Monday, 7 December 2015

Female Drivers in the Carrera Panamericana

Jacqueline Evans in her "Eva Peron" Porsche, 1953

The Carrera Panamericana was a road race, organised by Enrique Martin Moreno, of Mexico. Its inaugural running followed the opening of the Mexican section of the Pan-American Highway. The route initially ran from Ciudad Juárez, via Texas, to Chiapas, on the Guatemalan border, and consisted of nine stages. Later editions ran in the opposite direction. The first race, in 1950, was a single-class affair for sports and saloon cars, but from 1952, a class system was implemented.

The first Carrera attracted a mix of seasoned US, Mexican and South American racing professionals, European circuit racers, rally drivers and amateur thrill-seekers. At least seven women drivers entered, some of whom fell into the latter category. Marie Brookreson was an ageing adventuress who entered in her own Lincoln, which was mostly driven by Ross Barton, a pilot in his seventies whom she had met when he crash-landed on her estate.  Mrs Lammons’ Buick was sponsored by Hi-A Brassieres.

The race gradually became more and more professionalised, and female participation dropped sharply after the first event. Jacqueline Evans, a British-Mexican actress and racer, was the only female driver to compete in all five Carreras. In 1953, she drove a Porsche 356 running in memory of Eva Peron.

From its beginning, the Carrera was an extremely dangerous race, and its cancellation was largely down to this factor. Women did not escape entirely unscathed; in 1951, Teresita Panini’s car was involved in a serious accident. Her father, Carlos Panini, a Mexican pioneer aviator who was driving at the time, was killed. Teresita was not seriously injured.
The Carrera was revived as a classic road rally in 1988.

Below is a list of all the female drivers who raced in the Carrera Panamericana. As ever, in a mixed team, the woman’s name in always given first, for clarity. Names in italics are assumed to be female drivers, although this has not been verified.

Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Windsor) – 45th
Lucille Acevedo/Andrea Gonzáles (Buick) – 47th
Marie Boone/Arthur Daniel Boone (Buick) – disqualified
Merryl Bedford/Mrs H.R. Lammons (Buick) – DNF
“Mrs. Warren”/E.P. Warren (Buick) – DNF
Marie Brookreson/Ross Barton (Lincoln Cosmopolitan) –  DNF
Margie Allen/Buster Anthony Hemesbedy (Mercury) – DNF

Teresita Panini/Carlos Panini (Alfa Romeo 6C) – DNF
Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Saratoga) – DNF

Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Saratoga) – 37th

Jacqueline Evans (Porsche 356) – DNF

Asención Morales/Olegario Perez Pligo (Ford) – DNF
Jacqueline Evans de Lopez (Porsche 356) – DNF

(Image from

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