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.

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