Sunday, 26 July 2015

Female Drivers in Truck Racing

Minna Kuoppala in 1995

Women drivers have enjoyed some success in truck racing, both in Europe, especially France, and in the Brazilian Formula Truck series. Heather Baillie, Divina Galica, Ellen Lohr and Stephanie Halm have all also competed in truck racing, in Europe.

Marcia Arcade – Brazilian driver who was the first woman to race in Formula Truck, in 1998. Her truck was a Scania, and she was not initially among the front-runners. She contested six races in 1998 and 1999. In 2001, she entered three more races, in a Ford truck, but again, did not challenge for wins. She was nicknamed “Furaçao”, or “Hurricane”.

Reinhilde Braun – German driver who raced in the European championships in the mid-1990s. Her first major season was 1994, and she was fifth in the Truck class. In 1995, driving a Mercedes, she finished eighth in the championship. In 1996, she ran her own racing team, with Sisu trucks and Minna Kuoppala as driver, with some success. Further details about Reinhilde’s career are proving hard to find. She may have also been involved in the haulage trade.

Jennifer Janiec – French driver who raced trucks in Europe between 2009 and 2011. In 2009 and 2010, she finished tenth in the French truck racing championship. In 2011, she took part in the European championship round at the Nürburgring, in a MAN. Her best finish was 16th. Her first European outing was one of her first major truck races, in 2008. She was 17th overall at Barcelona. In 2012, she was down as a reserve driver for the Le Mans truck race, but it is unclear whether she got to drive. She had raced at the event the year before. Previously, she raced single-seaters and small sportscars in France, including four seasons of Formula Renault, from 2007. After a long time out of the driving seat, she returned to the French and European championships in 2019, driving a Man. She raced at Paul Ricard in the French series and the Nurburgring in the European. She is from a family of truck racers, and her brother, Jean-Pierre, remains active in the sport.

Minna Kuoppala – Finnish driver active in truck racing in the 1990s. She raced in the European championships between 1994 and 1998. Her first season gave her eighth in the SuperTruck class. In 1995, she was ninth in the Super-Truck class. In 1996, she drove for Reinhilde Braun’s Mercedes team, finishing sixth in the Truck class.  After a lull in competition, she was seventh in the Truck class in 1998. In 1993, she had won her class in the British championship, and was fourth in class B in the European series. Her trucks were usually Finnish-built Sisus. Earlier in her career, she raced single-seaters in Finland. In 1989, she was fifth in the Finnish Formula Ford 1600 championship. Even earlier, she competed in karting, against Mika Häkkinen and Taru Rinne.

Laurine Orsini – races trucks in France. 2015 was her debut season, driving for her family’s team (both her father and brother are ex-truck racers). Her truck is a Mercedes Axor. Coming into the French championship with no prior motorsport experience, she was not one of the front-runners, and finished in 16th place, with four points. Previously, she competed in eventing on her horse. She did another season in the French championship in 2016, in the same truck. Her final position was fourteenth, having scored points in two of her three races. 

Aline Rambeau – French driver who raced trucks in the 2000s. In 2005, she took part in the European championship, in the Supertruck class, driving a MAN race truck. She was relatively competitive, and a regular visitor to the top ten. The best moment of her season was a win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Camions. Her final championship position is not currently forthcoming. Her first season of truck racing seems to have been in 2002, when she also raced a MAN in the Coupe de France, and was third in the championship. As well as racing trucks on circuits, she also took part in rally raids, in the Truck class. She entered the 2004 Dakar in a Mercedes, and also did some other cross-country rallies. Her co-driver was Jo Adua.  

Débora Rodrigues - truck racer from Brazil. She has been competing in Formula Truck since 1998, and in recent years, has driven in rounds of  the Brazilian and South American championships. So far, she is the only woman to do so. Her best championship finish has been sixth, in 2006. She was tenth in the 2011 South American series. In recent years, her best race finish has been fifth, at Cascavel in 2012. In 2013, she managed another tenth in the South American championship, after running in both the Brazilian and SudAm series. Her race truck is always a Volkswagen. Away from truck racing, she is a TV presenter and former model. She also branched out into cars in 2013, entering two rounds of the Mitsubishi Lancer Cup. She returned to trucks in 2014, in a MAN, and raced in both championships. Her best finish in Formula Truck was a seventh place, in Buenos Aires. She was 16th in the championship. In 2015, she was twelfth in Formula Truck, driving a MAN. She mostly finished in the lower half of the top ten. This improved to ninth in 2016, with a best finish of fourth, at Campo Grande. She had a dramatic crash during her 2016 season and does not appear to have raced in 2017. In 2018 she raced in Copa Truck, finishing twelfth. She was third in the 2019 championship after picking up three third places. 

Lenka Vlachova – Czech driver who did a season of European truck racing in 2000. Her truck was a Sisu, run by Martin Koloc’s team. Although she was not one of the front-runners in the championship, she managed to score a few points, and was fourteenth in the final standings. Lenka may have done some truck racing in the Czech Republic previously, but further information is proving hard to track down.

(Image from

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Women Drivers in the BTCC

Fiona Leggate as an MG driver, in 2007

The British Touring Car Championship’s present format began in 1987, as a renamed, streamlined version of the British Saloon Racing Championship. Although the previous championship (which will be covered in a future post) had attracted many female drivers over the years, the BTCC has been male-only for several seasons. The last female driver was Fiona Leggate, in 2007.

Below are the championship results of all female drivers in the BTCC.

Barbara Cowell (Ford Escort RS1600/Toyota Corolla) – 19th

Louise Aitken-Walker (Vauxhall Astra GTE 16V) – 5th
Nettan Lindgren (BMW M3) – 26th
Barbara Cowell (Toyota Corolla) – unplaced

Nettan Lindgren (BMW M3) – 10th

Nettan Lindgren (BMW M3) – 22nd

Paula Cook (Honda Accord) – unplaced

Paula Cook (Honda Accord) – 19th

2001 (Production Class)
Annie Templeton (Peugeot 306 GTi) – 19th
Joanna Clarke (Honda Integra Type R) – 26th

2002 (Production Class)
Annie Templeton (Peugeot 306 GTi) – 13th

Fiona Leggate (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) – 16th

Fiona Leggate (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) – 21st

Fiona Leggate (MG ZS) – unplaced

(Image copyright Simon Murphy)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Female Drivers at the Bathurst 12 Hours: the results

Rahel Frey in the Audi pits in 2014

Despite its relatively short history, the Bathurst 12 Hours is one of Australia’s biggest motorsport events. It began in 1991 as an endurance race for touring cars, in the spirit of the original Bathurst 1000 races, which had, by then, become far more specialised. The race has had several incarnations, with different rules and classes. One year, 1995, it moved to Eastern Creek Raceway. In 2002, it was relaunched, after a hiatus, as a 24-hour race, but this proved unpopular, and it returned in its original format in 2007. Since then, it has incorporated classes for production saloons, touring cars and GT and sportscars.

Female drivers have been involved in the race almost from the start, and have scored several top-ten finishes. Some of Australia’s most accomplished women drivers have done well. In recent years, female participation has declined, but this may reverse in due course.
Here are the results of all female drivers in the Bathurst 12 Hours. As ever, in the case of a mixed team, the woman’s name comes first, for clarity. For profiles of some of the drivers involved, please click here.

Melinda Price/Tracey Taylor/Michelle Callaghan (Nissan Pulsar SSS) – 17th
Jane Taylor/Alf Grant/Peter Brierley (Holden VN Commodore S) – DNF

Jane Taylor/Chris Wiles/Chris Clearihan (Citroen BX16) – DNF

Michelle Callaghan/Brian Callaghan/Chris Symmonds (Toyota Corolla GTi) – 23rd
Heather Baillie/Gwenda Searle (Toyota Celica ZR) – DNF

1995 (Eastern Creek 12 Hour)
Liz Hurst/Greg Hurst/Andrew Leithead (Subaru Impreza WRX) – 6th

2002 (Bathurst 24 Hours)
Melinda Price/Herman Tilke/Peter Hansen (Honda S2000) – 14th
Debbie Chapman/Dennis Chapman/Scott O’Donnell/Lindsay O’Donnell (BMW 318i) – DNF

2003 (Bathurst 24 Hours)
Heather Spurle/Martin Short/Patrick Pearce/Charles Lamb (Mosler MT900R) – 5th
Liz Halliday/Andrew Donaldson/Ian Donaldson/Peter Floyd (Porsche 996 GT3-RS) – 7th
Melinda Price/Hermann Tilke/Tim Harvey/Jonathon Rowland (Porsche 996 GT3-RS) – DNF

Amber Anderson/Danielle Argiro/Helen Stig (Toyota Celica SX) – 21st
Leanne Tander/Lauren Gray/Christina Orr/Samantha Reid (Holden Astra CDTi Turbo) – DNF

Leanne Tander/Lee Burges/Terry Conroy (Honda Integra Type S) – 13th
Lauren Gray/Rob Thomson/John de Veth (BMW 130i) – 26th
Christina Orr/Heather Spurle/Molly Taylor (Subaru Impreza) – 27th

Leanne Tander/Terry Conroy/Gerry Burgess (Honda Integra Type S) – 13th
Lauren Gray/Michael Gray/Tony Head (Toyota Corolla Sportivo) – 19th

Sarah Harley/Robert Thomson/Christian Klien (Lotus Exige) – 9th

Rahel Frey/René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS Ultra) – 5th

Leanne Tander/Nick Rowe/Gerard McLeod/Tim Leahey (MARC Mazda 3) - 30th

Caitlin Wood/Justin McMillan/David Crampton/Tim Macrow (KTM X-Bow) - DNF

Christina Nielsen/Yelmer Buurman/Mark Griffith (Mercedes-AMG GT3) - 13th
Caitlin Wood/Tim Macrow/Trent Harrison/David Crampton (KTM X-Bow GT4) - DNF

(Image from

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Heather Baillie (McAlpine)

Heather is a Scottish racer, active in the 1980s and 1990s. She was a race winner in different driving disciplines, and enjoyed modest success on the track.

Her career began in earnest when she won a season’s Kit Car racing in a driving competition, having been entered by her father. This was in 1984, when she was 19, and followed some sprinting and hillclimbing in a Formula Ford. Her Kit Car season, in 1985, resulted in a class second overall.

In 1987, she went back to single-seaters, and raced in Formula First, the entry-level formula of the time. The 1987 season was not the easiest, with a crash putting her out of the first round at Brands Hatch. However, her second year as a Formula First driver saw her make progress, with a best finish of fifth, and tenth in the championship. Her time in this series was marred by a pitlane accident involving another Formula First car, at Brands Hatch. The car was driven by a novice, whom Heather was actually instructing at the time. She broke both of her legs and had to take time out from racing.

In 1989, she had another go at single-seaters, in Formula Forward. This resulted in another best finish of fifth, and eighth in the championship.

During this time, she was also racing a Suzuki Swift in saloon races, including the Willhire 24 Hours, held at Snetterton, in 1988 and 1989. She won her class in 1988.

She was a race-winner in the Ford Fiesta championship of 1990, finishing third in the points. Her win came at Oulton Park. The same year, she mastered small saloons as well as much bigger machinery, winning a British truck racing championship. Her British truck record included three wins and three seconds, from six races. She raced in some European Truck championship rounds, too, and was fourth in one race at Paul Ricard.

1991 was again focused around saloons, and she raced a Ford Sierra Cosworth in the Production Saloon championship. Although she could not quite repeat her heroics of the previous year, she had a best finish of second, and was sixth overall in the championship.

In a surprise switch back to single-seater racing, she contested eight rounds of the Japanese F3 championship, in 1992. She was part of the She’s Racing team. This was not an easy season for Heather, who did not manage to score any points.

1993’s activities are not completely clear, but it seems that she did some more truck racing, in the British Chamionship. It is clear from pictures that she also took part in one European championship round, at Le Castellet, driving a Chris Hodge TRD. The results are not forthcoming.

Back in the Asia-Pacific area in 1994, she raced a Toyota Celica with Gwenda Searle, at the James Hardie 12 Hour race in Australia. They did not finish.

Heather’s last significant motorsport activity was winning two AC Cobra races in the UK in 1995, racing as Heather McAlpine, following her marriage.  The same year, she was one of the instructors for the Daewoo Lady Driver competition.

Although she claimed in 2002 that she had not retired, she has not been seen competitively on the circuits since then. She has, however, been on them; in 1996, she started an all-female track day team, driving a SEAT Ibiza. Among her “fellow” drivers was Barbara Armstrong.

(Image copyright Rexscanpics)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Donna Mae Mims

"Think Pink"

Donna Mae Mims made history when she won the US National H-Production Championship in 1963, driving an Austin-Healey Sprite.

Her racing career began in 1960, with a few outings in SCCA Regional races, in a Chevrolet Corvette. That year, she was third in a Ladies’ race at Dunkirk. The car belonged to her husband, Helledger, who was involved in motorsport, although not a driver himself. She worked for the Yenko Chevrolet company, first as a secretary, then in the racing department, giving her considerable access to the automotive world. Later, she would race Yenko-modified cars.

The following season, Donna took to the tracks again in her own Corvette. She won her first race, a Ladies’ event at Cumberland, and also took part in her first SCCA National races. She was sixth in the Glen Trophy, at Watkins Glen.

She drove BMC cars for the next couple of seasons. 1962 was her first season in the Sprite, although it was rather an unremarkable year, with several DNFs. However, by 1963, she had got the car running to her liking, and was very competitive, with one win at Meadowdale, and three second places in SCCA National races. This was enough to earn her the H-Production Championship, the first time a full SCCA championship had been won by a woman. Her image on-track had always been very feminine: pink car, pink racing overalls and helmet, “Think Pink” emblazoned on her car, wig in her kit bag in case she needed to accept any trophies with “helmet hair”. After her win, she was seen less as a novelty act and taken more seriously.

With her championship win under her belt, she did her first major sportscar race, at the start of the 1964 season. Sharing a works Sprite with Al Pease, she entered the Sebring 12 Hours, but did not finish, due to a rear axle failure. The rest of the year was spent racing an MGB, which seems to have been a somewhat troublesome car. Donna managed one second place in an SCCA Regional race at Mid-America.

Donna preferred British cars during the early part of her career. True to form, she spent most of 1965 racing a Triumph TR3. In this car, she won another SCCA Regional race, at Nelson Ledges.

In 1966, she moved away from small British sportscars, and her racing career took a big step forward. She started the year with her first Daytona 24 Hours, driving a Sunbeam Alpine for an all-female Autosport team, comprising Donna, Janet Guthrie and Suzy Dietrich. They got the end, in 32nd place. For the Sebring 12 Hours, she drove a Yenko Stinger for the Ring-Free Oil team, with John Luke. They did not finish. Later in the year, driving solo, Donna raced an unmodified Chevrolet Corvair. She did not qualify for the Mid-America Trans-Am race, but finished the Marlboro 12 Hours in 26th, with Spurgeon May.

Donna and Suzy Dietrich teamed up again for the big early-season sportscar races in 1967. They drove an ASA 411, initially for the Baker Racing team, finishing the Daytona 24 Hours, but missing classification.  For Sebring, they were running under the banner of the “Ring-Free Motor Maids”, driving the 411 to 25th place, just behind their team-mates, Janet Guthrie and Liane Engeman. For the rest of the season, Donna raced a Yenko Stinger in SCCA competition, at National level.

1968 was a quieter year. She was not part of the “Motor Maids” roster this time, and raced a familiar Stinger at Daytona, with Michael Summers. They were not classified.
For the 1969 Sebring race, she was back in the Ring-Free team. Sharing a Sprite with Janet Guthrie and Liane Engeman, she was 23rd, sixth in class.

The Ring-Free women’s team was shelved in 1970. Donna joined up with Flem-Cor Enterprises, alongside Jim Corwin. They drove a Chevrolet Camaro at Daytona, assisted by Fred Pipen, but did not finish. Racing as a duo, Donna and Jim were 21st at Sebring.

After that, she raced only occasionally, in the bigger sportscar races, and always in a Chevrolet. Her last attempt at the Daytona 24 Hours came in 1971, driving a Chevrolet Vega for the Yenko team. She and her team-mates did not qualify. In 1973 and 1974, she shared a Camaro with Jim Corwin in some IMSA GT races, before retiring from the track.

Away from circuit racing, she also participated in the 1972 Cannonball Run, driving a Cadillac with timekeeping ace, Judy Stropus, and Peggy Niemcek. They were sponsored by “The Right Bra”, and promoted their sponsor’s product by wearing tight outfits, in an attempt to charm any irate traffic cops. They did not finish, after the car was destroyed while stationary.

The “Pink Lady” remained involved in motorsport as an official, and was regularly sighted at meetings, in her familiar pink outfits. She died in 2009, after suffering from a stroke, at the age of 82.

(Image from

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Andrina Gugger

Andrina with her SEAT Leon, 2015

Andrina is a former karter from Switzerland, who has raced cars since 2008. Initially, she raced single-seaters, but she has since branched out and become a very versatile driver.

Her first two seasons were spent in Formula Lista Junior in Europe, first driving for Jo Zeller Racing, then for her family Gugger Racing team. She was fourth in 2008 and seventh in 2009, scoring one win in each season. In 2008, this came at the end of the year, at Monza, and followed a third place. In 2009, she won the first race of the season, at Dijon.

In 2010, she moved up to Formula Masters in Germany, driving for Mücke Motorsport. She could only manage fifteenth in the championship, but had a best finish of fifth at Oschersleben, again, in the firstrace of the season. By the end of the year, she had achieved five other top-ten finishes, but several DNFs dropped her down the rankings. During the off-season, she tested a GP3 car, becoming the first female driver to do so, but this did not lead to a race seat.

In 2011, she switched to sportscars, mainly driving a Maserati MC GranTurismo. She was eighth in the Maserati Trofeo Europe, after one podium finish, a third place at Spa. Her programme included six races in the earlier part of the season.

She also drove a Maserati in some Blancpain Endurance Series GT4 races, scoring a second at Magny-Cours and a third at Monza. Although she was scheduled to race at Navarra, she did not make the start. She shared the car with Devis Schwägli, another Swiss driver.

 As well as this, she raced in two rounds of the ADAC GT Masters, at the Red Bull Ring, in a Calloway Corvette. This car brought her less success than the Maserati; she could only manage a 30th and 31st place.

In 2012, she drove a Porsche 911 GT3 in the GT Masters, with Otto Klohs. Their best finish was 19th, at Zandvoort. Andrina had a 100% finishing record, but was not among the leading drivers in her class.

At the start of the season, she was thirteenth in the Dubai 24 Hours, driving a Porsche 997 for the same Auto Fach team. She was driving as part of a team of five.  

In 2013, she raced around Europe, including the Lotus Ladies' Cup. She took part in two races at the Slovakiaring, finishing third in one. This was not her only Ladies' Cup: she was awarded the ETCC Ladies' Cup also, finishing sixth in the S2000 class. Her best results were two fourth places, again at the Slovakiaring, and she was driving a Honda Civic.

2014 was very similar for her, with an eighth place in the ETCC, in the Civic. She managed one fourth place, at Spa, and two fifths, at Spa and Paul Ricard. Some non-finishes dropped her down the rankings somewhat, but she held on to the Ladies’ title. She did four rounds of the FIA Lotus Ladies' Cup, at the Oschersleben and Slovakiaring meetings. These gave her four fourths and one fifth place. She was also eighth overall in this championship.

In 2015, Andrina changed her racing direction again, and registered for the SEAT Leon Eurocup. She finished in 21st place, after a rather difficult season. Her best finish was seventh, at Estoril, although she has struggled at other circuits, apart from the Nürburgring, where she was ninth. She was one of five female drivers taking part in the Eurocup this year, and finished second in the Ladies’ standings.

(Image from

Friday, 3 July 2015

Women in One-Make Series: South America

One-make racing series are popular in South America. Due in part to initiatives such as Formula Hyundai Femenina (Argentina) and the Brazilian Fiesta Championship, quite a lot of women have competed in them in the last 20 years. Marisa Panagopulo now has her own post. 

Lorena Blanco – best known for racing in Fiat one-make championships in Argentina. She started off in the Fiat Linea Cup in 2010, entering the last few rounds, following some previous historic racing. She had another part-season in 2011, and made it into the top twenty on four occasions. The Linea series crossed over to using the Punto Abarth in 2012, and she improved her best finish to fifteenth. That year, she was the team-mate of a returning Marisa Panagopulo. A full season in the Punto in 2013 gave her two fifteenth places, and 24th overall. A final part-season in the Punto, in 2014, saw her finish fourteenth, three times, and end up in 32nd place overall. In 2015, she did another part-season in the Punto series, and was 31st in the championship. Her best finish was 17th, at La Pampa. This arrangement continued in 2016, and her best finish improved to fourteenth, at Trelew. She was 36th overall. 

Carolina Canepa - Uruguayan driver who races in saloons and trucks. She started out in 2013 in the Chevrolet Sonic Cup in Uruguay, a one-make series. She was eleventh in her first season, with a best finish of sixth. A women-only version of the championship ran in 2014, and Carolina was third, behind Carolina Larratea who finished one place above her in the 2013 series. She went back to the main Sonic Cup draw in 2015, and won her first race, at Rivera, towards the end of the season. She was sixth overall. Her 2016 Sonic Cup season was similar, with one win and a sixth spot on the leaderboard. This was her last season in the championship before transferring to Formula Truck in 2017. She was part of the “Woman’s Racing Team” with Maria Cristina Rosito. Her truck was a Volvo, and she steadily improved over the season, with two sixth places at Londrina her best results. She was sixth in the championship. After a year off, she raced a Chevrolet Sonic again in 2019, in Class 2 of the Uruguayan touring car championship.

Juliana Carreira - began racing in 1998, in a Vauxhall Corsa, participating in regional one-make races. She was involved in the women’s Corsa championship in 1999, and the later Fiesta version in 2001. In 1999, she also took part in four Corsa Metrocar (a mixed Corsa one-make series) races, finishing in the top five in three of them. She also raced in a Clio Cup in Brazil at some point. She is from a racing family, and drove in the 2003 Mil Milhas Brasileira with her brother, Luiz, and Denis de Freitas and Jose Venezian. They were 15th, in an Audi RS2G. Later, she also did some Stock Car racing, in 2006. She works in fashion and the media in Brazil. 

Maria José Castro - races in the Toyota Yaris Cup in Costa Rica, where she is from. Unusually, she races alongside her father, Marco, who shares her car. At the time of writing, she has not yet got into the points, although she only has half of the chances of most other drivers, due to her car-sharing. The Yaris Cup is her first experience of racing in cars, although she has done some karting in the past.

Francisca Cortés – raced in the Chilean Trofeo Nissan Sunny in 1990. She was the first female driver to take part in the series, and one of Chile’s first female racing drivers. Although she never managed a podium position, she did achieve some top-ten finishes, and one pole position, at Antofagasta. This was overshadowed by the death of another driver during the race itself. The final championship standings for this series are not forthcoming. Francisca does not appear to have raced since then.

Carolina Eiras – did two seasons in the Fiat Linea Cup in Argentina, in 2010 and 2011. Her 2010 season is chiefly remembered for a spectacular crash into a lake at the Resistencia circuit, after which she was helped to safety by spectators. Her best finish was thirteenth, at Alta Gracia. In 2011, she did not complete as many races, managing three 19th places out of four starts. She is a former Olympic skier.

Julieta (Juli) Fernández - one of the front-runners in the Argentine Mini Challenge in 2013. She was third overall, just missing out on an actual win, but with two podium finishes and two podium positions. She did manage to win some at least one training race. This was her first experience of saloon car racing, although she did do some GT racing in 2009, aged 18. She drove a new Crespi prototype in the GT 2000 series for Oyikil Motorsport, although she did not finish her race. In 2010, she was linked to a drive in Formula 4, but she did not have the budget to compete. Previously, she was active in karting in Argentina for many years, and may have also competed in Formula 1100 briefly. In 2015, she took part in the Top Race championship, driving a Chevrolet Cruze. She almost reached the top ten a couple of times, finishing eleventh at Rosario and Olivarria. She was 25th overall. In 2017, she made a guest appearance in the Argentine Turismo Pista series, driving a Fiat Uno. She entered the Buenos Aires round but did not finish. 

Sabrina Formal - Costa Rican driver who races in the Toyota Yaris Cup in her home country. In May, her best finish was ninth overall. At 20, 2017 was her first experience of senior motorsport, although she did do some national-level karting when she was much younger. Her brother is also a racing driver.

Michelle de Jesus - Brazilian driver who has been competing since 2006. She started out in her regional championship in São Paulo. By 2010, she was second overall in the championship, a best-ever finish for a female driver. The following year, she moved into national-level competition, driving in a few rounds of the Brazilian Petrobras de Marcas Cup (in a Toyota Corolla) and the Mercedes Benz Grand Challenge (in a C250 CGI). As she only did a couple of races, she did not do enough to make her mark on the final standings. She returned to the Grand Challenge in 2012, this time mounting a full campaign. Her car was the same, run by the Pink Energy team. She was ninth overall, with a best finish of fifth , at Rio de Janeiro. For 2013, she changed marques, moving to the Mitsubishi Lancer Cup. She achieved her first podium, at third at Velo Città, on her way to another ninth overall finish. Early in the season, she also made her first trip to Europe, to participate in one round of the Euro Racecar series, at Dijon. She was thirteenth, in a Chevrolet Camaro. In 2014, she stayed in South America, competing in truck racing, and the Marcas e Pilotos Cup. Her car in the Cup was a Corsa, and she does not appear to have completed a full season. She was 25th in Formula Truck, after a part-season, and had a best result of eighth, at Brasilia. In 2015, she was registered for Formula Truck, but does not appear to have actually raced. 

Carolina Larratea – Uruguayan driver from a motorsport family, who has been racing in the Chevrolet Sonic Cup since 2013. She was tenth in 2013, with a best finish of second, at El Pinar. In 2014, she scored her first outright win in the Cup, in the last round. This race was doubly notable in that two female drivers started on pole and second place. Carolina won the Sonic Ladies’ Cup. She continued to race a Chevrolet Sonic in 2015. Her season began very well, with a pair of wins at El Pinar, and she was second in the championship. She made the podium again in 2016, in third place. In 2019, she made a triumphant return to the circuits and won the Auvo-class Super Sonic championship, another one-make Sonic series. She won five races. 

Graziela (Zizi) Paioli - Brazilian driver who has raced in two different one-make championships. In 2007 and 2008, she had part-seasons in the Brazilian Clio Cup. In 2008, she finished tenth at Santa Cruz, her first Clio Cup top ten, and was 21st in the championship. After some time out, she returned to competition in 2011, in the Mercedes Benz Grand Challenge. Her car was a C250 run by her family team, Paioli Racing, as always. Her best finish was fourth, at Santa Cruz, and she also finished in the top ten on five more occasions. She was eleventh overall. Her father, Marco Paioli, is also a racer, who runs the team with Graziela’s mother. Graziela herself became a mother in early 2013, explaining her absence from the track. 

Paola Traverso - seems to have begun racing in 1996, in Formula Hyundai Femenina. She was one of the leading drivers, and won races. In 1997, she was a race-winner again in the Copa Damas, an all-female one-make series which used the Vauxhall Corsa. She may also have raced in a mixed Corsa one-make series, and won races there. She competed in all three seasons of the Copa Damas, and was a front-runner in all three.

(Image from