Delfina and Marily Schwander
Delfina Frers is an Argentine former actress and model, who has raced saloons extensively in South America.
She has been racing since the mid-1990s, starting out, as many Argentine female drivers did, in the Copa de Damas women-only series. She won her first Copa de Damas race in 1994, during her first season in the competition. Her car was a Nissan Sentra. She took part in the Copa for the next couple of seasons.
Her first major experience of mixed-sex motorsport was the 1997 TC2000 championship, in an Audi-engined Ford Escort XR3. She was not normally among the frontrunners, although she claimed at least one second place in the Light category, at San Juan. After her second TC2000 season, in 1998, she was 21st, in a different Ford Escort, with a more standard Zetec engine.
Later on, in 2000, she made some guest appearances in TC2000 in a Honda Civic, but this was the end of her involvement. She entered 42 TC2000 races over four years, picking up a few points in 1998. Over four years, she picked up twelve class podium finishes. Unfortunately, she is more remembered for some spectacular crashes, including a multiple roll at San Juan in 1997. She was never seriously injured.
After that, she went back to Ford power for the 2001 Fiesta Ladies’ Championship, in Brazil, finishing sixth overall. This championship was organised by Maria Helena Fittipaldi for AMPACOM, the Brazilian women’s motorsport association. Delfina does not appear to have been quite at the level of Suzane Carvalho and Maria Cristina Rosito, but she was on the pace, and scored at least a couple of fourth places. Interestingly, she shared a background in showbusiness with Suzane, and they both got into motor racing quite late. They had shared an Aldee for the 1997 Mil Milhas in Brazil, finishing eighth overall. This was their second attempt at the event, having gone out in 1996, in a team with Marisa Panagopoulo.
A break followed, but she came back in 2004, driving in one round of the Top Race series, in Argentina. She took part in the Mar del Plata race, in a Chrysler Neon, as the first woman to enter the series. At this time, she was already a grandmother.
In 2008, she also guested in the TC NOA series, although details of this are hazy - she only did a part-season, and it is not clear which car she used.
In 2010, she got back behind the wheel again, in the Fiat Linea Cup. She was 22nd in the Alta Gracia race.
After that, she seems to have switched to rallying for a few years, navigated by Marily Schwander. The pair drove an Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI in the 2010 Argentine Historic Grand Prix, a historic long-distance rally. The following year, Delfina did some modern rallies in a Subaru, including the San Antonio Areco Rally.
After her retirement from motor racing, she remained involved in sport, and was the director of the cycling Tour Femenino de San Luis, after taking a competitive interest in cycling and triathlon. In 2016, she managed the Xirayas women’s international cycling team.
(Image from http://www.rectaprincipal.com.ar)