Friday, 21 April 2017

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: the USA


Michele Abbate

Below are some profiles of women racing touring cars in the USA. Some of these have been split off from the Female Drivers in Touring Cars in the Rest of the World post. Shea Holbrook has her own profile. For female stock car drivers, try here or here.

Michele Abbate - races a Scion FR-S (precursor to the Toyota GT86) in the USA. She started out in time trials and Time Attack events, before moving into circuit racing in 2009. She has mainly competed in SCCA Nationals, where she has achieved considerable success, including a Western Conference championship win in 2015. In 2014 and 2015, she raced in the US Touring Car Championship. She was seventh in the 2014 series, but only competed in one 2015 race. Her continuing strong performances and skill in finding sponsorship have led to a drive in the 2017 Bathurst 6 Hour race, for Pedders Racing. She will be driving a Toyota GT86.

Geri Amani - races touring cars and single-seaters in the USA. She is a multiple race winner in SCCA Improved Touring, and finished in the championship top three in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she also entered the US Touring Car Championship, driving a Mazda3. She did one race, and was fourth in class, at Laguna Seca. That year, she did her first single-seater races as well, finishing third in Formula F in a 1600cc Formula Ford. Since then, she has mostly worked as a driving instructor, and stunt driver.

Rebecca (Becky) Arsham - has taken part in at least five seasons of the US Touring Car Championship, usually in a Honda. She has only done part-seasons, and her best championship position was eighth, in 2014, driving a gogogear.com Honda Civic. Much earlier, in 2007, she shared a car with Rich Woo, and earned at least one third place. The pair had raced together in the NASA Pacific Coast Touring Car Championship in 1999 and 2000, finishing second both times. Becky has been active in motorsport since at least 1996, when she was second in the NASA HPR Championship.

Roberta Jesberger - raced in the SCCA World Challenge for touring cars in the USA. She raced a Mazda RX-7 during the 1995 season and had a best finish of 17th, at Mosport. She returned to the series in 1996, but made only a few starts. She was racing for “Father and Daughter Racing” with her father, Ron. She does not appear to have raced since then.

Shauna Marinus - raced touring cars in the USA in the early and mid-2000s. She competed in the World Challenge for touring cars between 2000 and 2004. Initially, she raced a BMW 328 and M3, but she used Mazda cars almost exclusively from 2001 onwards. Her best season in the World Challenge was 2002; she was tenth overall, driving a Mazda Protege. As well as touring cars, she tried sportscar racing. She did a couple of races in the Women’s Global GT Challenge in 1999 and 2000, in one of their spec Panoz Esperantes. In 2004, she raced a Mazda RX-8 in at least one round of the Grand-Am Cup. Prior to circuit racing, she did autocross and Solo events. She was the first woman to win an open SCCA Solo title in 1998.

Sarah Montgomery - racing in the Pirelli World Challenge in 2017, driving for Shea Holbrook’s Shea Racing team. Her car is a Honda Civic. Prior to this, Sarah raced a Mazda MX-5 (Miata) from 2011 to 2016. In 2013, she won two championships, the Gulf Coast Racing Series, and the NOLA Region Spec Miata Series. In 2012, she also won the Spec Miata Charity Challenge, a one-hour enduro.


Julie Wilkinson - Canadian driver who raced in the World Challenge touring car series in the 1990s, in the USA. She began in its inaugural season in 1990, in a Subaru. Previously, in 1988, she had been a team-mate to Kat Teasdale in the CASC Player’s/GM Motorsport Series. They both drove Chevrolet Camaros. The year before, she raced a Honda Civic in the CASC Honda/Michelin Challenge Series, with a best finish of fifth, at Westwood. She later became a motorsport journalist and died some time before 1999, when a sports journalism prize was set up in her memory.

(Image copyright Scion Racing)


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