Sunday, 31 May 2015

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Austria


Corinna Kamper

There are now enough Austrian single-seater drivers to warrant their own post. Most of the drivers here have been split off from Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Claudia Steffek and Osmunde Dolischka have their own profiles.

Corinna Kamper - Austrian racer who began her senior career in 2011, after some years of karting. That year, she used a Formula BMW in two different series: the Intersteps Championship in the UK, and Formula Lista Junior in continental Europe. She did best in Formula Lista, scoring a win in her maiden season, at Monza. She was sixth overall. Her best Intersteps finish was fourth, at Brands Hatch. She was tenth in that championship. In 2012, she moved up to the Northern Europe Formula Renault series, hoping to finish in the top third of the drivers’ table. It proved much harder going. Although she had a good finishing record, her best result was only a twelfth place, at Oschersleben. She was 41st overall. She continued in the series in 2013, driving for Fortec. Her best finishes were fourteenth places, at Spa and Zandvoort. She was 34th overall. In 2014, she raced in Formula Masters in Germany, at two of the meetings, at the Red Bull Ring and Oschersleben. Her best result was ninth, at the Red Bull Ring, which is her home track. She was 16th in the championship, driving in a single-driver team (HS Engineering). She announced her retirement from the track in 2015.

Claudia Kreuzsaler - Austrian Formula Three driver in the 1990s. She entered the German, Austrian and French championships between 1991 and 1995, driving different cars for different teams. During this time, she did not manage a complete season with one team, perhaps due to sponsorship issues. Her best finish was third at Salzburg, in an Austrian race. She was less successful in Germany and France. Her highest overall position was twelfth, in the 1993 German series, although she had only driven in two races.

Bianca Steiner - Austrian driver who has competed across Europe. She began racing in 1994, in Hungary, in the E-2000 Championship. Despite being only fourteen years old at the time, she came fourth. She was ninth in 2005, and that year, she branched out into Formula Junior in Italy, driving for the Hungarian Szsasz team. This arrangement continued in 2006, and she was tenth in the championship. As well as the Italian Junior series, she entered a Formula Renault Winter series, and a few Formula 3000 races with the Coloni Rookies team.
For 2007, her programme was more focused, and she now had her own team. She drove to a disappointing 31st place in Italian Formula Renault, and made a few outings in the Eurocup. In 2008, she moved to the Northern Europe Championship, but did not fare much better. After four races back in the Italian championship in 2009, with a best finish of fourth, she appears to have left the series. She also did some hillclimbing in a Formula Nippon car in 2009.


(Image from http://www.adac-motorsport.de/)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Lauren Gray


Lauren came to prominence as a frontrunner in the Australian Formula Three Trophy in 2006. In 2010, she made headlines, as part of the first father-daughter team to finish the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Her first major racing car was not a single-seater, but a Toyota Corolla, which she used in Improved Production races at State and National level, in 2003. That year, she made her first appearance in the Australian Production Car Championship, taking a guest spot in a smaller Proton Satria.

In 2004, she raced in the APCC, in the Satria again, finishing fourth in Class D after twelve races. This was in addition to some more club racing in the Corolla.

The following season, she took her first steps into single-seater racing. Bravely, she bypassed Formula Ford and Formula Vee, and jumped straight into the B class of the Australian Formula 3 championship. Despite her lack of open-wheel experience, she was fifth in the class, driving for the dominant Scud Racing team.

As well as a ten-race F3 schedule, Lauren was very busy in 2005, with a full programme of Production Car racing in a Toyota Echo Sportivo. She was third in Class C, and tenth overall.
2006 was another very full season. Lauren moved into the Trophy class of Australian F3, still with Scud Racing. She was one of the leading drivers, with two wins, nine additional podiums and an overall runner-up spot. Her F3 programme also took in the two Australian Grand Prix support races.

Touring cars had certainly not been forgotten. She returned to Class C of the APCC, and the Toyota Echo, and was third in class, fifteenth overall. This year, the Toyota was running under the “Lauren Gray Motorsport” banner. The team ran two cars, one for Lauren and one for Amber Anderson. As well as the APCC, Lauren Gray Motorsport made appearances in other production saloon racing series, and picked up points everywhere.  

She moved up to the National class of Australian F3 in 2007, and was second, driving a 2001-spec car. Another season in the APCC gave her a fifth in Class C, although the Echo was not really powerful enough to compete in the overall standings. She was 24th in the championship.

In January, Lauren had been part of an all-female team for the Bathurst 12 Hours, with Leanne Tander, Samantha Reid and Christina Orr. They drove a Holden Astra, but did not finish.

Despite her obvious skill in a single-seater, she returned to saloon competition full-time for 2008, in the Australian Manufacturers' Championship. Her car was still the Toyota Echo and she won her class overall. During the season, she scored many class wins and even a few top ten overall finishes, despite having one of the smallest and least powerful cars in the field.

In 2009, she drove again at Bathurst for 12 Hour race, and recorded her first finish. Driving a BMW 130i with John deVeth and Rob Thomson, she was second in class and 19th overall. Unfortunately, this was her only big race of the season, although she did make some appearances in the Victorian State Improved Production Car series, driving a Toyota Corolla.

She contested the 2010 Australian Production Car Championship in a Toyota Corolla Sportivo, driving for her own team, and was tenth overall, although she only contested six rounds. At Phillip Island, her sister Maddison drove with her. Her father, Michael, was another team-mate to her, and the family theme continued at the Bathurst 12 Hours. The Lauren Gray Motorsport Corolla was fourth in class D. This was the first time that a father-daughter team had started the race, after Tania Gulson failed to qualify with her own family team. Tony Head was the Grays’ third driver. They were 19th overall.

As well as the APRC, she did a few races in V8 Utes, driving a Holden Commodore pickup.

2011 was somewhat of a disjointed season, with some Production races in the Corolla, but not really enough to make a dent in the standings. She was sixth in Class D. The rest of the season was spent in a Holden Torana, in Sports Sedan races, at State and National level.

In 2012, she was set to contest the Aussie Racing Cars series, in a Holden Commodore, with the LaFemme Racing Academy team. This did not happen, and she spent the season hopping between Aussie Racing Cars and the Australian Production Championship, in a Commodore and a Toyota Echo respectively. She was driving for her own team, alongside her sister Maddison and Samantha Bennett. Lauren was third in Class E, just above Maddison. She did less well in Aussie Racing Cars, finishing 33rd overall after a part-season.

2013 was spent mostly on “maternity leave”, but she returned to the circuits in 2014, again hopping between championships. Jumping back into a single-seater, she scored a few points in the Victorian State Formula Vee Championship, and did a part-season in the Manufacturers' Championship. Her car was a Ford Falcon, and her best result was an eleventh place in class, at Phillip Island. She was running in Class B, for Production cars. A part-season in the APCC, running the same car in Class C, gave her a fifteenth place overall. She was driving for the Australian Auto Wreckers team.

2015 has so far been a quiet one for Lauren, on the competition front anyway. She has been following the US Rally Championship in America, with the FY Racing team. It seems that her future plans may lie in this direction.

In 2016, she did not race competitively, but Lauren Gray Motorsport ran cars for Ellexandra Best and Liam Thompson in the APC.

(Image from http://www.amchamp.com.au/)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Jennifer Jo Cobb


Jennifer in 2013

Jennifer is an experienced stock car racer and now, team owner, who has competed extensively in the NASCAR Truck series.

She began racing in local NASCAR-sanctioned stock car events in 1991, in her home state of Kansas. Her interest in motorsports began young; since she was eight, she wanted to be a professional racing driver. When she was 18, she started racing in the Pony Stock division at her local track. Between 1991 and 1996, she won five feature races.

For the next three seasons, she raced in the Charger Division of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, at the Lakeside circuit in Kansas, and the I-70 track in Missouri. She picked up three more outright wins, before moving up to Late Models, and winning four more feature races in 2000 and 2001.

In 2002, she made the upward and somewhat sideways move in to ARCA stock car racing, which is separate, although similar, to the NASCAR family. After some training and some promising tests at Daytona, she took part in her first ARCA race, at the Kansas circuit. Her car was a Chevrolet, and she was 16th.

2003 was a much quieter year, with much of it given over to working as a driving instructor, which allowed Jennifer to learn other tracks. She had a go at the Kansas ARCA race again, but could not finish, despite making her way to midfield from the very back.

ARCA was a happier hunting ground in 2004. She managed three top-ten finishes, at Kansas, Nashville and Chicagoland, the best of these being a seventh at Nashville. At the end of the season, she made her debut in the NASCAR Busch Series, at Homestead-Miami, but did not finish.

Although she carried on as a performance driving instructor, the next two seasons did not feature much in the way of racing. She qualified for the Kansas Busch Series race in 2006, but was taken out by another driver. The following year, she did one ARCA race at the circuit, and was 25th, in a Chevrolet.

At about this time, Jennifer launched her own line of motorsport-themed clothing for women, Driver Boutique. Driver Boutique’s proceeds helped her to get back into big-league racing, and acted as her major sponsor.

2008 saw another debut. Jennifer took part in her first NASCAR Craftsman Truck race, finishing 33rd after a blown engine at Kansas. Later in the season, she was 27th, at Kentucky. In between, she made guest appearances in ARCA and the Nationwide Series, once driving for Derrike Cope’s team.

The next season was similar in terms of scheduling, although Jennifer did not finish either of her Craftsman Truck races, one of those being at Talladega. She did not finish the Kansas ARCA round, either.

After several years of one-off drives in the Busch Series and ARCA, she put together a deal for a large proportion of the Camping World Truck series in 2010, driving a Ford for her own team. Her best finishes were two fourteenth places, and she was 17th overall. Driving for other team owners, she made some appearances in ARCA and the Nationwide Series, scoring a 17th place in ARCA, at Daytona.

The following year, she made a double attack on the Truck and Nationwide series, with a better record in the Nationwide championship, where she was 29th, and a contender for Rookie of the Year. Her car was a Rick Ware Racing Ford. However, her best overall finish was sixth, in the first round of the Truck series, at Daytona. This was a highest-ever finish for a female driver at the time, in any major NASCAR series. Her twelve races yielded another three top-twenty finishes, near the end of the season.

In 2012, she concentrated on the Truck series again, and was 27th. Her best finish was 16th, at Kentucky. As well as this, she ran two cars for her own team in Trucks, for herself and either Jake Crum or Tim J. Bell.  

She did 16 races in 2013, in which she had a best finish of 17th, at Kansas. Unfortunately, her finishing record this year was not good, and her season was further compromised by a legal battle with former business partners and her ex-boyfriend, over team property. Her final finishing position was 25th. She was also 26th in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas, in one of her regular guest appearances in the championship.

Her schedule in 2014 was similar, with most of the year spent in Trucks. Her finishing record was much improved, and she had a best finish of thirteenth, at Kansas. This, and her two other top-twenty positions, gave her 16th in the championship. Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing remained a two-car team, with the other seats taken by Caleb Roark, Matt Tifft and Willie Allen, at different parts of the season.

Her guest appearance in the Nationwide Series, also at Kansas, yielded a 24th place. 

In 2015, she continued to race in the Camping World Truck Series, and achieved six top-twenty finishes. The best of these was an 18th place, in her first race of the season, at Daytona. She was 17th in the championship. This was despite being put on probation for protesting after a crash at Dover.

She equalled her 2015 highest finish in the 2016 Truck championship with a seventeenth at Michigan. Overall, her season had more disruption than previously, with more DNFs and a few non-starts. She was 30th in the championship. In October, she made a guest appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity series at Kansas, in a Rick Ware Chevrolet Camaro. She was 29th overall. 

Jennifer uses her media profile to support a number of good causes, including her own organisation, Driven2Honor. This charity champions American servicewomen.

(Image from http://americancarsamericangirls.com)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Dorothy Stanley-Turner


Dorothy at Shelsley Walsh in 1939

Dorothy was one of the later female racing stars at Brooklands, and was particularly associated with the MG marque.

She started racing at quite a young age, and she was guided from the beginning by other female motorsport enthusiasts. Joan Chetwynd taught her to drive, and her earliest competition experiences were alongside Mrs Kimber in an MG, in trials. Her father, a Forces officer, was a friend of Mrs Kimber’s husband, Cecil, who was a director of the MG Group.

She began circuit racing in 1937, and her first major race was the First Easter Mountain Handicap at Brooklands. Her car was an MG special. In the same car, she also raced in the Fourth Easter Mountain Handicap, at the same meeting. She finished both races, but was not among the leaders.

Not that long afterwards, with only some hillclimbs, and one race, in between in which to hone her skills, Dorothy raced at Le Mans for the first time. She shared George Eyston’s MG PB with Enid Riddell, and they were 16th overall, a respectable finish for a debutante, and notwithstanding a problem with the fuel filler cap, which was solved by Dorothy, using an orange as a plug. She used her powers of persuasion, and her charm, to convince the track official that this was not in contravention of any rules.

She was lucky to get to the start at Le Mans at all, as the previous week, she suffered an eye injury during the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park, driving her own MG. A stone from the track flew up and hit her in the eye. After receiving first aid and an eye patch, she attempted to rejoin the race, but was wisely prevented from doing so.

As well as high-speed action, Dorothy also tried rallying. She drove her MG in the RAC Rally early in the year, with Kathleen Taylor as her navigator. She also travelled to France for the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally.

Her racing season in 1938 was curtailed by a bout of diphtheria, which she fortunately survived without ongoing problems. Her MG PB, which had been accepted for Le Mans, was driven by Charles Dobson and Elsie Wisdom, who did not finish.

Before her unfortunate illness, which occurred on the way to Le Mans itself, Dorothy’s performances at Brooklands were really improving. She scored her first outright win in the Second Easter Road Handicap, driving her new Q-Type MG. Even diphtheria could not keep her out of action for long, and she was back in the driving seat at Brooklands in August, finishing third in the First August Road Handicap. This, along with her attempts at one-eyed driving at Donington, was typical of her determination and spirit, which were often praised in contemporary accounts. Her strong personality, with a tendency towards cheekiness and humour, and a crafty willingness to play dumb in order to get the advice or physical help she needed, really seems to have endeared to the likes of SCH Davis, who writes very fondly of her in Atalanta.

Earlier in the year, she raced in Ireland, taking part in one of the support races for the Cork Grand Prix in her MG. Few of the Brooklands “set”, particularly the ladies, ventured over there, although Fay Taylour (an Irishwoman herself) had some success there.

In 1939, she entered the RAC Rally in an Alvis, and took the Shelsley Walsh Ladies' record in an Alta. Her first appearance at Brooklands was for the JCC Members’ Day, in her MG, in March. At the August meeting, she unwittingly became the last lady driver to win a Brooklands race, when she took the First August Mountain Handicap, again in the Q-Type.

When the war broke out, Dorothy followed the tradition of her family and enlisted in the WAAF. She rose through the officer ranks, initially in a barrage balloon unit, then later as a Flying Officer. She stayed in the Forces after the war ended, only returning to civilian life in 1959. 

After the war, she competed a little in hillclimbs, under the name Dryden, having married Peter Dryden in 1946. Her car was an Alta. In the 1950s, she took up rallying again, driving an Alvis in the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally. Opportunities for motor racing had decreased due to the war, and those of the Brooklands ladies who returned to motorsport, gravitated towards rallies.

She died in 1995, aged 78.

(Image from http://motorsporthistory.ru/)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Spanish Women's Rally Championship


"Marisol", a competitor in the 1971 Costa del Sol Rally, driving a Fiat 124

In the early 1970s, the famous Paris-St.Raphaël women’s rally, in France, was in decline. Over the border in Spain, it was a very different story. The Spanish rally scene of the time had not just one women-only event, but a whole series of them, and a championship was awarded every year, from 1971 to 1975.

Women-only rallies had an even longer history in Spain: the Rallye Femenino San Isidro, later known as the SIASA Rally, began in 1967, and the Rallye Femina, based around Barcelona, ran from at least 1962.

The first ladies’ championship appears to have been held in 1969, but it only covered Catalonia. Nuria Viñas was the winner.

A full programme of five “rallyes femeninos” ran in 1970, but these were stand-alone events, with no championship awarded.

Winners
1971 Milagros Ortega/Yolanda Maruri (Renault R8 TS)
1972 Nuria Viñas/Maria Angeles Pujol (BMW 2002 Ti)
1973 Nuria Viñas/Ana Maria Garreta (BMW 2002 Ti)
1974 “Yolanda”/M. Robledo (Mini Cooper)
1975 Marisol Rodriguez Mesa/Maria Teresa Rodriguez Mesa (SEAT 124)

Numbers of entries for each rally varied, with 40 drivers finishing the 1971 Rallye Femenino Saibil, but between twelve and twenty was a more usual figure. The championship itself had 49 entrants in 1972, and entries remained quite high until 1975.

The rallies themselves varied somewhat in format, but were generally shorter than the mixed rallies of the time; normally less than 200km. Most included a regularity section, a slalom and one or more special stages.

A women’s championship continued to be awarded in Spain until 1978, but after 1975, the women-only events were discontinued. The trophy was awarded to the highest-placed female driver in the main Spanish championship. Regional womens’ championships continued to exist until 1980, but were much smaller than before.

Winners
1976 Maria José Ruedas/Ana Fuster (Opel Kadett)
1977 Nuria Llopis/Marta Llopis (Simca Rallye II)
1978 Paloma Landete/? (Chrysler Avenger)

The championship has been revived in recent years, and is now awarded to the highest-performing female driver in the Spanish championship.

For profiles of some of the drivers involved, please click here

(Image taken from http://www.forocoches.com)

Thursday, 7 May 2015