Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Marie-Luise Kozmian (Kozmianowa)

Marie-Luise Kozmian is the anglicised name of Maria-Ludwika Kozmianowa, who raced a Bugatti T37 and other cars in central and eastern Europe in the 1930s. She is occasionally also called Maria von Kozmian.

She was born in 1892 as Maria Komorowska and married Andrzej Kozmian, an engineer. She was a wealthy landowner in what is now Poland.

Her first racing car seems to have been an Austro-Daimler.

The first major outing for this car may have been the Rajd Pan (Women’s Rally) in 1930. She was the winner of the fourth edition of this event, held that year, as well as one other running of the rally. This was a city-to-city road rally; the 1930 route passed through Warsaw, Zakopane and Wisla then back to Warsaw, some 1150km.

Many sources describe her as winning the 1930 Lwow (Lemburg) Grand Prix, but contemporary results do not support this. Other sources call it a race for touring cars. Motor Sport magazine reports that she won the class for “dominant type cars”, run over 15 laps (45km). “dominant type” cars were “the models on which the manufacturer was concentrating”, which suggests it was a production car class. There were additional races for Sports and Racing cars.  

The next big event for her was the 1931 Baltic Cup, in which she won the Touring class. The event was held in Poland and was a 7km time trial.  

Some time after this she acquired a new car, a Bugatti T37. This car could run in Voiturette races and she used it in two editions of her home Grand Prix, at Lwow. She was sixth in the voiturette race at the 1933 event and was an entrant for the 1934 race, which did not go ahead.

During her career, Marie-Luise travelled around central Europe to compete. In 1933, she travelled to Hradec Kralove in what is now the Czech Republic for a street race. She was second in the 1500cc class.

In 1934, she took the Bugatti to Switzerland for the Berne Grand Prix, run to Voiturette regulations. This race supported the Swiss Grand Prix. She was tenth overall, behind the French driver Anne Itier.

The same year, she took part in the Klausen hillclimb, also in Switzerland. She was second in the 1500cc class, behind “Johnny” Lurani’s Maserati.

Hillclimbs were said to be her best events, although results are not often forthcoming. A series of pictures show her racing the Bugatti up the Semmering pass in Austria, but it is not known which year she entered. She did set a new ladies’ record on that course in 1933 and was third in the 1500cc Sports class, but she may have driven there more than once. She is meant to have raced until 1937.

She died in 1955.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Valeria Carballo

Valeria Carballo (Valeria Vanessa Carballo Berroteran) is a Venezuelan driver who raced single-seaters in Europe for several seasons.

Initially, Valeria was based in Italy. She made her debut in Italian Formula Renault in 2011, driving for Team Costa Rica. After a difficult year with a string of DNFs in the middle, she was seventeenth in the championship, with a best finish of eighth, at Misano. This was one of two top-ten finishes that year, the other being a ninth at Monza. Team Costa Rica fielded five drivers over the season and only one, James Adams, was Costa Rican.

Whilst in Italy, she also raced in Formula Abarth, in the Italian and European series. She did not enter enough races to make any impact. All of her Formula Abarth outings were as part of Team Costa Rica.

In 2012, she tackled the European F3 Open championship, after a couple of races in the winter series, at Paul Ricard. Her finishes in the Trophy itself were not overly impressive, apart from one seventh at Monza, but she did quite well in the Cup class, earning many top-ten finishes. She was a team-mate to Tatiana Calderon at Emilio de Villota Motorsport, although they were racing in separate classes.

Her second season in Euro F3 started with the Winter Series, in which she scored one seventh place. In the series proper, she was part of the Campos team. It was a better season for her, or more consistent than before, with five top-ten finishes, the best being seventh, at Portimao. This was enough for twelfth overall. She was the highest-placed of the three Campos drivers, above Artur Janosz in thirteenth and Denis Nagulin in 19th.

Valeria’s career ended in 2014. Like several other Venezuelan racing drivers, she had been sponsored by PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. Pastor Maldonado was the highest-profile of these, and Milka Duno was among their number. At the end of 2013, PDVSA suspended its motorsport sponsorship programme and stopped paying all drivers competing abroad. This was due to certain individuals using the sponsorship programme to obtain large quantities of foreign currency. It is not known whether Valeria was one of these drivers.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Katie Milner

Katie Milner won the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2016. She now races Ginettas.

She first raced in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2015, driving a Citroen Saxo. This was her first season of circuit racing full-stop. She was ninth in the championship. Her best finish was fourth, at Croft, and she had two other top-five positions at Croft and Oulton Park.

Prior to her season in the JSCC, she was a successful autograss racer for four seasons between 2012 and 2015, with five junior titles. Autograss takes place on a short, oval grass track. Other saloon racers including Alice Hughes have used it as a training ground. Her first JSCC campaign overlapped with her last autograss title.

She also tried out the Ginetta Junior series at Brands Hatch during the 2015-2016 off-season. This was a challenge for her and she only had a highest finish of eleventh.

In 2016, she raced in the JSCC for a final season before she turned seventeen. The disappointments of the Ginetta winter series were forgotten. It was a dramatic year; she was one of the leading drivers, with seven wins, but her championship title was only awarded after appeals. She was excluded for technical reasons at Knockhill, but was reinstated, and crowned the winner.

In 2017, she raced in the Ginetta GT5 Championship, as a senior. It was a somewhat inconsistent season, but she managed two fourth places and one fifth at Rockingham.

At the end of the season, she won the BWRDC Ladies' Race at the Walter Hayes Trophy on handicap, having finished second on scratch to Sarah Moore in another Ginetta.

She was ninth overall in her second season of GT5 racing. driving the same car. Her best finish was a fifth place at Thruxton.

Most of 2019 was spent in the Ginetta, in the same championship. Her season looked to be a more consistent one at the start, but the big grids and competitive nature of the series meant that she got caught up in several bumps not of her making, dropping her down the order. Her best finish was a fifth place again, this time at Snetterton, and she scored two pole positions at Thruxton.

Mid-season, she teamed up with Alice Hughes for the Citroen C1 Challenge, racing as Team Merlin International supported by Motorsport Woman. The two Yorkshire women finished second in their first three-hour race at Croft, leading the race at one point. They were joined by Jem Hepworth and Sami Bowler for the C1 24 Hours at Silverstone, running as Team Motorsport Woman, and finished fifth.

Katie will contest the British GT championship as an official driver for McLaren in 2020.

Katie is the daughter of rally driver Johnny Milner.

(Image copyright LAT)

Friday, 6 April 2018

Female Saloon Racers from Thailand

Tachapan Vijittranon

Thai female drivers have made significant inroads into their national saloon racing scene in recent years. Most are active in the Thailand Super Series. A manufacturer-supported women-only one-make series for the Toyota Vios provides a way in for a few. Thai racers Nattanid Leewatanavalagul and Tachapan Vijittranon are now competing abroad too.

Tanchanok Charoensukhawatana - has won the Toyota Vios Lady Cup in Thailand at least twice. She has been one of its leading drivers for several years. In 2019, she moved into the main Vios Cup, earning at least one sixth place. She began racing in 2013 in the Lotus Greater China series and became the first woman to earn a pole position at the Macau street circuit in a mixed race. She later raced in the Lotus Asia Cup alongside her father, Nattavude, in 2014. It appears that she raced a Toyota Yaris in the Super Eco class of the Thailand Super Series at some point, but language barriers mean that details of this are not clear. She has also raced a Toyota GT86 in Japan.

Phattaraporn Chongkitkhemmathat - raced a Honda City in the Super Production class of the Thailand Super Series in 2016. She was fifth in Class C, with two third places. This appears to be her only season in the championship. Previously, she raced a Toyota Vios in a one-make series in 2015. That year, she took part in a six-hour enduro in the car at Bangsaen.  

Panicha Dokchan - Thai racer who competes in the Special AWD and Super Turbo series in her home country. She drives for the Luknut World Pumps team. She has been racing since at least 2017 and has contested the support races for the Buriram 6 Hours at least twice. In the Super Turbo championship, her car is a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. She raced in the Division 1 class, although she did not contest all the rounds in 2018. In 2019, she did at least some rounds of Thai Touring Cars in a TCR-spec SEAT Cupra. She finished at least one race at Buriram in sixth place. Panicha sometimes uses the name “Elle”.

Nattanid Leewatanavalagul (Kat Lee) - Thai racer who competes in one-makes and touring cars in Southeast Asia. She was third in the Thailand TCR Championship in 2017, driving a SEAT Leon. She won one race at Bangsaen, and scored four second and two third places. This followed two seasons in the Thailand Super Series, driving a Honda Jazz for Morin Racing. She won class C in 2015. Her earliest experiences of motorsport appear to be in a women-only series for the Toyota Vios in 2014. She entered the Chinese Mini Challenge in and did some rounds of the Asian TCR series in 2018. Her best result in TCR was a second place at Bangsaen, driving a SEAT Leon. She raced in the Super Compact class of the Thailand Super Series in 2019.

Yotha Pavinee - raced in the Super Eco class of the Thailand Super Series. She was sixth in the 2017 championship, driving a Honda Brio. Her best overall finish was a ninth place at Buriram. In 2018, she stayed with the Thai Super Series but moved into the Super Compact class, driving a Honda Jazz for Morseng Racing. She continued in the series in 2019. 

Tachapan Vijittranon (Ploy) - Thai driver who raced in the Finnish touring car championship in 2017. Her car was a Mini. She had a best finish of second at Parnu from the six rounds that she entered, and she was eleventh in the championship. This was her first foray into European competition, although she has been active in Thai racing since she was 14, in 2012. Her first car was a Honda Jazz. In 2016, she was picked up by a women’s motorsport initiative run by Mazda, and drove a Mazda2 in the Thailand Super Series. She was racing in the Super Compact class and averaged a fourth-place finish throughout the year. It was her second season with the car.

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

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Ruth Bowler

Ruth Bowler, affectionately known as Ruthie, has been a regular in Aussie Racing Cars since 2008. She started her 200th race in the series in 2016.

Driving a Ford Falcon, she was 25th in her debut season. The car was leased from the factory for part of the season. When the lease expired, Ruth bought a Yamaha-engined Ford Coupe, which she originally used for testing. This car and versions of it became her regular ride for the next ten years.

She was 19th in her first season driving the Ford, in 2009. This was the first year of a six-season partnership with Armstrong Motorsport. She did full seasons for the team until 2014. She was not the most competitive driver out there, but she had a decent finishing record. In 2013, she became Aussie Racing Cars’ most prolific female driver, having amassed more starts than Danielle Walton and Brooke Leech.

Her best season points-wise was 2012, when she was 14th overall.

In 2014, she had a part-season in Aussie Racing Cars with Armstrong Motorsport. She took part in four races for the team. This was her last year with them and she set up her own “Ruthie Racer” team for 2015. Her support crew at Symmons Plain, Australia’s Tasmanian track, was the all-female “Tassie’s Fastest Ladies”. They were local kart racers raising awareness of both breast cancer and women in motorsport.

A complete season in 2015 gave her a championship 20th place, with a best finish of eighteenth, at Highlands and Phillip Island.

She did not do quite as well in 2016, and sat out some of the mid-season races. Her best finish was 24th, and she was 28th in the championship. This was still enough to pick up a women’s championship at the Clipsal support race. She now had rivals for the ARC “fastest lady” crown, with Charlotte Poynting and Emma Clark improving.

Her overall finishes in 2017 were better, the best of these being a 15th place at Symmons Plain. A few DNFs mid-season meant that she was 30th on the leaderboard. The ARC had four regular female drivers that year, including Ruth.

Her season was cut short due to needing reconstructive surgery on her left leg. This was not the result of a racing accident, but a serious problem with the lymphatic system. The surgery meant that she was unable to walk for some time. When she returned to the track in February 2018, she had only been walking unaided for three weeks. Her intention was to complete as much of the season as possible and regain as much fitness as she can before she has the next round of operations on her leg. She managed the meetings at Baskerville and The Bend.

She now races the only original Ford Coupe in the series.

She did not race in 2019.

(Image copyright Girls Torque Motorsport)