Sunday, 10 December 2017

Jessica Hawkins

Jessica (centre) on the winner's podium in 2017

Jessica Hawkins was second in the John Cooper Mini Challenge in 2017. She was a multiple race-winner in her first really successful season, finally displaying the talent she showed in a kart.

As a junior, she won several karting championships, and featured strongly in some major ones.

In the face of a series of difficult sponsorship situations, she got onto the grid for the 2014 Renault Clio Cup. This was in part thanks to winning a testing shootout organised by the BWRDC, and was helped by some further experience in the car in the 2013 Autumn Trophy. In the end, she only seems to have driven in two rounds, at Brands Hatch, but she was third and fourth. Her team-mate was Jodie Hemming, recently returned to competitive action. Jodie was acting as her driver coach too.

Later in the season, she raced in the British Formula Ford Championship, at Silverstone, scoring two tenths, and an eleventh place. She was team-mate to Michael O’Brien, a fellow youngster.

In 2015, she chose the single-seater route, and entered the MSA Formula series. This was a transitional formula between Formula Ford and Formula 4, as it would become in 2016. It was a difficult season, and she just missed out on a top-ten spot at Rockingham and Snetterton. She was 23rd overall, after competing for just over half a season. She was part of a strong field, including Lando Norris, Dan Ticktum and Enaam Ahmed.

During the winter season, she raced in the MRF Challenge in the Middle East. She managed two fifteenth places at Bahrain. These were her only two races in the championship.

Part-way through 2016, she joined Team HARD Racing for the VW Racing Cup, and was ninth and eighth at Brands Hatch, driving a Golf. She did enter the third race at Brands but did not finish. This experience put her back on her original track of saloon racing, which would pay off.

Jessica’s first race in the 2017 Mini Challenge ended in a win from pole. She followed that up with another win from the front. She aimed for a clean sweep of the Snetterton meeting, but had to settle for third in the third race. She repeated this exactly at Silverstone: two wins, two poles, then a third. She won one more race at Rockingham and earned a further six podium places from eleven races. She could have won the championship if her early momentum had lasted, but she was still a strong second in what was her first full season of competition.

Her sights are now set on a career in tin-tops and she has completed the first year of a three-year plan, which will take her into the BTCC.

This plan had a slight setback in 2018, when she did not race very much, apart from a couple of guest appearances in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup at Snetterton. She spent most of the year working as a stunt driver.

In 2019, she returned to single-seaters, applying successfully to enter the female-only W Series. She sometimes found herself mixed up in on-track accidents during the season itself and had a best finish of seventh, at Assen and Brands Hatch. She was eleventh in the championship and therefore invited back for 2020.

(Image from

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Sarah Moore

Sarah with the John Cooper Mini

Sarah Moore made history in 2009 by winning the Ginetta Junior championship outright. She was the under-17 series’s first female champion. She has since gone on to race saloons and sportscars in the UK and Europe.

She completed her first season of the Ginetta Junior series in 2008. She managed to finish in the top ten six times, with a best result of sixth. This followed a part-season in 2007, when she was fourteen. As well as full-size cars, Sarah also raced karts.

Her championship-winning season included five wins, making her the first female driver to secure victory in a TOCA-sanctioned race. She was awarded a BRDC Rising Star at the end of the year.

She returned to the series in 2010 for a final year, but did not manage another win. She was seventh overall. This year, she moved from her family’s team, Tockwith Motorsport, to Eurotech.

In 2011, after turning seventeen, she switched to single-seaters and raced in the Intersteps Formula, supported by Tockwith again. Her best finish was fourth, achieved twice at Silverstone, and she was sixth overall. Later, she described her foray into single-seaters as “difficult”.

She also did four races in the Smart 4Two championship, scoring two podium finishes. This was a new championship for the UK, based on the unlikely Brabus-prepared Smart micro-car.

She continued in the 4Two series in 2012, and scored a second at Spa and a two thirds at Snetterton. Her team-mate was her younger brother, David. They have another brother, Nigel, and all three pair up at various times.

A career hiatus followed. For a season, Sarah concentrated on her work as a driver coach, and only competed in karting. Even then, it was to help develop her student drivers.

In 2014, she was ready to race again. Alongside her brother Nigel, she travelled to Germany, to compete in the VLN, held on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. She was racing in the Toyota GT86 Cup class. They won the class twice.

The pair aimed to return to the VLN in 2015, but it was not to be. Sarah kept her hand in by racing in kart enduros. She was the European ProKart Endurance Champion, with her team-mate Matthew Greenwood.

After another year spent mostly on the sidelines, Tockwith Motorsport entered Sarah into six rounds of the LMP3 Cup. She was driving a championship-standard Nissan-engined Ligier. If she had been able to complete the season, she would have been in line for a good position: she and co-driver Richard Dean were third at Donington and second at Spa.

As well as sampling prototype racing, Sarah continued to gain experience in different saloons. She entered five rounds of the UK Mini Challenge, all at Brands Hatch. She drove in both the Cooper Pro and JCW classes. Her best finish was fourth in the JCW car, in August.

Minis were a theme during her 2017 season. The intention had been for her to run a full season of the Mighty Mini championship. This was restricted to four rounds, but she won two of them.

The other cars she raced were a Smart ForFour, which she used for some rounds of the Britcar championship, and a Ginetta G50. The latter car she used in the BWRDC’s Ladies’ Handicap in November. She was the runaway winner on scratch, lapping almost all of the field twice. However, she was given a very low handicap, and was tenth in the final results.

In 2018 she drove a Ginetta in Britcar with Matt Greenwood. They won the Endurance championship in the Tockwith Motorsport G50.

2019 will involve another season in Britcar and Sarah also tried to get back into single-seaters in the female-only W Series. Her season started well enough and she led during the first race at Hockenheim, but she could not get onto the podium and had a best finish of fifth, at Hockenheim and Zolder. She was eighth in the championship and will race again in 2020.

In mixed competition, she entered the Algarve round of the GT4 South European Series, driving a Ginetta G50 run by Tockwith. She and Moh Ritson were second in class in both races.

Her future plans are in the sportscar direction, with Le Mans a career goal.

(Image copyright Marc Waller)

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Manuela Gostner

Manuela Gostner raced in the 2017 European GT4 Championship, driving a Maserati. She is best known for driving a Ferrari. Unusually, she was almost 30 when she started competing.

She is the elder sister of Corinna Gostner, who races in the Coppa Shell Ferrari Challenge with Manuela and their father, Thomas. Their brother, David, also races. It was he who encouraged Manuela to take the wheel of his Ferrari at a test day in 2014.

She started racing only a few months later, at Brno. Her sister Corinna made her debut at the same time. Corinna finished just above Manuela in the first race, in tenth, and they swapped places for the second. Manuela returned for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. She was 20th in the championship.

In 2015, she enjoyed a bigger racing programme and contested the entire Coppa Shell Ferrari Challenge. Her car was a Ferrari 458 run by Ineco-MP Racing, who ran her in her first races. She started slowly but soon learned the car. By the third round at Mugello, she was into the top ten. In September, she broke into the top five for the first time, at Imola, and repeated this at Valencia. She was twelfth in the championship.

In 2016, she raced both with and against Corinna: in the Ferrari Challenge, she was not quite as competitive, earning two top tens, the best of these being a ninth at Monza. She finished 21st overall. She and her sister shared the Ferrari in two Italian GT Championship rounds at Mugello, and were eighth and sixth in the GT Cup class. They were racing against their brother and father in another MP Racing Ferrari.

She made a move into the European GT4 championship in 2017. Her Maserati Gran Turismo  MC was run by Villorba Corse. She was third in the Am category, just in front of her Villorba team-mates, Romy Dall’Antonia and Giuseppe Fascicola. She won her class at Brands Hatch and Zandvoort and was third at the Red Bull Ring.

The Coppa Shell had not been forgotten. Back with the Ineco-MP team, she did most of the European Ferrari Challenge, and had a best finish of sixth at Paul Ricard. She was also sixth in the World Final at Mugello.

She was third in the 2018 Ferrari Challenge, winning races at Catalunya and Monza. Monza was also the scene of her third place in the World Finals. Away from the Ferrari Challenge, she raced a 488 for Kessel Racing in some bigger races. In October, she was fourth in the GT3 class in the Michelin Le Mans Cup at the Algarve circuit, sharing with Giorgio Sernagiotto. In December, she was part of an all-female team for the Gulf 12 Hours, alongside Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey. They were second in class and sixth overall.

Her GT4 success has earned her a first FIA driver classification of Bronze. The Kessel team recruited Manuela and her Gulf 12 Hours team-mates for a campaign in the 2019 European Le Mans Series. The three women raced as the "Iron Dames" and became the first all-female team at Le Mans itself for almost ten years. They finished 38th overall and ninth in the GTE Am class, ahead of their all-male "sister" car.

In the wider ELMS series, Manuela and her team-mates had their fair share of car problems, but they still managed class second places at Silverstone and Paul Ricard, on their way to fourth in their class championship.

The Iron Dames got back together for the 2019 Gulf 12 Hours and were running in a strong fourth place when contact with a backmarker caused their retirement.

Away from the circuits, she competed internationally at both indoor and beach volleyball before having her two daughters.

(Image from

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Ashley Freiberg

Ashley (centre) on the Sebring podium

Ashley Freiberg has competed in the prestigious Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hour races. She is a racewinner in the IMSA GT Challenge series and the Continental Sportscar Challenge.

Ashley began her senior racing career in 2008, after several successful seasons in karting.
Initially, she progressed through the Skip Barber racing school ranks, and in 2009, she was the first female winner of a Skip Barber National Series event, in New Jersey.

Initially she specialised in single-seaters. She did her first Formula Star Mazda races in 2009, before winning another National Series race in a Formula Mazda, and then winning the 2010 Skip Barber Summer Series outright. She added to her win tally with another Summer Series race victory in 2011.

In 2012, she competed in Formula Star Mazda full-time, and was eleventh in the championship. Her best finish was sixth, at Baltimore.

After this, she switched to sportscar racing, and contested the 2013 IMSA GT Challenge, in a Porsche 997. In her first season, she won once at Watkins Glen, a first for a female driver, and was second twice, at the Glen and Monterey. She was ninth in the championship, after missing the last round.

In 2014, she made history again by winning the Continental Sportscar Challenge race at Daytona, supporting the 24 Hours, in a BMW M3 Coupe. Funding was an issue, but she did secure enough sponsorship to race again and took part in another four Challenge races. Her best finish was seventh, at Laguna Seca.

In 2015, she was a BMW North America Scholarship driver, and raced an M3 in the Continental Sportscar Challenge again. She won one race at Road Atlanta. This was one of three podium finishes: the others were a second at Watkins Glen and a third at Road America. Her co-driver was Trent Hindman.

In 2016, she competed in the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours for Turner Motorsport, in a BMW M6. She was second in class at Sebring, and 23rd overall. Later in the season, she drove for the team again at Road Atlanta, and was ninth in the GTD class. In between, she tried out a prototype for Starworks Motorsport and contested another three rounds of the Weathertech Sportscar Championship. The car was an LMP2 and she secured two class finishes, at Long Beach and Laguna Seca. She was a temporary team-mate to class winners, Alexander Popow and Renger van der Zande.

She stuck with sportscars for 2017 and entered the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, contesting the Pro class with DAC Motorsport. This resulted in five podium finishes from eight races, the best of these being second at Watkins Glen, her lucky track. She was third overall, just behind her earlier team-mate, Trent Hindman. She had taken a chance with her entry and was not sure how her season would go. Early on, she described her plans as “going race by race”.

In 2018, she only made one major race appearance: the Daytona 24 Hours. She raced in the IMSA Continental Tires Sportscar Challenge with Gosia Rdest, driving an Audi R8. They were 18th in their race.

She is also making a name for herself in cyclocross.

(Image from

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Female Drivers in TC2000 in Colombia

Miriam Gil and Maria Paula Martinez

Colombia has a thriving saloon racing scene. Its premier touring car championship is TC2000 (Turismo Carretera). This is a multi-class championship with two sections for novice drivers (Academy), plus a Junior class and a main TC2000 class. Women drivers have been a feature of TC2000 for many seasons now. Most are from Colombia, but the championship also attracts drivers from the surrounding countries.

Maria Isabel Bonilla – Colombian driver who races touring cars in her domestic championship. Between 2012 and 2013, she took part in the Colombian TC (Turismo Carretera) Academy, in an attempt to get onto the professional racing circuit. Her cars were a SEAT and a Mazda. She was most successful in the SEAT in 2012, and managed one podium place. In 2016, after a break, she raced a Chevrolet in the TC2000 series in Colombia, in the Junior class. She was the highest-placed driver in her region and was sixteenth overall in the championship. She did another part-season in the junior series in 2018, driving a Hyundai. In 2019, she made an unusual move: going to France to contest a couple of rounds of the Clio Cup, as well as some rounds of the TC Junior class.

Maria Isabel Cajiao - raced in the TC2000 touring car series in Colombia. She competed in 2005 and 2006, driving a Honda in 2006 at least. Both years, she was seventh in the championship, and the leading female driver. After 2006, she was linked to a drive in a “PanAm” Grand Prix series, but this did not happen. Little other information about Maria Isabel’s other racing activities, or biographical data, appears to exist.

Jennifer Cañon - has raced touring cars in Colombia since 2014. Her first year in cars ended in a second place in the Academy B Class of Colombia’s TC2000, driving a Citroen. She repeated this in the the more competitive A class in 2015. A second season in the A class in 2016 was not as successful, and she was 22nd after missing the first two rounds. She did another incomplete season in the Citroen in 2017, and was 36th in the championship. She has also done some endurance races, including the 6 Hours of Bogota. She raced a Citroen in TC2000 in 2018 for a part-season, scoring two fourth places. In 2019, she moved back to the Academy A class for a couple of rounds.

Miriam Gil - Venezuelan driver who races in TC2000 in Colombia. In 2017, she formed an all-female team with Maria Paula Martinez, for karting and TC2000. She raced a Lada in the second-string TC2000 series in 2017. Most of Miriam’s experience has been in karting, but she first raced in touring cars in 2014. She drove a Chevrolet in the Academy B class of Colombian TC2000 and was promoted to the A class before the end of the season, although she could not make the top-three shootout. In 2018, she was one of the founding members of the all-female SWS team with Mapa Martinez and Paola Oliveros. Miriam was seventh in the junior championship, driving a Chevrolet.  She raced in the TC Junior series in 2019, in two different cars.

Mary (Maribel) Gonzalez - finished eighth in the 2017 Colombian TC2000 Academy B class, driving a Fiat 147. She is another driver whose consistent approach is her strong point; her best finish seems to have been a fifth place. She shared the car with Edwin Carrillo, who used it in the Academy A class. 2017 appears to have been her first season in TC2000.

Maria Paula Martinez – Colombian touring car driver who started racing cars as a junior. 2013 seems to have been her debut season. In 2015, she won the TC2000 Academy development series outright. Her car was a Chevrolet Swift. Prior to this, in 2014, she was one of the top five Academy drivers. Her first year included a win in a Ladies’ race in TC2000. In 2016, she raced the Chevrolet in the Junior class of TC2000 Colombia, and was 39th overall after a strong, but short, part-season. She returned in 2019 and was fourteenth in the Junior championship.

Maria Camila Medina - drove in the Colombian TC2000 touring car series between 2005 and 2007. She began with a part-season in 2005, before  two more substantial efforts at the championship. Her best overall finish was 30th, in 2006. Details of her cars are not widely recorded. At the end of 2007, she was linked to a drive in European Formula 3000, but this does not appear to have happened. In 2009, she is listed as a driver for the Petrobras 6 Hours of Bogota race, driving a Van Dieman. She did a couple of Latam Formula 2000 races in Miami in 2014, and was fifth and sixth, representing Colombia.

Paola Oliveros - raced in TC2000 in Colombia in 2017, in the A class. Her car was a Suzuki Swift GTi and she was part of a female team with Miriam Gil and Maria Paula Martinez. Her final championship position was 16th in Class A. In 2018, she was tenth in Class A, driving a JAC. She repeated her finishing position in 2019. She has been racing since at least 2014, when she took part in a TC2000 ladies’ race in aid of breast cancer charities. Her car was a Chevrolet.

Tatiana Perez - raced an El Mako JAC in Colombian TC2000 in 2017. She was competing in the Academy B class. Her season started well enough, but she dropped out part-way through. This left her in 41st place in the drivers’ standings. 2017 was her second attempt at TC2000, having had a similar year in 2016, when she entered the first round, but did not finish due to electrical problems. She won the B class championship in 2018, driving a JAC and winning two races. She moved into the A class in 2019 for a part-season and was 29th in the championship.

Laura Rodriguez - finished joint second in the Colombian TC2000 Academy B class in 2017. She was driving a Mazda with her father, Javier. The duo’s consistent finishes helped them, although they have not quite managed to challenge for podiums. This was Laura’s second season in the series, after a couple of starts in 2016 in a Fiat. She made another four appearances in the B class in 2018, driving a Mazda, but did not score points.

Manuela Solorzano - raced a Peugeot in the Colombian TC2000 championship in 2017. She was competing in the TC A class, and was ninth overall. This was her second season in this championship and class; she was twelfth in 2016, in a similar car. This seems to have been her first season in a car. Previously, she was active in karting, and competed internationally between 2011 and 2015.

(Image from

Monday, 13 November 2017

Angelique Germann

Angelique and her team in 2016

Angelique Germann is a German driver who was racing in national-level Formula 3 in Europe. She was one of the front-runners in the CEZ series in 2017, after winning the German title in 2016.

Angelique’s father, Andreas, raced in Formula Three across Europe and continues to do so, therefore it was natural that she gravitated towards this style of competition. She began racing single-seaters in a serious way in 2014. That year, she raced in the mostly Eastern European-based Remus F3 Cup. Her car was a Dallara 305 Opel, run by her father’s racing team. Her best finishes were two ninth places, at Poznan, and another two top-tens at Salzburg.

She continued to race a Formula 3 car in 2015, entering two championships: the Central European Zone (CEZ) F3 series and the Remus F3 Cup, formerly Austrian F3. She used a Dallara F311 for both. Her F3 Cup season took in just over half of the championship. Her best result was a ninth place at Brno, at the end of the season. She was less successful in her part-season in the CEZ series, in which her best result was 17th at Brno. She did have the small consolation of finishing in front of her father, who was 18th.

As well as F3, both Angelique and Andreas had at least a guest appearance in the Italian F2 championship. Angelique was driving a Dallara F308 run by Franz Wöss Racing.

In 2016, she made something of a breakthrough in the sport. She entered the Central European Zone F3 championship and the Remus F3 Cup and performed well in both series. A highlight was winning a Cup race at Lausitz and finishing fifth in the championship. She was sixth in the CEZ championship, with a best finish of fifth. Her breakthrough race was the first CEZ round at Most, where she was seventh. Her fifth followed shortly afterwards. She was fifth in the Remus F3 Cup.

The German F3 Cup ran parallel with these two series. Despite a slightly shaky start at the Red Bull Ring, she won seven of the next ten races and took the championship comfortably. Her nearest rival was her father.

Her fourth season in Formula 3 was spent moving between the Remus Cup, the CEZ series and the German F3 Cup. Driving for Franz Wöss Racing again, she scored one win, at Hockenheim, and four second places, behind her team-mate Philipp Regensberger. Regensberger won the German championship and eleven out of the fourteen races.

She did not do quite as well in the European-based Remus series, although she held her own. Her best finish was a fourth place at Spa, and she was seventh overall. The CEZ championship seems to have run alongside the European one, as Angelique’s scores seem to be very similar.

She did not race in 2018. Towards the end of the year, she applied to take part in the all-female W Series in 2019, but had to drop out of the selection event with an injured foot.

Previously, she raced an NSU TT in historic events, from at least 2012, sometimes with her father.

Away from motorsport, she is a keen horsewoman.

(Image from

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Marisa Panagopulo

Marisa in 2012

Marisa Panagopulo is an Argentine driver, active since the 1990s.

Marisa’s early forays into motorsport were in karting and midget racing. She did race karts extensively from the age of about fourteen, sometimes with her brother, Carlos. It took a while for her to be able to move up to cars; she was still karting as a senior in 1986, when she was 18.

She seems to have started her senior career in 1994, in a Nissan Sentra, which she raced in the Copa Damas. This was a one-make series for female drivers, which was shown on television. She won the 1994 championship.

In 1995, she was part of Formula Hyundai Femenina, another touring car championship for female drivers. Her second year in cars gave her another winner’s trophy.

Her first appearance in the leading TC series was the 2 Hours of Buenos Aires in 1996. She shared a Ford Falcon with José Larroudé and finished 16th. This was the first of three races that she did in the Falcon, and her best finish. In a different car, a TTE prototype supported by Citroen, she made her debut in the Mil Milhas at Interlagos. Her team-mates were Delfina Frers and Suzane Carvalho. They do not seem to have finished.

That year, she also raced a Citroen AX and a Volkswagen Gol in one-make series. She appears to have won at least one race in the AX.

After that, she took a break from motor racing, partly due to finances. During her time away, she became a mother.

She returned to karting for many years, in order to satisfy her competitive urges.

Marisa made a circuit comeback in 2012. With Delfina Frers, Lorena Blanco and Carolina Eiras, she was part of an all-female team for the Fiat Linea Cup. She was ninth in the Rosario race.

Since then, she has returned to competitive karting, and made a guest appearance in the ASM Championship in 2014. She was driving a Fiat Uno. She also dabbles in historic racing.

(Image from

Friday, 27 October 2017

Eleanor Allard

Eleanor Allard competed in trials, sprints and hillclimbs from the 1930s onwards, with some success, but she is best known for rallying during the early 1950s.

Married to Sydney Allard, she had access to works Allard cars. The couple met through Eleanor’s brother, Alan May, who was a fellow car owner and racing colleague. They were all members of Berkhamstead Motor Club.

Before the war, she was mainly active in trials. She and Sydney sometimes drove together. In 1936, they had a lucky escape on the Colley Experts’ Trial; their Allard-built CLK5 overturned and trapped them underneath.

It was not until the late 1940s that she began to compete seriously. Starting in 1947, she made a name for herself in sprints and hillclimbs. Her first major result was a second place in the ladies’ class for unlimited sportscars in the 1947 Brighton Speed Trials, in an Allard. She came second to Betty Haig. The following year, she was ninth in the class for standard sportscars over 2000cc.

In 1949, she won the ladies’ award in the Blandford hillclimb, in a 3622cc Allard. The same year, she entered the RAC British hillclimb championship and was third in class at Prescott, behind Sydney, who won. The couple competed against each other again at Craignantlet, with Eleanor in a J2. Her third Brighton Speed Trial resulted in an overall ladies’ class win, seven seconds faster than Mrs Treen in her Riley.

She improved even more in the 1950 Speed Trials, finishing seventh overall. Her car was a Cadillac-engined Allard. Once more, she was just behind Betty Haig.

Her first big rally was Monte Carlo, in 1950, which she did not finish after starting at Glasgow. She was driving a 4400cc Allard P1, and had her sister, Edna Wood, as navigator.

In 1951, she drove in the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally, and was one of the fastest on the hillclimb and sprint stages. Unfortunately, she managed to get lost in the Alps after winning the Lausanne hillclimb. She had telephoned her husband to say that she had had to retire her Allard P1 owing to engine trouble, and that she was on her way to Geneva to find a suitable garage. Only a short time later, she turned up in St. Raphaël. By the time the story of her disappearance had hit the British papers, she had reappeared again, with Edna in tow.

In 1952, she drove an Allard P1 on the Monte, the year Sydney won, although her own efforts were seriously affected by an off-road excursion. She and her navigator knew that Sydney was due to pass them on the road, and hoped that he would stop to help. When he did pass, however, he did not stop. Having seen that the crew were unhurt, he passed on his way, apparently shouting “see you in Monte Carlo” out of the window.

Later, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Daily Express Rally. This event had a huge entry list of over 400 cars, but it is proving very difficult to find a complete results list.

Her navigators were always one, or both, of her sisters, Edna (Wood) and Hilda (Johnson).

She died in 2001, aged 88.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

Jenny van Hilten

Jenny van Hilten is most famous for racing a Group B-spec Ford RS200 in Europe in the late 1980s. She is from Luxembourg, and did most of her racing in the Netherlands.

Jenny and her husband Bram bought the RS200 in 1987. It had been used as a pace car by the factory previously.  

One of her most memorable races was at Zandvoort in 1988, when she entered the NTK (Dutch Touring Car) round there. After making the most of her four-wheel-drive in the wet in the Group A Super Touring race, she was fourth overall. This was her only NTK race of the year.

That year, she also drove  an RS500 in the Spa 24 Hours, with Evert Bolderheij and Bernard Winderickx. They did not finish.

She did another 24-hour race in 1988, driving a Honda Civic at the Nürburgring 24h as part of a Luxembourgish team. Her co-drivers were Carlo Gillen and “Lou”.  

Jenny, driving with her husband Bram van Hilten this time, and a driver called Phillips, returned to Spa in 1989, in the Honda Civic. They were 38th overall.  

That year, she made another appearance in Dutch touring cars, driving a Ford Fiesta XR2. Bram had made some appearances in the car earlier in the season and Jenny ran in the final round at Zandvoort. She was second in class in the Group A race, behind Bram in another XR2.

In 1990, she competed in the Citroen AX GTI Cup, and managed some top-five positions. She was noted for her pace in qualifying. Mid-season, she was third in the overall standings, second in the Ladies’.

The following year, she opted for another one-make series: the Ford Fiesta Mixed Cup, which was based in Germany. She was already familiar with the XR2s used by the series. Her male team-mate was Thomas Wirtz, a German driver. The series that year was dominated by Sabine Schmitz/Thomas Marschall and Claudia Hürtgen/Michael Funke. As a pair, Jenny and Thomas were not among the front-runners, although Jenny was sixth in the women’s points table.

The van Hilten/Wirtz pairing did another Mixed Cup season in 1992. Again, Sabine Schmitz and Thomas Marschall were runaway winners, but Jenny and Thomas had a decent season, and were fifth in the team standings. Jenny was second in the ladies’ championship.

Alongside her circuit racing career, Jenny became an adept hillclimb driver. In 1988, she won her class in the Lorentzweiler climb in the RS200. She repeated this in 1989. The Lorentzweiler course is the closest thing that Jenny had to a home circuit, being situated in Luxembourg.

(Image from

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Ladies' Automobile Club

Millicent, the Duchess of Sutherland, with her daughter

The Ladies’ Automobile Club was Great Britain’s first dedicated motor club for women. It was not exclusively a motorsport association, but it was one of the first bodies to organise motor races for women in the UK.

Talk of a women’s motor club began in 1899. Newspapers described the actress Lily Langtry as one of its first members, and Viscountess Haberton as the founder. Little else was heard for three or four years.

In 1903, it starts to be mentioned in the papers again, with Lady Cecil Scott Montagu was its first acknowledged leader. Between 1903 and 1904, the original club seems to have collapsed. Contemporary reports claim this was due to disagreements about membership criteria. Only ladies in “society” were intended to join. Most of the early members were from the titled classes.

Millicent, the Duchess of Sutherland, became its first president in 1904. She oversaw the first Club event in June, a meeting and group drive from Carlton Terrace in central London to the Ranelagh Club in Barnes, via Pall Mall and the park. Fifty-six cars were involved. Many of the ladies drove themselves, although some relied on their chauffeurs. This fact was did not go un-noticed by observers. Among the observers on the day was Queen Alexandra, who watched the parade from the window at Buckingham Palace.

The club’s first AGM was the following month. Rooms were acquired at Claridges Hotel for the use of members, as well as a garage.

Most of the LAC’s activities were social in nature. Typically, one member would hold a meeting at her house. This was followed by a drive out, often to the Ranelagh or Hurlingham clubs, for tea. In 1904, an engineer was booked to give a series of talks on the workings of the internal combustion engine. From time to time, other talks were given, sometimes by members themselves, on aspects of motoring, or their own four-wheeled adventures. Maud Manville spoke at length about her experiences in the Herkomer Trophy in 1906.

In the beginning, there was ambitious talk of a ladies’ team being assembled for the Gordon Bennett Cup. This died down after the false start of 1903. In 1905, some women-only competitions started to be organised by the club. The first of these seems to have been a Ladies’ Handicap at the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials. The Handicap was for touring cars, and was entered by six women.

Heat 1
  1. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)
  2. Christabel Browne (Cupelle 10hp)
Heat 2
  1. Maud Manville (Daimler 35hp)
  2. Mrs Nevill Copland (12-14hp Talbot)
Mrs Guy Hardy (10hp Panhard)
Mrs Benett-Stanford (13-17hp Dixi)
  1. Mrs Herbert Lloyd
  2. Maud Manville
Only a few days later, the LAC ladies were enjoying their first dedicated gymkhana at the Ranelagh Club. The Ranelagh was the venue for Britain’s first women’s motor race, and had hosted a variety of women’s sports in the past ten years, including a bicycle gymkhana and carriage-driving competitions. Eleven members entered the gymkhana, which consisted of three races and two “appearance competitions”. The results of the races were as follows:

Bending Race (8 starters)

  1. Christabel Browne (10-12hp Cupelle)
  2. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)

Crawling Race (7 starters)

  1. Mrs Todd Newcombe (16-20hp Richard-Daimler)
  2. Mrs Herbert Lloyd (30hp Daimler)

Bomb Race (7 starters)

  1. Maud Manville (16hp Daimler)
  2. Mrs Todd Newcombe (16-20hp Richard-Daimler)

Another LAC gymkhana was held at the Ranelagh Club in 1906. Details for this event are less forthcoming. One of the races was a “Police Trap Race” where drivers had to do a lap of the grass track in a certain time, without the use of a speedometer or a stopwatch. The closest to the time was the winner. A Mrs Harry Adams won. Her car is not recorded.

The Police Trap Race was one of five driving competitions that day. The others were a Bending Race, Crawling Race, Ball Race and Tilting at Rings. A Mrs C Farrar won the Crawling Race and Tilting at Rings. Again, her car is not recorded.

A further gymkhana may have been held in 1907, or at least some ladies’ races. By then, ongoing problems with waterlogging on the polo pitch that was used as a racetrack meant that events were sometimes cancelled.

The LAC eventually became affiliated to the RAC. Its peak years as an actual motor club were between 1904 and 1910. After that, it becomes more of a social club; ladies did not even have to own a car to be members. It moved to its own premises in 1923.

Winifred Pink, herself an accomplished racing driver on sand, was one of its later presidents, in 1927. As women were admitted into more motor clubs, it gradually became redundant and was eventually absorbed into the RAC.

(Image from Tatler magazine?)