Thursday, 13 October 2016

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Canada


Ashley Taws

Female drivers have been a feature of the Canadian single-seater scene since the 1970s. Formula Ford has been particularly popular.

Amy Castell – began racing Formula Ford 1600 in Canada in 2012, at the age of sixteen. She was the youngest driver on the grid, and she was instantly competitive, despite driving a 40-year-old Zink Z10 car. Her best finish of the season was third, at Calabogie Motorsports Park. Later that season, she had a big accident and had to take some time off, but she came back in 2013, about half-way through the season. Since then, she has raced a 1990 Reynard SF90. In 2014, she won her first race, at Honda Indy, and was third in the Toyo Tires FF1600 championship. In 2015, she competed in the B Class of the Canadian F1600 Championship Series. She managed four podium finishes – one second and three third – and was third in the championship.

Molly Elliott – Canadian driver who raced single-seaters in her home country in 1986. She competed in both Formula Ford and Formula Vee. Formula Ford 2000 was her most successful series, and she was ninth in the Canadian championship. Molly’s later activities are not well-documented, but she was still racing in Formula Ford in Canada in 1991. She was 20th in the championship, with a best finish of eighth, at Mosport. 

Caitlin Johnston – races in Formula Ford 1600 in Canada. Her first season was in 2007, after she won a senior karting championship.Her best year has probably been 2010, when she was third outright in the Formula Ford Ontario Championship, with two runner-up spots at Mosport as her best finishes. That year, she also competed in three rounds of the NASCAR Canadian Tyre Series. Periodically, she has raced in the US as well as Canada, and has tried 2000cc Formula Ford as well as 1600. After a couple of quieter years, she was fourth in the 2014 F1600 championship, earning one podium position and a start from pole. She has been much less active since then.

Louise Roberge - Canadian racer of the late 1960s and early 1970s. She was a contemporary and rival of Monique Proulx. She began racing in a Mini Cooper S, in 1968, and was fifth in her first race. In 1970, she started in Formula Vee. Her first single-seater car was a Lotus 61, which was replaced by a Lotus 69 later in the season. In 1971, driving the 69 in Canadian Formula B, she was sixth at Mont Tremblant. She may also have owned or raced a Lotus 51, although further race results have proved very hard to track down.

Patricia Smith raced in Formula B in Canada for a part-season in 1973. Her car was a Ford-engined March. She was a rival of Linda Wilson. That year, she was 23rd in the championship. She scored at least one finish, a seventeenth place at the Sanair circuit in Quebec. Patricia was from Montreal herself, and was sponsored by PS Transport, which looks to have been a family firm.

Carol Soucy - Canadian driver from Quebec, who raced in Toyota Formula Atlantic in 1997. She was 33rd overall in the championship, having entered three races. Her best finish was thirteenth, at Trois-Rivieres. She did not finish the other two races. In 2002, she did at least a part-season in Formula Ford in Canada. Prior to her Atlantic exploits, she had also raced in Formula Ford in 1996.

Ashley Taws - successful young Canadian Formula Ford driver between 2000 and 2002, recognisable for her pink, "Barbie"-sponsored car. She was a race-winner at 1200cc level and scored seconds and thirds in her one season of 1600cc competition. In only her first season, she won two races, and she was second in the championship in 2001. She moved up to the more competitive 1600cc class in 2002. Her career was almost ended by a serious road traffic accident at the end of 2002. She only returned to motorsport full-time in 2007, in a BMW, and later, a CASCAR stock car. Although she showed promise, finishing second in only her third CASCAR race, she did not take to oval racing and quit in 2009. She is now pursuing a business career.

Linda Wilson – Canadian driver who raced in single-seaters in the 1970s. She took part in Formula B in 1972 and 1973, driving for the Fergusson-Wilson team. Her car was a Chevron B20. She scored at least one fifteenth place at the Sanair circuit in 1973, one of six races in Formula B that she did that year. She was seventeenth in the championship.

(Image from http://www.motorsport.com/)

1 comment:

  1. In regard to Amy Castell, it must be very unusual to see such an ancient car (Zink Z10) being competitive with more modern machinery - it must have been a very well-engineered design.

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