Sunday, 8 June 2014

Stock Car Racing Outside the USA

This post is about women drivers racing stock cars outside of the USA, in NASCAR-style series and in Pickup Truck races. These have been a feature of South and Central American racing for many years. Mara Reyes now has her own profile, like Gisela Ponce. More recently, a European NASCAR series has been successfully launched, after a British version did not take off.

Arianna Casoli - races in the Whelen Euro NASCAR series. In 2016 and 2017, she raced in the Elite 2 development class. In 2016, her car was a Ford. Her best finish was 15th, at Adria, and she was 19th in the championship, although she was that year’s top lady driver. She fared better at the wheel of a CAAL Racing Chevrolet, almost getting into the top ten at Venray. She was 15th overall that year. Another season in Elite 2 in 2018 gave her a championship 17th. She improved this to 15th in 2019, with a best finish of twelfth at Zolder. Prior to 2016, she raced in a number of one-make series in Italy, including the Saxo and MGF Cups. This stopped in 2002 so she could finish her education and have children. She began racing seriously again in 2015 in the SEAT Ibiza Cup in Italy, having made a guest appearance in 2013 with her friend Valentina Albanese.

Michaela Dorcikova  - Slovak driver who raced in the Whelen Euro NASCAR Series in 2019. She entered the Hockenheim rounds with Alex Caffi Racing, in the Elite 1 division. She was taken out by another driver in the second race, having finished 17th and fourth in class in the first. Her racing background is autoslalom, in which she has won championships, and karting, with some touring car races in Slovakia. She is the team manager for LMP2 outfit ARC Bratislava.

Nancy Gutierrez - began racing seriously in 2015, in the NASCAR Mexico Pro Series. During the season, she and her brother, Manuel, were both reprimanded by the authorities, although Nancy’s rebuke was for verbally abusing officials, rather than on-track conduct. She had a best finish of seventh, at Mexico City, and was sixteenth in the championship. She was the only woman taking part. In 2016, she entered the V6 Championship in Mexico, but only appears to have raced once, at Guadalajara. She was ninth.

Shantel Kalika - Canadian driver who competes in NASCAR. She first started in the Pinty’s Series in 2018, starting three races in Canada driving a Dodge. She scored two fourteenth and one fifteenth place. In 2019, she entered the series again and scored one twelfth place at Jukasa Motor Speedway, during the APC 200. This was one of five races she did in the series that year, although she did not finish two due to excessive vibrations in her car. She has been racing since 2010 in club-level events, mainly driving trucks, and won a title in 2016. Her family is involved in motorsport.

Ana (Cecília) Mello - raced in the Stock Paulista championship from 2005 onwards, alongside her sister, Maria Izabel. They shared a car in their first year, but competed against each other after that. She continued to race in the championship until at least 2009. Her best result seems to be a win in the Light category in 2008, driving a Chevrolet Omega. In 2006, she drove an Omega with her sister in the Mil Milhas, finishing 17th. Her other results have proved hard to find, although she was usually strong in the Light class.

Maria Izabel Mello - sister of Ana Mello, who began racing at the same time. She raced her own car from 2006 onwards, although she and Ana were often in the same team. “Bel” seems to have been slightly less competitive than Ana, although she did have the upper hand on her in the 2006 Stock Paulista championship, finishing third in the Light championship to Ana’s fifth. She drove in the 2006 mil Milhas in a Chevrolet Omega, with Ana, Carlos Tigueis Batista and Leandro Mussio. They were 17th overall.

Maria Cristina Moreira - native of Rio de Janeiro who raced in Brazil in the 2000s, mainly in one-make series. In 2001, she participated in the Brazilian Women’s Ford Fiesta Championship, but was not among the front-runners. In 2002, she had a decent season in Pick Up racing (the Fiesta series toured with Pick Ups in 2001), and was eighth in the championship. She also raced in the Renault Clio Cup for at least some of its rounds in 2004, and finished fifteenth, from 25th on the grid, at Autodromo Nelson Piquet. Later, in 2006, she made some appearances in Stock Car racing, in a Yamaha-engined car. She was 16th overall. 

Fernanda Parra - started racing in 2004, in a Chevrolet Omega, in São Paulo. She was 16th in the Light class. The following year, she did her first Mil Milhas race, in the Omega, and was 38th. One of her team-mates was her father, Fernando. In 2006, she raced in the Light class of Brazilian Stock Cars, in a Chevrolet Astra this time. She was 23rd. That year, she also tried sportscar racing, and did four rounds of the Brazilian Trofeo Maserati, finishing fifteenth. A second visit to the Mil Milhas, with Fernando, gave her thirteenth overall, in the Omega again. Her third season of Stock Cars gave her a 36th place, in the Astra, and in 2008, she switched to Pickup racing. She was 18th in the championship after five races. Her last definite major appearance seems to have been one Stock Car race in 2008, where she drove a Mitsubishi Lancer. She may have raced Pickups in 2009, but no results are forthcoming.

Gabriela Prado – Brazilian driver who raced in the Whelen NASCAR Euro Series in 2015. Her car was a Chevrolet. Brands Hatch was her best circuit, and she was fifteenth in one of her races there. She was fifteenth in the championship. 2015 was her first season of car racing, although she had previously done some karting. She also competes in surfing.

Estefania Reyes - NASCAR racer from Mexico. She has been competing in Mexican stock cars since 2007, using a MotorSpeed Dodge. In 2008, she was 28th in the championship after completing ten races. Her best finish was thirteenth, at Queretaro. She was sponsored by Mattel's Barbie in 2007. Previously, she raced single-seaters in Mexico and was a front-runner in the 1600cc class in 2006. She is one of the youngest recorded female racing drivers, having made her debut at fifteen. She sat out the 2009 season after being injured in a road traffic accident, and returned to NASCAR Mexico in 2010, towards the end of the season. She continued in 2011, but only managed four races and struggled with qualification.

Regina Sirvent - races in NASCAR in Mexico. 2017 was her first season. She was 14 when she had her first race in a NASCAR pickup. Her best finish was seventh, at Pachuca, and she was eleventh overall. She also did a part-season in Mexican Super Touring, in the Light class. Her car was a Chevrolet. She was only 30th on the leaderboard due to missing most of the early rounds, but she did manage two top-ten finishes, the best of these being an eighth at Mexico City. In 2018, she continued to divide her time between Mexican Super Touring and the Mikel's Trucks series. Driving a Chevy, she scored two podiums in Super Touring, a second at Amozoc and a third at Mexico City. She was fourteenth overall. In Trucks, she was tenth overall, despite not being as quick. Her best finish was eighth at Queretaro. In 2018, she also made her single-seater debut, racing in the NACAM F4 series at Aguascalientes. 2019 was mostly spent racing in Mikel's Trucks, where she earned a fourth place at Aguascalientes and five further top-ten finishes. She also made guet appearances in TC2000 and Super Touring Light in Mexico, driving a Ford.

Isabelle Tremblay – raced stock cars in Canada between 2009 and 2013. She began her career in 2008, racing on short ovals, and became the first woman to win a race at the St-Eustache Autodrome. In 2009, she took her first steps in the ACT Castrol Series, with a part-season. In 2010, she did four races in the NASCAR Canadian Tyres Series, in a Ford, with a best finish of 20th, at Toronto. She did better in regional Sportsman races, finishing ninth in her championship. In 2011, she ran an expanded NASCAR programme, and her results improved, the best being an eighth place, at Mosport. If her finishing record had been better, she would have finished higher than twelfth in the championship, and could have won the Rookie title. That year, she also tried some single-seater racing, and won once in class in a Formula Ford race at Montreal. In 2012, it was back to NASCAR, in a Dodge this time, but she only took part in six races, finishing four of them. The best of these were two tenth places. She returned in 2013, but only for one round, at Trois- Riviéres. She was 20th. Away from motorsport, Isabelle is a radio presenter.

Vanessa Vorcaro - races historic stock cars in her native Brazil. Her car is an Opala 250 and she has been racing in the Old Stock championship since at least 2018. So far, her results have not been the most impressive and she was disqualified at least once in 2018. Her best finish seems to have been a 15th place at Interlagos in February 2019. She narrowly avoided an accident on a bend in the second race.

Kelly-Jayne Wells - front-runner in Pickup Truck racing in the UK. She has been in Pickups since 2004 and scored outright wins in 2005, 2006 and 2007, in both the Rockingham and UK championships. This is in addition to many top-five places, including a third in her first season. She has won four times overall. Her best championship finish is fourth in the Rockingham series and seventh in the overall championship. Previously, she raced on short ovals from a young age. She also drove a Eurobrun F1 car for a EuroBOSS press day, but did not actually compete. A lack of funding hindered her participation in 2008, but she found a race seat with Hodgson Motorsport for 2009. She drove in the first three meetings, with a best finish of fourth.

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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Women Drivers in One-Make Series: Poland

Aleksandra Furgal with her Castrol VW 

In recent years, Polish one-make racing has produced several home-grown female racers. This page will shortly be expanded.

Aleksandra Bursiak - raced in the VW Castrol Cup in 2013, driving a Golf. This was her first season of motorsport, and she was not overly competitive. Her best results were two 19th places, achieved at the Hungaroring and Poznan. She was 23rd overall in the championship. In 2014, she does not appear to have returned to motorsport. Prior to 2013, she worked as a model, and ran a VW dealership with her partner.

Karolina Czapka (Lampel) - Polish driver who has been racing in one-make series in Europe since 2003. Her first racing car seems to have been an Alfa Romeo, in 2003, but she has mostly driven Renaults since then, including three runs in the German Clio Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Her best result was 17th, in 2007. More recently, she raced in the DMV Tourenwagen Challenge in Germany, in 2009, and scored at least one class win in her Renault Megane silhouette. The Megane was also her car of choice in 2010, when she drove in the Megane Trophy in Europe. At home, she won class D4 of the Polish Touring Car Championship. In 2011, she won the Renault Race Festival at the Nurburgring. In 2012, she did not compete much, although she did drive in one endurance race at Brno in a Porsche Cayman, and at least some of the Polish Renault Megane Trophy. 

Mery (Marcelina) Czepiel - began her senior career in the 2019 Kia Platinum Cup, aged 16. Her first race was at Most and on a very wet track. She also won her class at Poznan. In November, she travelled to the Yas Marina circuit for the opening rounds of the UAE Procar championship, earning two fourth places in a Renault Clio and a “Driver of the Day” award. Before entering the Kia series, she had been involved in karting for just under two years. Her ambition is to move into rallying and compete in the WRC, emulating her hero Janusz Kulig.

Jolanta Fabijańska -  competed in the Kia Lotos Cup in Poland between 2006 and 2008, driving in the Picanto class. In her first season, she was only 21st. In 2007, she still struggled, and was 25th. In 2008, she got to grips with the car and started visiting the top three. She was tenth overall, and first out of the four female drivers. In addition to circuit racing, Jolanta occasionally takes part in rallying, as a driver and navigator. In 2006, she was 78th in the Rajd Baborka, in another Picanto. Her most recent co-driving seems to be with Wojciech Skrebutenas in 2010, in a Peugeot 106. 

Aleksandra (Ola) Furgal - raced mostly in Poland between 2007 and 2013. Between 2007 and 2009, she competed in the Kia Picanto Cup. During her first season, she was 24th, but that improved to fourteenth in 2008, and seventh in 2009. She scored two podium finishes, after having her first one in 2008. In 2010, she moved into the Kia Cee’d Cup. She did not finish on the podium, but was more consistent this year, so was fifth overall. That year, she also did some rally co-driving, and helped Leszek Kuzaj to a win in the Janusz Kulig memorial rallysprint. After a break, she entered the VW Castrol Cup, racing around Central and Eastern Europe. Her best finish was fourteenth, at Poznan, and she pulled out after a DNF in the first race of the Austrian round. She was 22nd overall. She does not appear to have raced in 2014.

Monika Luberadzka - raced in Kia one-make championships between 2006 and 2010. She began in the Picanto Cup. To begin with, she was not on the pace, and she was only 25th in 2006. Her second season was much the same, and she was 26th in the championship. In 2008, she switched to the Cee’d Cup, and was more competitive, with twelfth place in her first season. This was improved to eighth in 2009. That season, she also raced a VW Golf in the Polish Touring Car Championship, for at least some of its rounds, with Karolina Lampel-Czapka. In 2010, she was sixth overall in the Cee’d Cup, just behind Aleksandra Furgal. As well as racing, Monika took part in a couple of rallies, including the 2006 Rajd Baborka, in a Picanto. She has also rallied a Peugeot 206 (in 2009) and a Fiat Seicento. In 2010, she took part in hillclimbs in Slovakia and Italy, as part of the Central European championship. Her car was a Kia Cee’d. She does not appear to have competed since then.

Klara Ruszkowska (Rosłan)- raced a Kia Picanto between 2006 and 2009, in the Kia Picanto Cup, which ran as part of the Kia Lotos Cup for the Picanto and Cee’d. She was 29th in 2006, but then only 38th in 2007, after missing a couple of races. In 2008, she was only able to take part in four races, and was 24th overall. In 2009, she completed a full season, and was a career-best fourteenth. After that, she disappears from the entry lists.

Malgorzata Serbin – raced saloons in Poland in the 1990s. She has competed in one-make series for Fiats and the Alfa Romeo 156. She began in a Fiat Cinquecento in 1991, and scored a podium finish in her first race. This was the first of a string of podiums, and she was third in the championship. Until 1994, she continued to use the Cinquecento in races and hillclimbs, usually doing better on the circuits. After a break, she returned in 1998, and won a race at Poznan in the Fiat. In 1999, she raced in the Renault Megane Cup, and earned some top-ten finishes. A season in the Alfa Romeo one-make series followed, which ended similarly. She is now a driver coach.

Izabella Szwarczynska - began racing in the Kia Picanto Cup in 2006. She did a full season that year, and was 17th overall. The following year, she only managed five of the eleven races, and was 36th as a result. Her activities after that are a bit vague, although she is recorded as a class winner in the Poznan round of the Polish Racing Cup in 2011. This looks to be a historic racing series. There are some results from earlier, in 2004, for Izabella in the Polish Touring Car Championship. She was sixth in class in a Fiat Seicento. In 2003, she did some racing in the same class, and crashed at least once. She has also done some rallying, including the 2008 Warsaw Rally. She was 16th, in a Renault Clio.

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Monday, 2 June 2014

Women Drivers in One-Make Series: Sweden

Female drivers have competed in many of Sweden's one-make series, both past and present. In the 1980s, the Lady Racing Club's women-only events provided several "graduates" to one-make championships.

Eva Bornebusch - mostly raced in one-make series in Sweden and Finland, in the 1980s and 1990s. She began in the Lancia Lady Cup in 1986, where she was eighth. In 1988, she raced a Rover Vitesse, including a run in the Kemora 500km endurance race in Finland. She was seventh, with Janina Österholm and Catta Lindgren. With Karlson and Bokaj, she also made a rare visit to France, for the Nogaro ETCC race, but did not finish. In 1990, she was fourth in the Kemora 500, with her father, Kaj Bornebusch, driving a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. Both the Rover and the Sierra had originally belonged to him, and Eva apparently raced both of them around Sweden during this time. In 1992, she took part in the Renault Clio Cup of Scandianvia, and was eighth. She returned to the series in 1993, but was fifteenth this time.

Lottie Halvards-Mattsson - one of the early members of Sweden’s Lady Racing Club. She took part in the Mini Lady Cup in at least 1980 and 1981, and possibly before. She was sixth in 1980 and second in 1981. Later, she did some races in the Lancia Lady Cup. In between, she raced in mixed competition in the SSK Trophy and the Vredestein Cup, in an Opel Kadett. She was sixth in the Vredestein Cup in 1982. Lottie was involved with the Magnum Racing team, like the Lindgren sisters, throughout the early 1980s.

Eva Kjellkvist-Pulls - long-term member of the Swedish Lady Racing Club, who participated in all of the editions of the Lancia Lady Cup, and some of its Mini-based predecessors, in 1979 and 1980.  Her best overall finish was second in the Lancia version, in 1984. After the end of the Lancia Lady Cup, she carried on racing in the Camaro Cup in Sweden, using a Chevrolet Camaro left over from a British racing series. In 1989, her first season, she was thirteenth. Her best finish was eighth, in 1996, which seems to have been her last season.

Helena Larsson - competed in one-make series in both touring and sports cars. After some years in karting, she started her career in 1999, in the Volvo S40 Junior Touring Car Cup. She was thirteenth in her first year. By 2001, she was seventh, having achieved three podiums. In 2002, she bought a Volvo S60 for the STCC-supporting Volvo S60 Challenge. In this series, she was 16th in 2002 and 20th in 2003, running as the only female driver. After that, she made some appearances in the Swedish Radical Championship in 2005 and 2006, before disappearing from the scene. She was in a relationship with fellow driver, Fredrik Hager, whom she beat in the 1999 Junior Touring Cup. 

Catta Lindgren - winner of the Lady Opel Cup in Sweden in 1990. Previously, in 1986, she raced in the Lancia Lady Cup, and was sixth overall, with one podium finish. In the 1988 Lady Cup, she was third. In between, she seems to have done some mixed-gender racing, too, including the 1988 Kemora 500 Midnight Sun race in Finland, in which she was seventh, as part of an all-female team with Eva Bornebusch and Janina Österholm, in a Rover Vitesse. She may also have raced in Sweden, in other series of the time. Catta is the sister of Nettan Lindgren.

Emelie Moe – races a Renault Clio in her native Sweden. She started in 2012, in the Junior Clio Cup championship (JTCC). This followed some years as a junior karter, from the age of fourteen to twenty. Her first races ended in two twelfth places, at Östersund, her home track. In 2013, she was fifteenth in the JTCC, with a best finish of sixth, at Östersund. In 2014, she graduated to the senior Clio Cup, and was eleventh, sixth as her best finish again, this time at Göteborg. The following year, she was also eleventh in the championship, but she achieved her first podium, at Skövde, a second place. She continued to race in the Clio Cup in 2016, and was eleventh again. She was a consistent top-ten finisher, but did not repeat her podium finishes of 2015, with a sixth place at Knutstorp her best finish. 

Laila Riis-Pedersen - a regular in the Camaro Cup in Sweden for many years. She entered at least eight times, between 1992 and 2002. Her best season was 2001, when she was fifth overall. She was also sixth in 1996, and in the top ten three more times. As well as the main Camaro Cup, she also raced her Chevy in other, one-off events, and was sixth in the Solvalla 500 endurance race in 1996.

Sophie West - one-make specialist from Sweden. She began in the Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup in 2008, which she described as “too fast”, and then spent two years in the JTCC saloon series, which she described as “too slow”. Her car was a Toyota Auris, and her best finish was sixth, in the first round of the 2010 championship. She was 18th in 2009 and 16th in 2010, after a few top tens and in 2010, several missed rounds and DNFs. In 2011, she began racing in the Scandinavian Trofeo Abarth 500, where she found more form. After her first season, she was eleventh, with a best finish of seventh at Anderstorp, and six further top ten places. In 2012, she only contested five rounds of the Swedish series, with a best finish of fifth at Karlskoga, but was ninth overall. She also entered some European Trofeo Abarth rounds, but information about these is not forthcoming. 

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