Thursday, 12 March 2015

Amanda Hennessy


Amanda is a much-travelled American driver who has competed in various series over the years. Now, she is mostly involved in historic racing. She competes in Europe quite extensively, as well as in the States, and lives in Switzerland.

She began her career in karting, before moving into ice racing in the States, in 2001. At this time, she was picked for the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program, run by former Indycar racer, Lyn St. James.

Her first circuit races were in 2004, in the SCCA Spec Racer Ford series. By 2005, she was training at the Skip Barber Racing School and competing in its associated series. 
Late in the summer of 2005 , she made her first racing trip to Europe, to drive in the Formula Woman Nations Cup, in a Caterham. Despite good performances in qualifying, Formula Woman was not one of her best racing moments.

In 2006, she had a part-season in the Skip Barber Racing Series, and several SCCA championships for the Mazda Miata (MX-5). One of these championships resulted in Amanda’s first win, the National SSB Northern Pacific Division. She also did her first One Lap of America, for charity fundraising for breast cancer, as well as competition. This event is a long-distance road rally around the USA, which runs as a legal-speed regularity test on public roads, with autocross and speed trial sections, held on circuits. As its name suggests, it traverses around thousands of miles of America, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska.

2007 saw her move back to Europe, to race in some Swiss championships. She did two races of LO Formel Lista Junior, and competed in the Swiss Touring Cup Masters, driving an Alpine-Renault and a Chevrolet Corvette. She was fourth overall. She also found time to race a Formula Ford in SCCA competition for a couple of races, yielding a couple of podiums. A second One Lap of America gave her a class win, and more funds raised for charity.

In 2008, she did some classic events (including the Le Mans Classic and One Lap of America) in a Corvette, plus the Clio Cup in Switzerland. She returned to Switzerland in 2009, for a second season in the Clio Cup. She was tenth overall, after a varied season, with a best finish of sixth, at Monza. She was usually in the top ten.

After that, her international adventures have mostly been focused around historics, usually Corvettes. She drove at the Le Mans Classic in 2010, 2012 and 2014, in a 1968 Corvette. In another Corvette, a 1999 Rolex GT model, she won the Grand Prix race held at the Corvette Euro Meet, at Bresse in France. This car is run by Robert Dubler’s team, which partners her own Hennessy Racing team for all events. The Bresse win was a first for a female driver.

At home, she did a few Spec Racer Ford races. In 2011, she raced the 1999 Corvette in the VLN, and a Clio Cup in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, which gave her and her team-mates a fourth in class. 

In 2012, she made another appearance in modern machinery, driving an Opel Astra in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. She was third in class V3, 95th overall.

In 2013, she raced almost exclusively in historic events, including hillclimbs, all round Europe, in a Corvette. She also did her eighth One Lap of America, scoring another class win.

In 2014, she won the Austrian Histo Cup Historic V8 championship, in the 1968 Corvette. This series is registered in Austria, but runs around Central Europe. She was the winner of the over-4000cc class, and was fifth in the combined rankings.

She also took part in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, in an Opel Astra, with Robert Dubler, Christoph Brune and Thomas Lennackers. They were 102nd overall.  

She planned to defend her Histo Cup title in 2015, and have another go at the One Lap of America, as part of a three-car Hennessy/Dubler team. She was 49th overall, as part of a three-driver team, and fourth in the Retro Car class.

Her Histo Cup season ended up being a double-pronged attack on the Histo Cup itself, and the associated Touring and GT Open, in which she raced a Renault Clio. She was second in the Touring and GT championship. 

Amanda's Histo Cup season in 2016 did not run as smoothly as in previous years, and included losing wheels during a race. She also raced the Corvette in the Le Mans Classic in June, in the Plateau 5 section. She and her team-mates, including Robert Dubler, were 42nd in their first race.

She teamed up with Adam Hennessy and Thomas Daetwyler for the One Lap of America, as Team Mahna Mahna. Their car was a 2009 Chevrolet, and they were second in the Retro Car class. 

(Image from www.amandahennessy.com)

(Thanks to Amanda herself for her feedback and additional information.)

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