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. She intends 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 now races the only original Ford Coupe in the series.
(Image copyright Girls Torque Motorsport)