October 2014.
She also appeared as a character in the long-running motorsport comic Michel Vaillant, particularly in one story arc, involving a group of female touring car drivers. She also makes at least one appearance as a rally co-driver, with Gilbert Staepelaere.
(Image from

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ice Racing outside the Andros Trophy

Laia Sanz and Ingrid Rossell in 2014

The Andros Trophy is the best-known ice-racing series, in Europe at least, but it is not the only one. There is a long tradition of ice-racing in Russia, and in recent years, a women’s championship has been held once a year. The G Series, held in Andorra, is another yearly championship, which attracts several female participants, as well as many MotoGP riders.
Here are short profiles of some non-Andros ice racers.

Berta Bigordá – Andorran driver who competed in Andorra’s G-Series in 2013 and 2014. She raced in the G-Series 2, for Volkswagen Golfs. In 2013, she managed to score a few points in each round, and was 28th overall. In 2014, she was 17th, with a best finish of fifth. As well as ice racing, she took part in the Panda Raid in 2014, as co-driver to Carlos Bigordá.

Maria Dolsa - Andorran driver who competed in the 2018 G Series. She entered the GS2 one-make series in a Giand car. Her final championship position was seventh, and her best finish in an “A” final was fourth, which she achieved in the second round. She was the only woman competing in the 2018 championship. Back in 2007, she raced karts in the X30 Parilla Cup.

Anna Hvostova – winner of the Russian women’s ice racing championship at Cherepovetz, in 2011. She was driving a VAZ 2108. In 2012, she did some more ice-racing, at Vologda, finishing fifth in a round of the Russian Cup. Further information about Anna is not forthcoming, due to language barriers and the resulting inconsistent spelling of her name.

Katerina (Ekaterina?) Intke - competes in ice racing in Russia. She won the women’s championship at Cherepovetz Stadium in 2014, driving a VAZ 2108, despite only finishing second in the Superfinal. The same year, she was thirteenth in the main Cherepovetz race, and ninth in the Russian National class. Information about Katerina is hard to find, due to language barriers, but Intke may be a married name, and it is possible that she has been part of the ice-racing scene since 2011.

Mariona Julià Rich - Spanish driver who races in the G Series in Andorra. In 2013, she raced a VW Golf in the G Series 2 category, and was 19th overall, scoring points in each round. She shared the car with Joaquin Rodrigo. In 2014, she returned to G Series 2, and did somewhat better, with a best finish of fourth place. She was eleventh in the championship, still in the Golf. Mariona was part of the Rabbit Team, with Ingrid Rossell and others. Away from ice racing, she may well also compete in motorcycle sport of some kind.

Ingrid Rossell - Andorran driver who mainly competes in ice racing. She began in 2013, at the age of 17, in the G Series, Class Two. Ingrid managed three third places, giving her seventh in the championship. Her car was a Volkswagen Golf. In 2014, she returned to the G Series, in an updated Golf. Although she improved her best finish to second, and scored three more third places, the championship was more competitive this year, and she was ninth. A race she had against Laia Sanz, another female driver, brought her some wider attention. Laia Sanz was the winner. In 2014, she returned to the G Series, in a VW Golf. She was driving for the same team. In 2015, she did another season in the G Series, in the G Series 2. She drove a regulation VW Golf. Despite not scoring any points in the final round, she was fourth in the championship, after two third places. In 2016, she did some more G Series events, although she does not appear to have completed the whole championship. Her car was a Mini, after several years in the Golf, and she was 30th in the championship. In 2017 she was back in G Series 2, and a much stronger driver, finishing fourth overall. She was driving a prototype built by GIAND. She is not registered for the 2018 G Series and seems to be concentrating on hillclimbs in a SEAT Leon. In addition to ice racing, Ingrid has also competed in rally raids. In 2013, she took part in the Panda Raid in Morocco, driving a Fiat Panda with Manuel Saa. 

Polina Samylkina - active in Russian ice racing since at least 2011, when she was joint third in the Cherepovetz women’s championship, in a VAZ 2106. In 2012, she took part in the Vologda round of the Russian Cup of ice racing, but it is not clear whether or not she finished. In 2014, she was third in the women’s championship. In 2015, she was fourth, driving a VAZ 2108. In the same car, she raced at Vologda and Cherepovetz in 2016, with a best finish of fourth, at Vologda. As well as competing, she is one of the organisers of the ice racing meeting at Cherepovetz.

(Image from

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Zoe Wenham

Zoe and team-mate, Declan Jones, in 2013

Zoe Wenham is one of Britain’s most promising sportscar racers, and has the awards and results to prove it.
She raced karts from the age of nine, then took advantage of the 2000s boom in under-17 touring car series by entering the SaxMax championship, in a regulation Citroen Saxo. At the time, she was still only fourteen. Her first season was 2008, and she was 16th overall, as one of the youngest drivers on the grid. Her most promising result was a fifth place at Snetterton.
In 2009, she moved over from her family team, to Ferguson Motorsport. This resulted in a more successful year in SaxMax, with a ninth place overall at the end of it.
In 2010, she only competed in the first two rounds of SaxMax, as she decided to graduate to senior competition, still aged only sixteen. She took part in the 2010 VW Racing Cup, driving a Polo GTi. As she was not yet 17, she was the youngest person ever to race in the series. At the end of the season, she was 21st, with a best finish of eleventh.
In 2011, she continued in the VW Cup, in a Golf this time. More power, and experience, again helped her up the championship table, and she finished eighth overall, after her first podium place.
The following year, she made the switch to sportscar racing, and it proved to be a good call. She raced a Ginetta G50 in the British GT Championship in 2012, for Century Motorsport. In contrast to previous debut seasons in a new car, she was on the pace almost immediately, with a fourth and a third at Oulton Park. Further podium positions, at Snetterton, Rockingham, the Nürburgring and Donington, three of these being second places, were enough to give her second in the championship. She did not finish out of the top five all season. Her team-mates were Mike Simpson and Dominic Evans. In recognition of her excellent debut season, she was awarded the BWRDC’s Gold Star.
She returned to the championship in 2013, in the Century Ginetta, with expectations of her high. She did not disappoint, and this year, she had her first wins, two of them, at Oulton Park, and another two podiums, at Snetterton and Rockingham. Despite a somewhat less consistent season, partly due to reliability and technical problems, she was still in the running for the GT4 title, until she had to miss the Zandvoort round, for undisclosed reasons. Although she returned for the finale at Donington in a different Ginetta, in which she finished seventh, it was not enough to rescue her title campaign, and she was fifth. Her team-mate, Declan Jones, was second. This was the end of her time with the Century team.
Later on, she was selected as the British entrant into the FIA Women's Scirocco-R cup shootout, with a view to racing in Europe in 2014. She was not chosen; the award went to the French driver, Lucile Cypriano.
After being left without a GT drive for 2014, Zoe was determined to race something. She ended up in the Volkswagen Fun Cup, an endurance series for VW Beetles, driving alongside her younger brother, Guy. They were part of Team O’Br, driving as the “Young Guns”, with other young drivers. Zoe’s endurance experience paid off, and they were second in their first race, at Oulton Park. It was an up-and-down season, with some setbacks, like their fourteenth place in the third race, but they were strong enough to be in a secure runner-up position after the final race of the season.
Mid-season, she was even invited back to Century Motorsports for the Britcar race at Snetterton, in the Ginetta once more. She was seventh and eighth, driving with Stephen Fresle. They teamed up again at Silverstone, and managed two class wins. They were second overall in Class 3.
In 2015, she raced in the Fun Cup again, with Guy and Stephen Johansen. The trio were fourth in the championship, with a best finish of second, in the first round at Silverstone. They were also third in the last round, at Oulton Park. She did at least one Fun Cup race in 2016, but also worked for a tour company during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Zoe continued to be active in promoting female involvement in motorsports, through the BWRDC and Susie Wolff's Dare To Be Different.

(Image from

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Michele Bumgarner

Michele Bumgarner is a Filipino driver, although her father is American. She started racing at ten, in karts, having learnt to drive at seven. Her father owned a kart track at Subic, so she had plenty of opportunity. To begin with, she combined karting with competitive junior tennis, but karting, and senior motorsport, interested her more. Soon, she was competing all over southeast Asia, and also in Europe. Almost unbelievably, when she was fourteen, she did her first car races, in Formula Toyota in the Philippines. Even more unbelievably, she was third in the championship.
A return to karting beckoned in 2005, but she was still looking for her big chance in full-size motorsport. She travelled to the Bahrain for the Formula BMW Scholarship, which she won, although it did not translate into an actual drive.
In 2006, she moved more fully into circuit racing, at the age of 17. Instead of taking her first steps in Formula Toyota or Formula Renault, she jumped straight into Formula Three. She drove for Team Goddard in Formula 3 Asia, in the Promotion class. The series was run from the Philippines. Her first three rounds were somewhat of an ordeal, with stalling, spins and a crash, but she learnt quickly, and by the end of the season, had climbed to third in the Promotion class, for older cars. She was 12th overall.
Her next big step was a move to America in 2007, in order to further her single-seater ambitions. She enrolled at the Jim Russell Racing School, and even competed in two of its Formula Russell races, scoring a podium finish in one.
She put together a deal for Formula Mazda for 2008. Her season consisted of the first five rounds, and she had a best finish of 15th, at Portland. She was one of four women racing in the series that year, and was the third fastest of them. At the same time, her younger brother, Mark Bumgarner, was also competed in the States, in the Skip Barber Series. He has since left motorsport. In September, she tested an Indy Lights car at Putnam Raceway.
Later in  the 2008 season, her Indy Lights testing appeared to have paid off; she was selected for the NexGen team’s driver development scheme and was set to compete in Indy Lights in 2009, with Walker Racing, as part of a five-year development deal. However, the deal fell through, and she returned to karting.
During this time, she was also in talks with the Newman Watts team about a Formula Atlantic drive, but this too came to nothing, as the team’s backer, actor Paul Newman, died.
In 2008 and 2009, she won the Rock Island Grand Prix, a major street kart race. Although she had to take a lengthy hiatus from circuit racing, not competing at all between 2010 and 2012, she used it as constructively as she could, and was very competitive in a kart.
She made a small return to Formula Mazda in 2013, entering two races and finishing one, in ninth. This performance, at Houston, earned her an award for the most places made up during a race. This was a more positive end to the year than its start, which had involved Michele travelling to Charlotte Raceway for a “NASCAR RaceEX World Circuit” event for Filipino drivers, which turned out to be a scam.
2014 saw her full-time return to motorsport, in Formula Mazda, after a long series of false starts. She was racing for World Speed Motorsports. Her main sponsor was Mazda Philippines, and she was now part of the Mazda Road to Indy development programme. Her schedule took in eleven of the fifteen races, and her best result was eleventh, at Houston. Usually, she finished just outside the top ten. Her finishing record was good, with only one retirement all year, and she was fifteenth in the championship.
Michele planned to progress up the Indycar ladder, with the aim of competing in the Indy Racing League in 2016, but she does not seem to have raced in 2015.
(Image from

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Yvette Fontaine

Yvette in a Ford promotional shot, 1969

Yvette was the winner of the 1969 Belgian Saloon Car Championship. She was the first woman to win a Belgian national championship.
She actually began her motorsport career as a rally driver, in 1964. Her first car was an Austin Mini, like many other drivers of her era, both male and female. She did not get a particularly auspicious start to her career, as she went over the time limit for both of the events she entered that year, which were the Tour of Belgium and the 12 Heures d’Ixelles. The Tour of Belgium was her first-ever rally. The 18-year-old Yvette had only a vague idea of how a rally ran, and was not even used to driving at the 60 kph average speed expected.
In 1965, she exchanged the Mini for a Saab 93 Sport. Although her first rally in it, the Routes Blanches, ended in another OTL, she soon worked out what was what, and began posting some decent results. She won three Ladies’ Trophies, in the Circuit des Ardennes, Ostend 12 Hours and 12 Heures d’Ixelles, and was class runner-up in the Picardie Rally, in France. For at least part of the season, she was navigated by Anita Elford, who was Belgian, but married to Porsche driver, Vic.
1966 was the year her career really took off. She drove an Alfa Romeo Super 1600, and not just in rallies. As a teenager, she had often visited the Zolder circuit whilst on holiday with her parents, and now, she was racing there for real. In March, she entered the Grand National race at the circuit, and was 34th in the final race, tenth in class. She was then eleventh in her race at the Belgian Cup meeting, also at Zolder, and seventh in class at the Coupes de Spa. Later in the season, she travelled to Germany for the Marathon de la Route, at the Nürburgring, where she shared her Alfa with Hannelore Werner. They did not finish. In a different Alfa, a 1300, she won her class in the Spa 24 Hours. She and Nicole Sol were 19th overall, supported by Alfa Romeo Benelux.
On the rally side, she had a mixed season, with her fair share of retirements. She crashed out of the Tulip Rally, and missed out in the Circuit des Ardennes, by missing a time control. However, she almost made up for it with her first top-ten finish, a ninth on the Routes du Nord event. She did it again with a tenth place on the Rallye des Nivelles, near Brussels. She was co-driven, at different times, by “Gaby Poison” and “Puce” (“Flea”), who were both occasional racers on the Belgian scene.
Another new thing for Yvette this year was hillclimbs. Still in her works 1600, she tackled several Belgian and French speed events, and was Group One winner in four of them.
She continued as a multi-purpose Alfa driver in 1967. Her rally record continued to be a little hit-and-miss, with more than one incidence of missing time controls, or making mistakes with the route. This was tempered by some very creditable performances, including a seventh place in the Le Touquet rally, in France. Her car was a GTV 1600.
In the Belgian Touring Car Championship, she was picking up speed. In the Grand National races at Zolder, she was eighth in Group 2, driving a 1600 GTA, despite its rear axle being broken. At the Belgian Cup meeting, she scored her first win, in the Class D+E race, as well as finishing third in the C+D race. She was fourth in the Coupes de Spa, just ahead of Lucien Bianchi, and then second in the Chimay 500km (Grand Prix des Frontières), driving for Bianchi’s team with her rival and “fellow” Alfa racer, Nicole Sol. The second Belgian Cup meeting gave her a fourth place, after finishing third in her heat. She was second in the championship.
Across the border, in Germany, she was part of an Alfa Romeo team for the 84-hour Marathon de la Route, driving a 1600 GTA with rally driver, Jean-Marie Jacquemin, and J-M Heilman. They did not finish, due to an accident. Back at Zolder, she was third in the Division 2 race of the Limbourg Grand Prix, driving a 1600 GTA again. Her second ETCC outing came at Spa, for the 24 hour race, where she drove for Lucien Bianchi’s team again, with Jean-Marie Lagae. They did not finish, due to a con-rod failure.
Again, the Alfa team entered her into lots of hillclimbs, in which she was increasingly successful, normally driving a GTA. It was in this car that she was second in the Maquisard climb and third in the D’Houyet event. This was enough for third in the Belgian championship. As well as hillclimbs, she took part in a speed record attempt over a kilometre, in both a GTA and 1600 GTV. She broke a class record in the former, and was the best in class in the latter.
In 1968, her co-operation with Alfa Romeo ended, and she was promptly signed up by Ford of Belgium, who recognised her speed and versatility. They were interested in the promotional value of a female driver, but as previous winners of both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ titles, and only supported the most competitive. In the first race of the championship, the Belgian Cup meeting at Zolder, Yvette was second in the 1300cc race, in a Ford Escort GT 1300, run by the British Broadspeed team.
Her next race was at Chimay, over 300km, but she did not finish, due to an engine problem. Her car this time was a Twin Cam Escort, run by the works Ford team, which was still in development, and somewhat unreliable. She was third in the North Sea Trophy, and fifth in her Zolder heat, although she did not finish the main race.
She also raced in the European Touring Car Championship, driving the Broadspeed Escort at the Limbourg Grand Prix and in the Nürburgring round, sharing the car with Brian Robinson. Both ended in non-finishes, due to a water leak and a broken accelerator respectively.
As well as Belgian events, she travelled to Denmark and the UK for Ford-sponsored races, taking the works Escort to seventh at the Jyllandsring, and the Broadspeed car to sixth, at Mallory Park. She was also eighth in the Coupe du Salon, at Montlhéry.
Hillclimbing was still very much on the agenda, and she won her first climb this season, the La Roche event. She was driving a Twin Cam, although she also drove a Lotus Cortina and a Mustang during the season. Remarkably, she was also twelfth overall, with a class win, in the same climb, driving a Formula Ford. Ford Belgium experimented with putting Yvette in a single-seater in speed events and circuit races, and she even managed an eighth place in the Limbourg Formula Ford race.
Ford retained her services in 1969, and decided to allow her to concentrate mostly on saloon racing. Rallying, never her strongest discipline, was restricted to a single co-driver outing with Gilbert Stapelaere, on the Routes du Nord. She did a few hillclimbs, but achieved no more wins.
This year, she made a bigger assault on the ETCC, in the revitalised Escort Twin Cam. It began haltingly, with DNFs at Monza and Vienna, but picked up when she returned later in the season, with a sixth in the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, with Freddy Semoulin (Alain Dex). She was then eleventh in the Spa 24 Hours, with John Fitzpatrick, and won the Division 2 race at Zandvoort.
The Belgian championship also began slowly. During the Belgian Cup meeting, Yvette was moved into a Welcker Cortina, to make way for Jacky Ickx, and could only finish twelfth. Back in her usual car, she won the 1300cc race at the Zolder Grand Prix, and was fourth at Spa and third at Chimay. The Zolder Grand National and the North Sea Trophy gave her fourth, and the Coupes Benelux at Zandvoort, another win. She was second in the second Belgian Cup meeting. This, combined with her results in the ETCC, was enough to give her the Belgian Saloon Car Championship, her first championship and a first for a female driver. She had defeated Jean-Pierre Gaban, in his Porsche 911, in the last race.
Still with Ford, she returned to the Belgian series to defend her championship in 1970. She started where she left off, with a win in the Zolder Grand National race. After a DNF at the Belgian Cup races, she won again at the Zolder Grand Prix. A broken accelerator put her out at Spa, but she was sixth at Chimay, and third in the Coupes Benelux. A practice accident stopped her from competing in the final round, at Zolder. She retained her class championship, quite narrowly.
The ETCC was more problematic. Ford of Belgium, despite Chevron sponsorship, did not have the resources to run her in the full series. They entered her into the Silverstone and Zandvoort rounds, in a Twin Cam, but she did not finish the main race in either. Ford of Germany picked her up for some races, usually partnering Hannelore Werner, but she did not always make the start, due to car problems and insufficient preparation. Driving the fierce, 2300cc Capri, she did not finish at Monza, Salzburg or the Nürburgring, and was pulled out of the Spa 24 Hours line-up.
She also did one Formula Three race, at Chimay, but went out early on following a crash. Among her opponents were James Hunt and David Purley. This was her last single-seater outing. 
Ford continued to employ Yvette in 1971. Her schedule was exclusively saloon races, driving an Escort BDA. Her Belgian season began well, with a win in the Group 2 Final of the North Sea Trophy. She was then second in the Zolder Grand Prix, but only 29th in the Coupes de Spa, after not finishing a heat. Her car’s engine failed at Chimay, but she was second in the Belgian Cup. The Benelux Cup gave her a third place. She was fifth at Nivelles, and could not retain her championship, although she was awarded the ladies’ championship as a consolation.
In the European championship, she got some support again from Ford of Germany, although in an Escort, rather than one of the now-dominant Capris. She was fourth at the Nürburgring, with Gerry Birrell. Driving for the BP-sponsored British Vita team, she did not finish the Spa 24 Hours. A works drive in the Zandvoort Trophy did not help either, as she lost fuel pressure. The Paul Ricard double six-hour race also ended in retirement.
A late high point of 1971 was Yvette’s part in some Ford speed records, set over a kilometre on a Belgian motorway. As part of a team including Jackie Stewart, she set new records in an Escort, Capri, and, most famously, a Transit Van with a Formula One engine.
Her 1972 season was mostly based around the Belgian championship. She drove for the Ford BP team once more, and started the season in a 3-litre Capri, in which she was fourth and second at Zolder, but did not finish at Nivelles, after the throttle linkage failed. For the Coupes de Spa, she drove an Escort, but was only seventh. She was fourth at Chimay and Nivelles. A win in the last round, at Zolder, pushed her up to fourth in the championship.
The Spa 24 Hours was disappointing again: Yvette shared an Escort RS 1600 with Gillian Fortescue-Thomas, but the head gasket blew. Her only other outing was a trip to England, where she was fifth in a Ford Consul race at Brands Hatch.
The Ford team was struggling a little by 1973, and Yvette drove a private car this year in some rounds of the Belgian championship. She was fifth in the EEG Trophy, at Zolder, and a battling third at the Nivelles 24 Hours meeting. She was also eighth in the Zolder Grand Prix race. Her Spa 24 Hours ended in another blown engine.
For the first part of 1974, Yvette continued in the Belgian championship, with a 1300cc Escort. She did two races at Zolder, finishing the second in third place. Later, after missing one round, she got a last Ford works drive, in a Capri. She was seventh in one Zolder race, and fourth in the EEG Trophy. They also backed her for the Spa 24 Hours, driving a Capri with Claude Borgoignie, but the car’s head gasket went.

Yvette's Capri at Zolder, 1974

Through Ford’s links with Chevron, Yvette’s career received a welcome new challenge, in the shape of sportscar racing. She raced a Ford-engine Chevron B21 in the Spa 1000km, with her erstwhile rival, and replacement at Alfa Romeo, Christine Beckers. They did not finish, but this proved valuable practice for Le Mans, the following month. Driving as the “Ecurie Seiko Sato”, Yvette and Christine, with Marie Laurent, were 17th overall, and won the 2000cc class.
Despite her continuing good performances in the face of decreasing support, Ford dispensed with Yvette’s services at the end of the 1974 season. The fuel crisis had hit them hard, and sponsorship was getting harder to come by. Her modest Le Mans success was recognised, and she was invited to be part of Anny-Charlotte Verney’s Porsche 911 Carrera RS team. They were eleventh overall and second in class. The third driver was Corinne Tarnaud.
The Belgian touring car championship itself had gone into decline, and now only had three rounds. The European series was plagued by problems. Yvette had been in talks with BMW about a drive, but it did not materialise. She was picked up by Atlas Racing for a couple of rounds of the Trophée l’Avenir, driving a BMW 3.0 CSi. Her team-mate was Noel van Assche, known as “Pedro”. They were eleventh in the EEG Trophy, but second in the Spa 24 Hours. This was Yvette’s best-ever finish in that race.
After this, Yvette called time on her professional racing career, at the age of 29. Although she had won many races and achieved considerable success, there was now less money in motorsport than ever, and she had never been paid anything near the amounts her male team-mates had. In 1976, she accepted a couple of drives in a Chevrolet Camaro in the ETCC, but these were her last big races. She shared Reine Wisell’s car with him and Stuart Graham for the Spa 24 Hours, but did not finish. In a different Camaro, for “Team Zip-Up”, she was 20th, but not classified, in the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone. Her team-mates were Rune Tobiasson and Rudy Host.
The end of her professional career was not the end of her involvement with motorsport. Yvette continued, and continues, to compete, on and off, in club rallies, hillclimbs and races, and historic events. She has also organised track days for female drivers. In 2018, she did some parade laps at Brands Hatch in a celebration of 50 years of the Ford Escort.
(Images from and (Paul Kooyman).

Friday, 3 October 2014

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Southeast Asia

Alexandra Asmasoebrata

Most of the entries in this post have been split off from Circuit Racers in Southeast Asia. Michele Bumgarner, Miki Koyama and Natasha Seatter now have their own posts.

Alexandra Asmasoebrata (Allida Alexandra) - Indonesian driver who has competed up to international Formula Renault level. After several years of karting, she first drove in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge in 2006, aged eighteen. She was 24th overall after participating in seven races. In 2008, she reappeared in AFR, after a year spent karting. She was twelfth this time, with a best finish of fifth, at Zhuhai. A shorter season in 2009 meant that eighth was her best finish, also at Zhuhai, a feat she repeated in 2010. In 2011, she drove in both the Asian Formula Renault Challenge and Formula Pilota in China. She was third in Formula Renault. Unfortunately, she only entered four races in 2012: three rounds of Asian Formula Renault. Her finishes were two sevenths, and two DNFs. In 2013, she took part in Asian Formula Renault, entering six races and earning two thirds and four fourths. She was fourth overall. In 2014, she was set to race in Asia Formula Renault again, but does not appear to have competed. 

Kotoka Goibuchi - raced in Japanese Formula 4 in 2017. She did most of the season with CSI - Reon Kids Racing and had a best finish of fourteenth, at Sugo. This was her third season of F3, following two shorter part-seasons in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, she raced for the Silver Star team and scored a surprise podium at Motegi, finishing third. She does not appear to have raced in 2018.

Grace Gui (Gui Meng) - Chinese racer who was second in the “B” class of the Asian Formula Renault championship in 2017. Her car was an older-spec Formula Renault 2.0. She scored her best outright finish at Sepang in Malaysia, a tenth place with a class win. She does not appear to have raced in 2018 but was involved with the all-female W Series in 2019. She made it through two rounds of selections but was let go. According to some, this was due to crashing a car during testing.

Ayaka Imahashi – races for the miNami aoYama Project team in Japanese Formula 4. She was born in 1995. In 2015, she did two rounds of the series, driving for the same team, and managed 25th and 28th at Fuji. She sometimes competed alongside Miki Koyama. In 2016, she did another part-season in Japanese F4, but only finished one of her races. This was at Okayama, where she was 22nd. She also tried rallying in a Toyota GT86, entering the Montre in Tsumagoi Rally. 

Akiko Kobayashi - raced in Asian Formula BMW in 2003. She was not one of the front-runners, but finished most rounds, and managed to score a few top-ten positions. Her best finish seems to have been eighth, at Goldenport.

Gaby dela Merced - Filipino driver who came second in Philippine National Formula 3 in 2006, as well as thirteenth in Asian Formula 3. Her best finish in the Asian series was seventh. Prior to 2006, she raced in Formula Toyota and Production touring cars in the Philippines. She was runner-up in Formula Toyota in 2004 and Production class runner-up in the three saloon championships she entered in 2003. She first raced saloons in 2002 after two seasons in slalom and autocross. Between 2006 and 2009, she does not appear to have raced, and concentrated on her TV career. She made her comeback, racing a Honda in SSCA endurance races in the USA, in 2009. Since then, she has done some drifting, and more media work. 

Ai Miura – Japanese driver who has been racing since 2011. She began in club Formula FJ, and scored an eighth place at Suzuka in her second-ever race. She spent the next two seasons competing around Japan in Formula Challenge, a Formula Renault series. In her debut season, she did not crack the top ten, managing one eleventh place at Fuji, but in 2013, she achieved three  ninths and two tenths, all at Fuji, as her best scores. In 2014, she progressed into the National class of the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, and performed well, with one class win at Suzuka, and several more podium places. She was fourth in class. As well as conventional, petrol-engined cars, Ai also races solar-powered vehicles, and won the Suzuka Solar Car Race three times, between 2012 and 2014. She was part of the Sangyo Osaka University team. In 2015, she raced in Japanese F3 again, in the National class, and won it comfortably, with three wins and thirteen second places. She moved up to the main class in 2016, and was a consistent top ten finisher. Her best finish was eighth, at Fuji, and she almost got into the points. In 2017, she was eighth in the championship, with a best finish of fourth, at Okayama. She moved up to Formula 3 in 2018 and was a regular top-ten finisher, albeit in the lower reaches of the top ten. Her final championship position was eleventh, just behind her team-mate. 2019 panned out in much the same manner, with seven top-ten finishes.

Juju Noda - Japanese driver who earned huge media attention as the youngest person to drive a Formula 3 car, aged 11 in 2017. She had already beat a lap record for Formula 4 at the Okiyama circuit in 2016, although it did not stand as it was set during an unofficial track appearance at a Super GT meeting. Due to her age, she has been unable to compete in her home country, which requires racing drivers to be at least 16, although she has raced a little in the USA. She took part in the Lucas Oil Winter Race Series meeting at Laguna Seca in early 2019, in a Ray single-seater. Her best result was a fourth place, alongside two eighth places. Her father is former Formula 1, Indycar and Super GT racer, Hideki Noda.

Diana Poon - Hong Kong driver who entered several of the big southeast Asian races in the 1970s. In 1976, she became the first female driver to race in the Macau Guia, in a single-seater. She was also part of the only couple to race against each other there, with her husband, Albert Poon. Her car was a Formula 3 machine, but its make and model are unclear, as is her finishing position. Later, in 1979, she drove a Brabham BT40, with some small successes. She was apparently based in Malaysia that year. Her best finish was fifth, in the Penang Grand Prix, and she was also ninth in the Malaysian Grand Prix. She did not finish the Selangor Grand Prix. After that, she seems to vanish from the starting lists.

Diana Rosario - racer from Macau who has competed sporadically in Asian Formula Renault since 2008, with a best finish of ninth in 2010. Away from Formula Renault, Diana raced in Ford Formula Campus, and she won the Chinese Formula Campus championship in 2009. She has been driving since at least 2002, when she did some Asian Formula 2000 races, and she had several successful years of karting before that. During 2011, she drove in Asian Formula Renault, and was fifth overall. She had a quieter year in 2012, racing a Ferrari F430 in the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup. In 2013, she was linked with a drive in the Asian Le Mans series, but does not appear to have competed. Later, in 2018, she made a comeback in the Asian Blancpain GT Series, driving a Mercedes GT4 for Craft Bamboo Racing. Her best finish was fourth at Ningbo.

Cherie Schloemer – ex-pat racer in Southeast Asia in the late 1970s. She and her husband, Del, both raced a Chevron B20 during the 1977 and 1978 seasons, in their adopted home country of Thailand and Malaysia. In 1979, Cherie, driving solo, entered the biggest race of her career, the Selangor Grand Prix in Malaysia. Her car was a Chevron B34, but the engine blew and she did not finish. She does not appear to have raced after that.

(Image from

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Female Drivers in One-Make Series: Switzerland

Jasmin Preisig (third left) with her Scirocco-R Cup rivals, Doreen Seidel, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Lucile Cypriano

Sabine (Yerly) Amweg - drove in the Swiss Renault Clio Cup in 2008, and the European Clio Cup in 2009 and 2010. She was tenth in 2008 and eighth in 2009, with a best finish of fifth. Her 2010 results are not forthcoming. Prior to the Clio Cup, Sabine has been active in motorsport since at least 2001, when she used a Mazda MX-5 Cup car in hillclimbs. The same car was used in 2002. She still competes occasionally in hillclimbs, in the Clio. In 2011, she drove a Clio in the Renault Sport Speed Trophy of the VLN in Germany, with Christof Stadler and Fred Yerly. In 2014, she drove the Clio in the Rundstrecken Challenge, at the Nürburgring. Along with Fabian Danz, she won her class, and was 29th overall in the three-hour race. 

Petra Beyrer (Gasser) - Swiss driver and former bodybuilder, who took part in long-distance touring car races in Germany in 2006. Her team-mate was Nicole Müllenmeister, and they drove a Honda Civic. They were 80th in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, seventh in class. She was due to be part of a team in the VLN championship at the Nürburgring in 2007, but had to pull out. Previously, she raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup for three years, after several seasons of karting. Her best Yaris Cup finish was 20th, in 2005, and she was fourth in the Coupe des Dames. She planned a comeback in 2008, but it did not happen. She aims to return to motorsport at some point. 

Luana Krattiger - half-Brazilian, former karter who had her first senior motorsport experience in 2013. She raced in the Renault Clio Cup in Italy, and won the Junior and Ladies categories. She was quite competitive from the beginning, and usually in sixth or seventh place. Her best result was third, in the last race of the season, at Imola. She was sixth overall. Away from the circuits, she was the navigator in the course car for the Rally Ronde del Ticino, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The driver was Andreas Krattiger. Although she was linked with a drive in the 2014 Clio championship, it did not happen, and she does not appear to have raced in 2014.

Jasmin Preisig - began her senior career in 2013, in the Opel Astra OPC Cup in Germany. Her most noteworthy result was a sixth place in the 6-Hour race that was part of that series. She also competed in hillclimbs, in a KTM X-Bow. At the beginning of 2014, she was one of a small number of drivers selected for a scholarship drive in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. It was a difficult learning year for her, but her results did improve, and her best was an eleventh place, at the Nürburgring. Towards the end of the season, she was getting closer to the top ten, and was 18th overall. In 2015, she took part in the OPC Astra Cup, a one-make championship within the VLN. She was fifth overall. She continued to race the Astra in 2016, in some rounds of the ADAC TCR touring car series. Her best finish was a twelfth place, at Hockenheim, from four races. She did a full TCR season in 2017, in the Astra, and earned her first TCR top-ten, a tenth place at the Nürburgring. She was 31st in the championship. She drove a similar car for Steibel Motorsport in 2018 and the Nürburgring was her best track once again, the scene of her best finish, an eleventh place. She bounced back from a bad accident in 2017 to finish 22nd in the championship. In 2019, she was part of Carrie Schreiner's all-female "Girls Only" team for the VLN, driving a VW Golf. She did two rounds of the championship, finishing second and fifth in the SP3T class with Carrie Schreiner and Ronja Assmann. The same team entered the Nurburgring 24 Hours but did not finish.

(Image from

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Women Drivers in the DTM: the "Masters" years

Susie Wolff (then Stoddart) and Vanina Ickx

The DTM was revived in 2000, after its earlier incarnation folded, as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. It was now a silhouette series, with cars based on production models. 
The new DTM attracted strong driving talent, and in recent years, it has become a favoured championship for teamless Formula One drivers and World Endurance Championship regulars, with some younger specialists. Female drivers have not done as well as before, and have been less present. This may change in the future.

No championship held

No female entrants

Vanina Ickx - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Mücke Motorsport) - unplaced

Vanina Ickx - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes) - umplaced

Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Abt Sportsline) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - 13th
Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Team Rosberg) - unplaced

Rahel Frey - Audi A4 DTM (Team Phoenix) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

Rahel Frey - Audi A5 DTM (Audi Sport Team Abt) - 19th
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Coupe  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

No female entrants

(Image from

Women Drivers in the DTM: the "Meisterschaft" years

Race winner, Ellen Lohr, in 1992

The DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) was (and remains) Germany's top-ranked touring car championship. It began in 1986, evolving from the Group A-based German Production Car Championship. Women drivers featured in it right from the start, with Beate Nodes, and especially Ellen Lohr, achieving success.
As time went on, budgets for the series became very high, as DTM cars only had to be based on production models. In 1996, it was run as an FIA touring car championship, but after that, it was retired in its current form. The new DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) debuted in 2000. 

Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Grab Motorsport) - 11th

Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Ford/Grab Motorsport) - 21st

Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (Zakspeed/Linder BMW M-Team) - 31st
Mercedes Stermitz - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Linder) - 37th
Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Grab Motorsport) - 42nd
Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Linder) - unplaced

Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Zakspeed) - unplaced
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - unplaced

Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (Linder M-Team) - unplaced
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 26th 

Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 11th (1 win)

Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 10th

Ellen Lohr - Mercedes C-Class (AMG) - 11th

Ellen Lohr - AMG Mercedes C-Class (Zakspeed) - 17th

No championship held - FIA International Touring Car Championship held in its place
Ellen Lohr - AMG Mercedes C-Class (AMG Mercedes Team Persson) - 25th

(Image from

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hannelore Werner

Hannelore Werner in 1969

Hannelore raced in single-seaters, touring and sportscars in Germany in the 1960s and early 1970s, although her most notable results were achieved in a single-seater. She was born in 1942, and initially trained as a dental technician.
Despite having her own career outside motorsport, she had the advantage of starting her racing whilst still very young. Her first race was in 1960, a saloon race, driving a DKW. During the early part of her career, she often drove DKW models. This seems to have included a one-make trophy for DKW and Auto Union cars, the “Silberschildrennen” at the Nürburgring. Despite crashing during the race, she was fifth overall, in an Auto Union 1000.
Her first big touring car race was the Nürburgring 500km in 1963. Her car was a little DKW Junior, shared with Manfred Roesner. They did not finish. 
The same pairing drove an Auto Union Junior in the 1964 Nürburgring 500km, but again, could not finish. Hannelore, driving a 796cc DKW F11 with a driver called Fischer, was 24th in the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
With Roesner, she tackled both of the big Nürburgring saloon races again in 1965, in DKW cars, They were 23rd in the 500km, in the Junior, and did not finish the 6 Hours, in an F11. That year, Hannelore made her first big overseas racing trip, to the UK, for another round of the European Touring Car Challenge, at Snetterton. Driving the F11 with Wolf-Dieter Mantzel, she was 16th in the 500km race, second in the T850 class for small cars.
Away from the bigger races, and driving solo, she was a regular presence in the German touring car championship of the time, the DTRM. Her usual finishing spot, in 1965, was second in the class for 700-850cc cars, in the F11.
In 1966, she switched over to single-seater racing, in Formula Vee 1300. She made an impression immediately, in Germany at least. In 1967, she was part of Caltex’s “Coupe de Charme” for female Formula Vee drivers, but missed out to Jenny Birrell. The same year, she drove in the German Grand Prix support race for Formula Vee, at the Nürburgring. She was driving for IGFA Racing, but she, and her three team-mates, got caught up in an accident.
Saloon racing had not been forgotten: Hannelore teamed up with Wilfried Oetelshoven for the Nürburgring 6 Hours in 1966, driving an F11. They did not finish.
Also in 1967, she was recruited by the new Mahag Olympic Formula Vee team. She won at least one race that year, at Zolder. She stayed with the team for two seasons, and remained competitive. She was largely feared and respected by her male opponents, as well as her female rivals in the Coupe de Charme. She travelled around Europe in order to race, and also went over to the USA, to take part in a Formula Vee race at Daytona, with Jenny Birrell and other Coupe de Charme regulars. In Germany, she raced in a second German Grand Prix support race, at the Nürburgring. However, she was a disappointing twelfth.
Making up for this, she won the 1969 equivalent of the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Rüdiger Faltz. This event was run more like a long-distance trial, in that period, but she won it nevertheless, in a BMW 2002 Ti, run by the Alpina team. This was one of a few races she did for the BMW Alpina team that year, although she did not finish the Spa 24 Hours or the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
The year before, in 1968, she had had her first taste of sportscar racing, driving a Porsche 911 in the Spa 1000km. She and Willy Zanders were 15th overall. This was not something she pursued much further.
Her association with BMW carried through to other areas of motorsport, too. In 1970, she drove a BMW 2002 Ti in the Monte Carlo Rally, and was 31st, with Oda Dencker-Andersen as navigator. They joined forces again in 1971, in a similar car, and were 17th.
During 1970, Hannelore really started to expand her motorsport horizons. As well as her BMW rallying adventures, she was picked up by Ford of Germany for long-distance touring car races, in a Capri. Dieter Glemser was one of her team-mates, although they drove sister cars, rather than together. Although the Nürburgring 1000km and Grand Prix support races, as well as the Salzburg ETCC race, ended in DNFs, she was a strong second in the Monza 4 Hours, driving with Manfred Mohr. Her usual team-mate was Yvette Fontaine.
At about the same time, Hannelore picked up some significant sponsorship from the Eifelland caravan company, whose directors were keen to support her in taking her single-seater career further. Her first big single-seater event was a round of the French Formula 3 championship, at Magny-Cours, in July. She drove a March 703, and did not finish. The 703 was swapped for a 702 shortly afterwards. This car was used in the Mantorp Park F2 Trophy, in Sweden, and the Preis von Baden-Württemburg und Hessen. Hannelore did not finish either of those races in the classification, either. However, at the start of August, Eifelland entered her into the Nürburgring Grand Prix support race, and she was a fine second, defeated only by the 702 of Xavier Perrot. The car was not the most competitive on most circuits, but it obviously worked here.
In 1971, the team continued with March machinery for Hannelore, competing mainly in Formula Two, although team-mate Rolf Stommelen had a stronger Brabham BT30. Her first race of the year was a long-haul trip to Colombia, for the Bogotá Grand Prix. The race, in two parts, was won by Stommelen. Hannelore was not classified in her 702. In her new 712M, it was a similar story at the Speed International Trophy at Mallory Park, although Rolf Stommelen was otherwise occupied. She finished the Jim Clark Memorial Trophy, at Hockenheim, in eleventh, just behind team-mate Hermann Unold. The ADAC-Eifelrennen gave her a fifteenth place.
She did not qualify in Madrid, the fourth round of the European F2 championship, but was then ninth in the Lotteria di Monza Grand Prix, having qualified as part of the Formula 5000 class. This was followed by a DNQ at Rouen-les-Essarts, and a DNF at Imola. A second attempt at the Mantorp Trophy gave her a twelfth place, but a second go at the Preis von Baden-Württemburg led to a disqualification, after she cut a chicane. The Crystal Palace Spring Bank Holiday F2 race, in May, had seen Hannelore collide with a stationary Graham Hill. He was not seriously hurt, but it was rather embarrassing publicity for Hannelore.
Away from Formula Two, a guest spot in the Shell Super Oil British Formula Three championship, at Silverstone, ended in engine failure. Her car was a March 713S. She tried to qualify for the Paul Ricard, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch rounds, but could not manage it. Touring cars had been put to one side for the time being. All in all, it was rather an up-and-and-down year, with much experience gained, but a lot of frustration.
Judging by the entry lists, Hannelore expected to have another full season in European Formula Two, driving both a March and a Brabham BT38, but she did not end up taking her place in most of her predicted events. The only significant F2 race she actually drove in, was the Rhein-Pokalrennen at Hockenheim. She was thirteenth, in the Eifelland team’s own car, based on a March 722. A similar car, based on the 721, was raced by Rolf Stommelen in Formula One that year, without great success. The team was apparently set up to allow Stommelen to compete in Formula One, but there is a hint of an interesting “what if?” story here.
Hannelore married Günther Hennerici, one of the owners of Eifelland, about then, and retired from active motorsport competition, in order to start a family. After her three children were born, she pursued business interests of her own, including a guesthouse.
(Image from

Monday, 18 August 2014

Female Drivers in One-Make Series: Germany

Margit Abt - competed in at least one season of the Fiesta Mixed Cup in Germany, in 1991. She was racing with her husband, Hans-Jürgen Abt. Margit was seventh in the women’s standings at the end of the season, with the pair scoring a few top ten finishes. In 2005, she returned to the track for two guest appearances in the SEAT Leon Supercopa, at Hockenheim. 

Brigitte (Biggi) Briel - a regular in German one-make racing in the 1980s. She began racing in the Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup in 1982, and teamed up with two other “Fiesta Ladies” for the Nürburgring 24 Hours that summer. She was 51st in the Fiesta, with Anette Gottwald and Barbara Schmitz. Brigitte returned to the Ladies’ Cup, and was eighth in 1984 and seventh in 1985. After the Fiesta Cup, she moved into the Renault 5 Cup, still in Germany. She did two seasons in the Renault, in 1986 and 1987, as the only female driver in the series. She was not among the front-runners. In 1988, she raced in the VLN, in a Group N-spec Ford Sierra Cosworth. She scored two group wins.

Vanessa Lee Engelhardt – raced in the Clio Cup in Germany for at least one season, in 2004. She was driving for the Renault Junior Team. Her final position was 29th, after picking up a few points where she could. That year, she had quite a big accident, but seems to have been unharmed. Towards the end of the season, she was linked with a drive in the 12 Hours of Malaysia in a Porsche 911 GT3, but this does not appear to have happened.

Jutta Fischer - a graduate of the Ford Fiesta Ladies Cup in Germany. She was sixth in the 1985 championship. In 1990, she competed in the Fiesta Mixed Cup, with Thomas Marschall, and won at least one race, at Hockenheim. She returned to the series in 1991, partnering Stefan Pfeiffer, but they were not as successful. Jutta was not in the women’s top ten. Away from Ford one-makes, she also participated in the VLN, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours, with her first race in 1984. She shared a Fiesta with Richard Fischer and Uwe Fischer, but did not finish. In 1990, she drove a Fiesta XR2 with Astrid Hild, Thomas Wirtz and Thomas Marschall. It is unclear whether they finished. She may well have entered other editions of the race, in between those years.

Nadine-Nicole Frentzen - has been trying to put together a motorsport career since 2004, when she took part in a Formula BMW driver selection event  at Valencia. This did not lead to a racing seat. After some other reported testing, she finally got to race in anger in 2011. Partnering Doreen Seidel, she took part in some rounds of the ADAC Chevrolet Cruze Cup in Germany, at Oshersleben. They were not among the front-runners. Nadine-Nicole is the sister of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and first became known to the public when she was caught driving her mother’s car, on the road, at the age of thirteen.

Victoria Fross - began her racing career in 2012, in a Mini. She did four races in the German Mini Trophy, with a best finish of seventeenth, achieved three times, at Lausitz and Hockenheim. In 2013, she returned to the Mini Trophy, in her car, which she called “Lotte”, and was 16th overall, with a best finish of twelfth. This was recorded at the Sachsenring, and Lausitz. Still in the Mini, she moved up to Division III of the ADAC Procar Series in 2014, driving for the ITC team with Lisa Brunner. She started strongly, with fifth places at the Sachsenring and season’s-best fourths at the Nürburgring, and although she was not quite able to reach the podium, she was still a solid competitor. She was rewarded with sixth place overall. In 2015, she raced in Procar again, in a Mini, and was fifth in the championship. Her best result was third, at Spa. She raced in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Cup (DTC) in 2016, still in a Mini. She was one of the leading drivers in the Production class and was runner-up, with one win and twelve podium finishes. She did some races in the STT in 2017, and had a new car for 2018. In 2019, she raced in the STT again, driving an Opel Astra. This time, after a close battle, she won the STT title for the first time, a first for a female drivers. 

Nina Haller – raced in the Mini Challenge in Germany, in 2007. She was 42nd in the championship, after a part-season, and second in the Ladies’ class, behind Katharina König. This was her second season in the series, and the first went very similarly to the second. After 2007, she appears to have retired from racing, but remained involved in motorsport as a press officer for the Gigamot team, who competed in the Mini Challenge with Steffi Halm, among others.

Astrid Hild - appears to have begun her career in 1985, in the Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup. She was thirteenth overall, not among the front-runners. In 1991, she reappeared in the Fiesta Mixed Cup, partnering Jupp Bröhling. She finished strongly in some of the Ladies’ races, and was ninth in the Ladies’ standings. In between, she seems to have competed in the VLN, and is recorded as a starter in the 1990 Nürburgring 24 Hours. She shared a Ford Fiesta XR2 with Jutta Fischer, Thomas Marschall and Thomas Wirtz, who were also involved in the Mixed Cup. Previously, in 1988, she raced a Peugeot 205 GTI in the same event.

Nadja Hirth – raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup in Germany, between 2001 and 2003. During her first year, she proved herself a capable driver, and had some top-ten finishes, including an eighth at Lausitz. She was one of a relatively large group of female drivers racing in one-makes in Germany at this time, and was often second in the ladies’ standings, behind Stephanie Neitzel. Her senior career followed six years of junior karting.

Dana Jurthe – raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup in Germany, between 2001 and 2003. She was eighteen years old when she started in the series. Although she was relatively competitive in the women’s category, considering her age and lack of experience, she was not able to challenge for overall honours. Later, she seems to have done some sprinting in Eastern Europe, driving a Reynard single-seater.

Jennifer Kölsch – raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup in Germany, in 2005. She was one of seven female drivers in the series that year, but was not the fastest of them. She was 28th overall in the championship, after some non-finishes. Previously, in 2004, she made some appearances in the German Production Car Championship, driving a VW Lupo. She managed two 18th places at Oschersleben. 

Larissa Könnecker – raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup in 2003. She was not particularly successful, although she was quite inexperienced, and even in the Ladies’ class, up against quite a large field. She does not seem to have raced again after that.

Claudia Ostlender - winner of the 1983 Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup in Germany, in her first year of motorsport. She did two more seasons in the Cup, but did not repeat her win. In 1986, she moved over to the Volkswagen Polo Cup, doing a part-season at first. A similar season followed in 1987, but in 1988, she really found some speed and won her first Polo race, at Zolder. She was fifth overall. Some time before 1989, when she retired from motor racing, she won her class three times in VLN races at the Nürburgring. Her cars were a Volkswagen Golf GTi and a Ford Escort RS. At some point, she also set a speed record in a Volkswagen Corrado.

Jasmin Rubatto - German driver who raced in the 2000s, mostly in one-make series. She took part in the MINI Challenge in Germany in 2004, and was ninth overall. Her team-mate in the Ich Liebe Es squad was Kati Droste. Apparently, this was a comeback from “maternity leave”, but details of her career prior to this are not forthcoming. In 2009, she also did four races in the SEAT Leon Supercopa, also in Germany. She was driving as one of SEAT’s guest works drivers.  

Doreen Seidel - began racing in 2011, in the ADAC Cruze Cup, run at Oschersleben. She shared a Chevrolet Cruze with Nadine-Nicole Frentzen. In 2012, she returned to the Cruze Cup, still with the Buchbinder Rent-A-Car team. This year, she shared the car with Ronny Melkus and Freddie Hunt, and was really quite competitive, with two second places and several thirds. In 2013, she spent a season in the Mini Challenge, or most of it. She was fourteenth overall, but did not race for the whole season. She also undertook some test driving for the Abt Sportsline team, for the ADAC GT Masters. In 2014, she stuck with one-make racing, in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. Her best finish was an eleventh place, at the Red Bull Ring. Normally, she finished further down the order, although she avoided accidents. She was 20th overall. After the end of the Scirocco-R Cup, she raced in its successor, the Audi TT Sport Cup. Her best finish was thirteenth, at the Nürburgring. 2016 saw a jump-up in power for Doreen, who raced a KTM X-Bow in the European GT4 Series. She did not race for the whole season, but she did manage a ninth place at Spa as her best result. She was 29th overall. Doreen is a former model.

Marleen Seilheimer - raced in the Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2006 and 2007, in Germany. She was 16th in the championship in 2006, and tenth in 2007. The following year, she drove a Honda Civic for the Honda Junior Team in the VLN, and entered the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Her team-mates were Christian Caron, Jorge Altmann and Daniel Ortmann. They do not appear to have finished. This was Marleen’s last notable competitive outing, but she has stayed involved in motorsport, and works in media relations for the Sauber Formula One team.

Patricija Stalidzane - former karter who started racing cars in 2018. She is racing in the Central Europe Clio Cup for FSR Performance. She did a part-season and her best result has been a tenth place at the Red Bull Ring. In 2019, she raced an Audi R8 LMS in the ADAC GT4 series, scoring one podium position: a second at Hockenheim. She was 21st overall. Prior to this, she competed in karting at a national level from 2011, having begun at the age of seven in her brother’s kart. Previously, she was set on becoming a ballet dancer. She is a German national but was born in Latvia.

Roxanne Treuberg – young German driver racing in the Kia Lotos Cup in Eastern Europe. 2015 was her first season in circuit racing, after a long karting career. Her car was a Kia Picanto. That year, her best results were two sixteenth places, at the Slovakiaroring and Most. Roxanne was only sixteen years old at the start of the season.

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