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.

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.

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.  

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.

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 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.

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.

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