Monday, 27 June 2022

Caitlin Wood

Caitlin Wood is an Australian driver who races in Europe. In recent years, this has been in sportscars, although she started in single-seaters.

She began her senior motorsport career in 2013, supported by the Women’s Australian Motorsport federation as one of their most promising young drivers, following a successful karting career. Her brother had raced previously and she helped him and their father rebuilt his Spirit Formula Ford. She did part-seasons in the Australian and Victorian Formula Ford championships, earning two fourteenth places in the Australian series. More races in the Victorian championship gave her more experience.

In late 2013, she was selected as Australia’s entry for the FIA Women in Motorsport Scirocco-R shootout, in an attempt to win a VW Scirocco prize drive in Europe. She did not win and returned to single-seaters in Australia. 

Another season in the Australian Formula Ford championship followed in 2014. It was a hard year for her, but she managed to get into the top ten three times towards the end of the season. She was 21st overall. As well as her national series, she got some extra seat time in the New South Wales state championship, where she fared better, finishing sixth overall after five races. 

She put together a deal late in the season to run in the 2015 Australian Formula 4 championship, the first female driver to do so. She was thirteenth in the championship after just under half of the season, with a best finish of sixth at Sandown. 

In 2016, she intended to race in F4 for the full season but ended up in Europe, racing a KTM X-Bow in the GT4 European Series. This followed an invitation by former Formula 1 driver Tomas Enge to join a Young Stars programme run by Reiter Engineering.

She was a solid top-ten finisher in the Pro class, partnered with male drivers including Marko Helistekangas. Her best overall finish was seventh at Pau, and she was seventeenth in the main championship. However, she won the Young Stars class.

She stayed with the Reiter team in 2017 and drove both the X-Bow and their Lamborghini Gallardo. The X-Bow came out for the Dubai 24 Hours, where Caitlin was part of a four-woman Reiter team with fellow Young Stars drivers Anna Rathe, Marylin Niederhauser and Naomi Schiff. They finished the race in 72nd place.

For most of the year she drove the Gallardo in the Blancpain Endurance Series, as a prize for her Young Stars win. She was tenth in the Sprint Cup Silver Cup, having been entered in different classes over the year with Marko Helistekangas. 

She missed some of the 2018 season due to injury but managed the early and late part of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, racing in Europe. At first, she drove for Mtech in the Pro-Am class, before doing the Silverstone rounds in the Am class with The Energy Check. She returned to Pro-Am for the closing races at the Nurburgring, picking up her best finish of sixth.

She also did her first Bathurst 12 Hours in the X-Bow, although she did not finish. Sadly, she did not finish the race in 2019 either. 

The 2019 summer season was spent as a W Series driver in Europe, having gone through several rounds of selection alongside her former Reiter team-mates, Naomi Schiff and Marylin Niederhauser. Naomi was also selected. 

Her best finish by far was fifth at Assen and she was thirteenth in the championship. She did not race in W Series in 2020 as it was cancelled, but she returned as a reserve driver in 2021. Despite her reserve status, she did four of the eight races, earning one fifth place at Spa. She also drove the Tatuus F3 car up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

After being released by W Series, she remained in Europe and joined up with the Adrenalin Motorsport Alzer team for the NLS. Their car is a BMW 330i.

(Image copyright Caitlin Wood)

 

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Annick Girard

Annick (right) and Francoise Conconi in 1970

Annick Girard rallied in France in the 1970s. She was one of the original members of Team Aseptogyl and probably the most successful driver in its first line-up.

She began rallying an Alpine-Renault A110 with the team in 1971, starting her first event, the Rallye d’Istres, on New Year’s Day that year. She did not finish.


Although Aseptogyl initially paired her with Francoise Conconi, she earned her best finishes in open events with Marie-Odile Desvignes alongside her. Just three months after dropping out at Istres, she finished in the top ten for the first time in the Criterium National de Touraine, taking a ninth place.


This was followed by an eighth place in the Rallye des Roses, held at Antibes, then fifth in the national section of the Alpine Rally.


She and Francoise did score one win together, however, finishing first in the National section of the Paris-St.Raphael Rally.


Previously, she had driven in the Tour de France with Francoise in 1970, driving an A110. They were sponsored by Aseptogyl toothpaste, although the Aseptogyl team itself had not yet been assembled.


As well as rallying, she drove an Alpine-Renault A110 in hillclimbs at the same time, including the famous Mount Ventoux climb in 1971. 


Although she showed a great deal of promise in a car, Annick’s motorsport career was a short one and she seems to have dropped out at the end of 1971. Had she continued, we may have seen her performing well on major international rallies or in sportscar races, which Aseptogyl also entered.




Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Janine Shoffner (Hill)



Janine Hill, now known as Janine Shoffner, is a British-born American driver racing mostly in Europe. She won the FIA Am GT3 class of the 2021 VLN championship, driving a Mercedes.

She first got into motorsport quite late in life, in her 40s, although adventure sports had always been part of her life. In 2000, she was a professional skydiving photographer who completed several jumps a day. She also rode motorbikes on the road and still rides horses.


After gaining her racing license in 2011, she competed in club races. She formed Team J-2 with her partner John in 2012, initially racing a Porsche and a Ford GT. A trip to the Nurburgring in 2013 led to Janine meeting the late Sabine Schmitz, who gave her some tuition in a road car around the legendary track. This in turn brought Janine and John into Sabine’s Frikadelli racing team.


In 2014, Janine was part of Frikadelli Racing’s second team in a Porsche Cayman, with Antony Ashley. They raced in the VLN, and put in some good performances, although a crash in round 12, when Ashley was driving, was a low point. 


Janine and Antony also raced a BMW E46 in the Zolder 24 Hours for Team J2, with John Shoffner and Domenico Solombrino. They did not finish. 


In 2015, Janine raced a Mazda Miata in the USA, as well as one of the satellite Frikadelli cars in the VLN. She drove a Renault Clio in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and was 93rd overall, as part of a four-driver team. She also drove the Frikadelli Porsche Cayman. 


In 2016, she continued as a Frikadelli driver, sharing a Porsche 997 in the Cup 2 class with John. The highlight of their season was probably a class second in the Nürburgring 24 Hours.


She raced in the 24 Hours with Shoffner again in 2017, along with Arno Klaasen and Duncan Huisman. They were 32nd overall in a Porsche 991. In the VLN, she earned seven podium finishes in the same car. 


The team reconvened in 2018, although their season in the Porsche was disrupted by an accident involving John. As a consolation they were fourth in their class at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.


She raced in both the VLN and most of the International GT Open championship in 2019, for GetSpeed Performance. Her car was a Mercedes AMG GT3. She and her team-mates won their class in one VLN race and finished the 24 Hours. In GT Open, she and John were fifth in the GTAM class with two second and two third places.  


The GetSpeed Mercedes was highly successful in its class in 2020; Janine and her team-mates won their class in one VLN race and were third in another, as well as earning a class third in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. 


The GetSpeed team, featuring Janine, won the Am FIA GT3 class of the 2021 NLS, driving the Mercedes to six wins from seven races. A fourth place in class for the 24 Hour race was also impressive, as the SP9 Pro-Am category was popular that year.


The GetSpeed Mercedes is in action in the 2022 GT Open, with Janine and Moritz Kranz sharing driving duties.


(Image copyright Mercedes-Benz Group Media)


Friday, 20 May 2022

Rosine Chauffour

 


Rosine Chauffour, also known as Rosine Chauffour-Robinet, is a multiple regional title-winning rally driver from France.


She has been competing as a driver since 2004, after co-driving for her father for three seasons. In 2004 and 2005, she rallied a Peugeot 106 in her local area of Limousin and was regional champion in 2005. 


The 106 was sold and upgraded to a 206 in 2006, which was initially used for circuit racing. She enjoyed the experience but preferred rallies, and therefore set about converting the 206 to rally spec.


She returned to the stages in 2007, usually partnered by Audrey Kuss, who would be her main co-driver for the next two seasons. Her best finish in this car was probably a 27th place in the Rallye Regional de la Vallee de la Benaize in 2008. The same year, she did two French National rallies, the Pays du Saint-Yrieix and Foie Gras et de la Truffe events, finishing 41st in both. 


After another car upgrade, she was local champion once more in 2009. Her 206 was an RC model and she used it for five seasons. The Rallye Regional des Genets was probably her best event in the first year, giving her a 23rd place and third in class. 


In 2010, she continued her progress, and qualified for the Finale of the French championship in the Pays-Basque. 


For 2011, she switched to co-driving for Pierre Lerosier, only contesting a few events as a driver in the 206. In one of these, the Rallye Vienne et Glane, she was 26th from 52 finishers. 


She returned to driving in 2012, driving in the Finale des Rallyes in Gap with Pauline Boyer. This followed an eight-round programme of asphalt rallies in southern France.


She used the same car in 2013, in regional events again, with Emeline Massie. Her best result was 30th, in the Rallye Regional Vienne et Glane. Another Finale in Oyonnax followed and she was 97th overall, winning the ladies’ award.


The same driver pairing was very active again in 2014, and their best rally was the Vienne et Glane event again, in which they were 26th. Rosine featured strongly in the A8 class, with three runner-up spots, and was fifth in the French Ladies' standings. The Peugeot had now been exchanged for a much newer Citroen DS3, a car she would remain loyal to for several seasons. 


This year was the first time she had driven in the rain and she admitted that the standard of competition was higher than what she was used to. 


She did not fare as well in a larger Ladies class in 2015, and was tenth, but she finished all eight of her rallies that year, driving the Citroen. Her best result was 23rd in the Pays Gentiane Rally, and she also won her class in the Vienne et Glane Rally, finishing 28th overall. 


She was seventh in the 2016 French Ladies' championship, after only entering one counting rally, the Rally of Limousin, which she crashed out of. IShe won her class in the Vienne et Glane event, and was 46th overall. Her best overall result was 21st, in the Cieux-Monts de Blond regional rally. 


Still in the same car, she won her class in the 2017 Rallye du Limousin and was 17th in the Cieux-Monts de Blond Rally. This was her first top-twenty finish. 


After a layoff, she returned for the 2020 Rally Regional Vienne et Glane, finishing 70th in the DS3. This expanded to three rallies in 2021, with a best finish of 37th in the Cantal Regional Rally. Her co-driver in the DS3 was now Patricia Bayard, a long-term navigator to her father in the 1990s. Their partnership continued into 2022 and yielded a class win in the Rallye Regional Jean-Pierre Champeau.


Away from motorsport, Rosine is a politician representing the Uzerche region of France.


(Image from francebleu.fr)



Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Marie Baus-Coppens

 


Marie Baus-Coppens is a French driver who has spent most of her career in one-make series in Europe.

She began racing in 2010, aged 19, after some time karting in France. She entered the F4 Eurocup, but did not score any points, having a best finish of 16th at Catalunya and Spa. Sticking with F4, she drove in the French championship in 2011, and did slightly better, managing a thirteenth spot at Pau. 

In 2012, she switched to saloon cars, in the form of the Peugeot RCZ Racing Cup, and fared much better. She achieved five top ten finishes, including a fourth at Magny-Cours, and was tenth overall. 

She continued in the RCZ Cup in 2013, but only made a few appearances in the RCZ Cup as well as some guest appearances in the 208 Cup. This meant that she was unable to make much of an impression on the championship tables in either.

In 2014, she switched allegiance from Peugeot to SEAT, an arrangement that lasted for the next three seasons.

She first raced in the SEAT Leon Eurocup in 2014. Early in the season, she was eighth at the Nürburgring. For the rest of the year, she could not match this, and she was 20th overall. 

In her second season she could only manage a fourteenth place at Barcelona as her best result. She also missed one race, at Monza, due to damaging her car in an accident in Race 1. She was 24th overall. 

A third Eurocup season started more promisingly, with a ninth and eighth at Paul Ricard. She earned two more tenths during the season, and was 19th, after missing the first four races. 

2017 was a quiet season for her; she did two races in the Peugeot 308 Cup, at Magny-Cours, and was 13th and 15th. 

It was both a return and a step up for her in 2018. She raced a SEAT again, but in the European and Benelux TCR championships.

She was not especially competitive in the European series but finished seventh in the Benelux edition, with two fourth places at Catalunya. 

She stuck with the European series in 2019, still in the JSB Competition Cupra she had raced previously, and had a similar season. The following year, she moved into the Ultimate Cup Series, racing a Peugeot in the Challenge GT Sprint championship. Since then, she has raced much less.


(Image copyright SEAT Sport)

Friday, 6 May 2022

Betty Chen

 


Betty Chen (Chen Yinyu) is a Taiwanese driver who races GT cars in Asia and Europe.

In 2019, she competed in the China GT Championship. She drove a BMW M6 in the GT3 class and earned a best finish of fourth at Qingdao, V1 International Circuit and Sepang. Her final championship position was ninth. The V1 track was probably her best circuit; she was fifth in her second race there. Her team-mate for most of the season was Jody Fannin, who acted as her driver coach. She was only 18 years old at the start of the season. 

2019 was only her first year of competition and her first time in a GT3 car. She had only taken part in two previous races before China GT with Fist-Team AAI, driving a GT4-spec car. 

The global coronavirus crisis meant that most motor racing in Asia was suspended in 2020 and part of 2021, so Betty was unable to take up a drive she had planned in the Japanese Super Taikyu championship.

She raced in the 2022 Dubai 24 Hours, driving a Lamborghini Huracan for Leipert Motorsport, finishing 16th. The team was a five-driver multinational effort led by Joel Eriksson of Sweden, who had previously raced with her at AAI. 

At about the same time, she was announced as a driver for Century Motorsport in the British GT championship. The car, shared with Angus Fender, was a BMW M4 GT3. The pair finished thirteenth in the second race of the season at Oulton Park after missing the first.

She is the first Taiwanese driver to race in British GTs. Her father Jun San Chen has also raced in Asia for many years. Betty’s adventures in motorsport started young; she first tested a Formula Master single-seater in 2016, when she was 15.


Image copyright Paul Foster)

Monday, 2 May 2022

Maurizia Baresi

 


Maurizia Baresi (left, with car 75) is an Italian rally driver from Cremona who won at least one national ladies’ championship in the 1970s.

She was a member of the famous all-female Team Aseptogyl in some of its later line-ups, in 1978 and 1979. By that time, the team was using Fiat 127s and mainly Italian drivers. The car proved unreliable in 1978, but she was reasonably successful in Italian rallies in 1979. Her best event was that year’s San Marino Rally, in which she was 24th. Her 35th place, with a class win, in the Rally Team 971 was also impressive as there 119 finishers and 186 entries. That year, her Aseptogyl team-mates included Caterina Baldoni, Isabella Bignardi and Betty Tognana. 

Isabella Bignardi would later join her in one of Aseptogyl’s last ventures, a multi-car, multinational women’s team for the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally. Maurizia was one of the few to qualify for the rally itself in her Alfasud Ti. Only the top 100 advanced to the points-scoring “Parcours Final”. She was classified 120th, fifth of the Aseptogyl crews.

The Monte was not an event in which she ever had much luck. She first tried in 1973, driving an Innocenti Mini Cooper, but the route taken by Stage 4 was blocked, meaning that a large number of cars, including Maurizia’s, went over the time limit and had to retire. She was already on the back foot, as she had prepared for the event in a Citroen and only fell back on the Mini very late.

The 1974 Monte was cancelled due to the fuel crisis so she entered again in 1975, in a Fiat 124 Abarth, but does not appear to have finished.

The Mini was her first rally car and she initially used it in hillclimbs. She would later describe it as her favourite car.

A big portion of her career was spent in the Trofeo A112 Abarth, a one-make series for the Lancia-associated compact car. She did two seasons in the championship in 1977 and 1978, first navigated by Anna Meli and then, usually, by Iva Boggio. Her best result was probably a ninth place in the 1978 Targa Florio Rally. Her next rally, the Costa Smeralda event, gave her an eleventh place.

After 1979 she only competed occasionally. In 1982, she entered a Porsche 930 Turbo into the Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio, although she does not appear to have finished.  A few years later, in 1985, she drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 in the Rally Citta di Modena, finishing 43rd. She was part of another all-female team sponsored by Alitalia; her team-mate Daniela Angei was a few places above her and three other crews did not finish.

Throughout her career, Maurizia did not often compete outside of Italy, but in 1979, she travelled all the way to Brazil for the first Rally of Brazil, then a prospective WRC event. She and local navigator Ana Mulhen did not finish in their ethanol-powered Fiat 147.

Away from the special stages, she worked as a journalist and a photographer. She covered the Dakar Rally and other rally raids for Autosprint magazine, following the cars and bikes in both her own vehicle and a helicopter. Her interest in raids was sparked by her taking part in the 1979 Dakar as part of a truck crew.

She also taught law at a university.


(Image from http://www.nobresdogrid.com.br/)