Monday, July 26, 2010

Women in Motorsport

John Marine | 7/26/2010 05:02:00 AM | | | |
(UPDATED: July 27, 2015)

What boys can do, girls can do too... including racing! A lot of people mostly see motorsports as a male-dominated sport. It is often times refreshing to see female racers compete along with and against the boys. This blog entry concerns some of my favorite female personalities in racing both past and present. In addition, there are a few ladies I want to make honorable mention to. So get ready for yet another blog entry from me!

PERSONAL NOTE BEFORE I BEGIN: Thank all of you for visiting my blog. The past few days have yielded over 500 daily blog views for the past five or six successive days (as of the date of this blog post, and all according to MyBlogLog).


JUL 27 2015 - made edits and added some extra material

--- No Respect for the Ladies? ---

One thing I hate is when someone doesn't want to regard the existence of female drivers. In a mostly male-dominated sport like almost any form of motorsport, there are those who just think of female racers as camera fodder. There are those who like to say that women can't drive. A lot of female racers may probably note they'd rather be respected as racers rather than female or woman racer.

There are just some who don't give female racers a chance. Don't want to be fans with some of them, basically leaving them to the side where the real heavyweights of a racing series get all the fame and fans. Talent is talent. Here's a problem I have. Many of my own guys love seeing grid girls, hot racing groupies, and stuff like that. Ask most guys if they think a female racer can compete against many of the best racers in a series, and many of them will agree... to an extent. Some think that female racers CAN contend, but may NEVER beat the best racers in a series.

So as much as most would love to see a female racer contend with some of the big name male racers, very few actually cheer on and wish a female racer actually take down the best in the series. Some guys may not even think a female racer can win a race or finish strong enough to contend with the big boys. Some guys are even chauvinistic pigs that dislike the notion of a female racer beating the boys at their own game. I can appreciate talent more than most people who quickly hate on females in racing. Talent is talent regardless of gender. It's just too bad there are those that just don't give some or most female racers a fighting chance to win or finish high. If you love racing, regardless of who your favorite racers are, you support the hell out of that driver through good and bad.

--- More Opportunities for Females in Motorsport? ---

These days, I am more than pleased so many female racers are racing. I am not trying to be sexist or anything in saying that more females in a mostly male-dominant sport like any motorsport. I sometimes don't know why there are more females in racing. I think if you know how to drive a race car or are very fit to do competitive racing, nothing should hold you back in wanting to go racing. Or maybe it is just that not as many females are into racing as us males.

One of the most notable deals to me was the Women's Global GT Series. This former series featured the Panoz GT-RA piloted only by females. One of the many included American Cindi Lux and Venezuelan Milka Duno. This series featured female drivers between 1998 and 1999. Since 2000, and since being open to male drivers, it was since known as the Panoz Pro Series.

--- Females in Motorsport Notes ---

This is a basic digest of females in motorsport. This may be edited regularly to include certain interesting topics in regards to females in motorsport.

Earlier this year, an all-Swiss female team raced the #61 Matech Ford GT at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team for this car included Natacha Gachnang, Cyndie Allemann, and Rahel Frey. All three of these ladies were born in 1986. All three of these ladies were born in 1986. Their entry unfortunately did not finish as the car caught fire heading into the first chicane down the Hunaudieres (or Mulsanne Straight). Tough break for one of the better GT teams anywhere in the world at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.

• (added: November 13, 2010)
On October 23, 2010; a new record was set as the field of 36 NASCAR Trucks at Martinsville showcased the most female racers to qualify for the Kroger 200. Four women qualified for the Kroger 200. Here are the four ladies that qualified and competed in this race. Click on their names to visit their websites or fan page (if available): Jennifer Jo Cobb, Johanna Long, and twin sisters Angela Cope and Amber Cope all competed in that race.

• (added: July 19, 2011)
By reading through the latest edition of Teen Vogue magazine, I read about a young racer named Shannon McIntosh. More about her will be explained later in this blog post.

If I come across any other items, I'll be sure to add them to this blog post.

--- Women in Motorsport: [Some of] Today's Names ---

Here is a look at some notable females in racing today. I'll share some personal commentary on each one. You can visit their official websites (if available) if you see a bold heading with a hyperlink. I have only included female racers that I know of and/or have heard of.

NOTE: If you see the name of a certain racer with a hyperlink attached, that is an official website or page on a certain social networking site (such as Myspace or Facebook) that you can visit. Please click on each one to visit the racer's official homepage (if available).

--- Single-Seater ---

Danica Patrick.

Danica Patrick
^ from: - Danica Patrick. While an older picture, her passion to win (evidence in her eyes) remains to this day in all of her racing since stepping up to the IndyCar Series from the Atlantics.

You may remember I made mention to Danica Patrick in my "Sweet Petite!" blog entry. On a historic weekend whereas the final-ever Champ Car World Series race was held, Danica Patrick won her first (and so far, only) race at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway. The celebration was very funny. Danica, who stands all of 5'2" and weighs all of about 100 lbs., was given a trophy about a few inches shorter than her! The impact of her win was exceptional. I've never stopped believing in the Beloit, Wisconsin-born Danica Patrick. Even with everyone who found every reason to hate on her, I've ALWAYS believed in and respected Danica Patrick. I remember my heart rate going up seeing Danica either lead or challenge for the lead. When finishing in the Top 5 or in the Top 10, I'm proud for her. Even if failing to finish or finishing in a very low position, I'm still proud of her because she has winning drive and passion. I think an underestimated aspect of Danica Patrick is that she finishes races. This is the very least you can ask for any race car driver. It isn't common to see Danica get into much trouble or get out of races. She has talent for sure. Danica is very well equipped to win almost any race on any weekend. Maybe one thing I've learned about the 2005 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year is that she's not afraid to mix it up with racers. Evidence could be found when she got in Dan Wheldon's face. Her passion to win is intense. Almost as if she drives herself to win rather than seek some outside motivation.

Again, I've always believed in and supported Danica. I love watching her race and love watching her battle for position. And when she gets into NASCAR, I'm going to support her in finishing high and competing hard. She is currently one of my favorite race car drivers, let alone my favorite female race car driver. I think she will win a race again, and perhaps many more to come. I would most like to see her win the Indianapolis 500 or (a possible long shot) the IndyCar Series championship as she is still transitioning to NASCAR while still remaining competitive in the IndyCar Series.

Danica Patrick's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

Sarah Fisher.

Sarah Fisher
^ from: - Sarah Fisher from Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Sarah Fisher was the previous femme fatale of Indy car racing. When Danica was still trying to find her stride in the IndyCar Series, the one thing I've hinted on was that the one thing Danica hasn't done since Sarah Fisher was finish 2nd. I still respect Sarah Fisher today. Very talented racer she is, even if she's not in her form that she was in back in 2003.

Sarah Fisher's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

Simona di Silvestro.

Simona di Silvestro
^from: - Swiss race car driver Simona di Silvestro.

Swiss racer, Simona di Silvestro, is someone I am starting to appreciate more as I watch her in the IndyCar Series. She's won a few races in the Atlantics series. I think it will be a matter of time before Simona di Silvestro wins a race in IndyCar.

Ana Beatriz (or Bia Figueiredo).

Ana Beatriz Bia Figueiredo
^ from: - Ana Beatriz (Bia Figueiredo), talented race car driver from South America's factory of racing talent- Brazil.

Among many of the rookies at the 2010 Indy 500 was Brazil's Ana Beatriz. The 25-year old (born in 1985) won two races in Indy Lights. She finished 21st in her debut at the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year. In case you're wondering, her full name (thanks: Wikipedia) is Ana "Bia" Beatriz Caselato Gomes de Figueiredo.

Katherine Legge.

Katherine Legge
^ from: - British racing beauty Katherine Legge.

Katherine Legge was one of the most talented in the former Champ Car World Series. She is greatly talented and very capable in all of her racing. I'm honestly sorry I can't contribute much more than this description. I highly respect her ability.

Katherine Legge's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

Milka Duno.

Milka Duno
^ from:, by way of - the beautiful Venezuelan Milka Duno.

Venezuela's Milka Duno was someone I first heard of in sportscar racing. Her interest in racing developed rather late as she used to be a Naval engineer. She raced for Chamberlain Engineering in a Dodge Viper GTS-R back in 1999 or 2000. Then in 2001, I remember her for racing and doing well in the former LMP675 class for Dick Barbour Racing. She also has experience in a series called the World Series Light by Nissan (now known as the World Series by Renault). Milka has also raced in the Rolex Sportscar Series in a Daytona Prototype.

Now, she is a racer in the IndyCar Series. Unfortunately, she has underperformed severely in this series. Those who have criticized her think of her as a "moving chicane." And recently (as of July 26, 2010), she was put on probation for being very slow and not being very competitive. I absolutely hope she can improve her skill in this series. That's maybe even if she takes up another form of racing besides the IndyCar Series. I just want the best for Milka in her racing adventures.

(UPDATE: January 30, 2011) Milka Duno is nowadays testing the waters of stock car racing. She competed in a series of tests in ARCA. My best wishes are with her in doing her best in ARCA.

Milka Duno's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

Pippa Mann.

Pippa Mann
^ from: - Pippa Mann is going to be a fierce challenger in top-tier racing series if given the chance.

Born the same year as myself (1983; she was born on August 11, 1983), Pippa Mann races in the Firestone Indy Lights series. The British racer hails from London, England. Pippa Mann was only the second woman to win in the Indy Lights series, but she drove the wheels off of her car by winning pole position at Kentucky followed by a dominating performance in the main race. I think she can become a formidable racer in almost any series she takes part in. Star of the future material right here, folks.

Pippa Mann's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

Shannon McIntosh.

Meet a young Midwestern girl who may become a tour de force in racing. Shannon McIntosh is a young (born: July 24, 1989) lady from Miamisburg, Ohio, USA who has been racing since the age of five years old. Shannon's racing resumé contains some 100 or so wins. Could she be the next Danica Patrick? Could this pretty lady even reach legend status like Lyn St. James or Shirley Muldowney? Time will tell, but this young lady will certainly be one to watch for years to come.

Shannon McIntosh's blog (a Blogger/Blogspot blog! Yay!)
Shannon McIntosh's Facebook Fan Page
Follow Shannon McIntosh on Twitter!

--- Drag Racing ---

Angelle Sampey.

Angelle Sampey
^ from: - New Orleans native and talented drag racer, Angelle Sampey. Now retired.

When I first heard of her in 1999 or so, I've known her as Angelle Seeling. I've always known her as Angelle Seeling when I first got into racing in 1999. The New Orleans native has made her fame racing Pro Stock Bikes in the NHRA. While she is no longer active in the NHRA, I still regard this Louisianian as one of the most successful women in drag racing since Shirley Muldowney.

Lisa Kubo.

Lisa Kubo
^ from: - Lisa Kubo: fastest female import drag racer.

Lisa Kubo is a great import drag racer. I guess I know her best for racing a Saturn Ion in Pro FWD racing for the NDRA. The Californian is someone who I have respect for in drag racing.

Ashley Force-Hood.

Ashley Force-Hood
^ from: - Ashley Force-Hood.

John Force is one of the all-time greats in drag racing. The daughter of the 14-time Funny Car Champion, Ashley Force-Hood, is surely one of the best right now in Funny Car racing in the NHRA. I don't watch much of the NHRA much anymore, so I cannot say that I've seen her compete and win. She's definitely as competitive as her father. Sometimes, John Force and Ashley Force-Hood battle each other on the drag strip.

--- Stock Cars ---

Erin Crocker.

Erin Crocker
^ from: - Erin Crocker from Wilbraham, Massachusetts and a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Erin Crocker is certainly a talented and dedicated race car driver. The Massachusetts racer is a graduate of RPI and mostly races nowadays in lower-tier stock car racing series. She was once a developmental driver for Ford before going over to the Evernham Motorsports developmental program. Erin Crocker and Ray Evernham married last August.

Christi Passmore.

Christi Passmore
^ from: (best I could find) - This is Christi Passmore.
Christi Passmore is from Oklahoma. She is a young racer within the stock car ranks, mostly from ARCA. It is also pretty cool to be a race car driver and to have a last name of "Passmore."

--- Motorcycle Racing ---

Maria Costello.

Maria Costello Racing Facebook Fan Page (Alternate Site)
Maria Costello
^ from: - Maria Costello, a British motorcycle road racer.

Maria Costello is someone whom I've come across while playing "Suzuki TT Superbikes: Real Road Racing Championship." I did a random search online to learn more about her. The (born June 6, 1977)-year old is a British motorcycle racer from Northampton, England, United Kingdom. Her biggest claim to fame has been that she has been the fastest female (a Guinness World Record) for being posting the fastest mph around the famed Isle of Man TT course at 114.73 mph. That record, however, now belongs to Jenny Tinmouth. I know nothing more about her except what I've skimmed online in preparing this blog entry.

She's on YouTube! Check out

--- Touring Cars and Sportscar Racing ---

Vanina Ickx.

Vanina Ickx with Jacky
^ from: - Vanina Ickx alongside Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich.

When you are the daughter of a six-time 24 Hours of Le Mans outright winner like Jacky Ickx, you know you have quite a name to uphold. Vanina Ickx is a very good race car driver. The Belgian racer can mostly be found racing in DTM and in the Le Mans Series.

Liz Halliday.

Liz Halliday
^ from: - Liz Halliday, a lady that knows two varieties of horsepower.

Liz Halliday was someone I've heard of and seen in the American Le Mans Series. As much as she enjoys sportscar racing, the San Diego, CA, USA native also enjoys equestrian events with horses. She even moved to England to focus on equestrian events.

--- Drifting ---

Verena Mei.

Verena Mei
^ from: - Verena Mei, born in Pearl City, Hawaii, USA. Isn't she pretty? :) She has a cute voice as well.

Who says girls can't drift? Verena Mei knows how to get sideways and look cool doing it. This (born November 2, 1974)-year old Asian-American beauty from Pearl City, Hawaii, USA is a very good drifter. She was not only one of the first females to race in Formaula D, she is also the first Asian-American female to get an NHRA license. Verena is educated in a variety of racing disciplines. Away from racing, she is a model and an actress. She represents her own team, Stargirl Racing, which can be visited online at Stargirl Racing's website.

--- Touring Cars and Sportscar Racing ---

Susie Stoddart.

Susie Stoddart's Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)

^ from: - Susie Stoddart.

You can find British racer, Susie Stoddart, racing in Germany's premier motorsports series, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series. I don't know much more about the Brit except that she races in DTM.

Cindi Lux.

Cindi Lux
^ from: - Cindi Lux's racing resumé will astound you with how many races and championships she has won through her career.

I just read about this woman in preparing this blog entry. Cindi Lux has extensive racing experience and has plenty to show for it. The native of Aloha, Oregon is not only a race car driver, but she is also a team owner. She owns her own team, Lux Performance Group. Visit Cindi Lux's website to learn more about her highly successful and decorated career as a race car driver.

--- Women in Motorsport: [Some] Names of the Past ---

Now let's take a look at some of the ladies of speed. This section, however, is for those that are either retired or just not really racing much.

(NOTE: Most information from Wikipedia, except for personal commentary)

--- Stock Car ---

Lyn St. James.

Followers of Lyn St. James (Facebook, Alt. Site)
Lyn St. James
^ from: - Lyn St. James.

Lyn St. James is royalty to me. She was the hottest in American racing LONG before the likes of Danica Patrick or anybody. I wish I knew more about her racing career, though. I do know she's been a great Indy car racer as well as doing some rounds in IMSA sportscar racing back during the lovely GTP days.

Janet Guthrie.

Iowa's Janet Guthrie is credited as the first female to qualify for and compete in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. Even as Danica Patrick was coming up through the Indy car ranks, she was compared to the likes of Janet Guthrie and Lyn St. James.

Tammy Jo Kirk.

Tammy Jo Kirk
^ from: - With her pink-clad team, this was Tammy Jo Kirk in 1997 racing the #7 Lovable Bras Ford F-150.

I've never seen Tammy Jo Kirk race. I only heard of her when I was looking through a NASCAR catalog. The Georgia girl raced the #7 Lovable Bras Ford F-150 in 1997 in NASCAR Trucks. She's also a motorcycle racer, but I know nothing of her in motorcycles.

--- Drag Racing ---

Shirley Muldowney.

Shirley Muldowney
^ from: - the legendary drag racer Shirley Muldowney.

I would say that Vermont native, Shirley Muldowney, is perhaps the best female racer in any discipline of motorsport. She won three championships in NHRA's Top Fuel class of competition. She is truly one of the finest and a real trail blazer for women in motorsport (let alone in drag racing).

--- Rally/Off-Road ---

Michèle Mouton.

Michèle Mouton
^ from:, by way of - Michèle Mouton strapped in and ready to go in her Audi in the Group B days.

Had it not been for an Audi commercial, I would have known nothing of Michèle Mouton. I'd say she was probably one of the best females to pilot the wicked Group B rally cars. As I've read on Wikipedia, the French woman is now the FIA President of the Women and Motorsport Commission.

--- Touring Cars and Sportscar Racing ---

Carol Hollfelder.

Carol Hollfelder
^ from: - The Californian Carol Hollfelder was a paraplegic racing in (then) Speedvision World Challenge's GT series in a Ferrari F355.

Paraplegic racer, Carol Hollfelder, raced in the series known then as Speedvision World Challenge. A bio on notes that she got her injury after being in a motorcycle crash in 1987, sustaining a spinal cord injury. She used to be an equestrian before looking for a different kind of horsepower. I remember her best for racing a Ferrari F355 in Speedvision World Challenge's GT class. Just the fact that she has a desire to race despite being paraplegic is worth some love. Carol is a model of being able to race barrier-free. I have full respect for Carol and wish her the best in all of her endeavors.

Claudia Hürtgen.

Claudia Hürtgen
^ from: (best I could find) - Claudia Hürtgen standing beside her BMW race car.
Claudia Hürtgen of Germany is another racer I've heard a lot of, but never followed her career or know much about her. She has done an extensive deal of racing in touring cars and in sportscar racing.

Terri O'Connell (Honorable Mention!).

Terri O'Connell
^ from: - Terri O'Connell has over 500 victories in multiple forms of motorsport.

Finally, I give Honorable Mention to Terri O'Connell. Why? The reason why I am including her is because Terri... is a transsexual. She was born a man named J.T. Hayes from Mississippi. She had a sex change in 1992 and has even dated certain NASCAR drivers. Through her career (now retired), she has a total of over 500 wins in a variety of motorsport disciplines.

--- Women in Motorsport: Non-Racers, Special Mention, and... Those I COMPLETELY Forgot to Mention ---

These are either females that are not race car drivers, haven't raced, partake in motorsports for reporting and hosting, or things like that. I just want to make quick mention of some ladies that involve themselves in motorsport.

Crash Gladys.

Crash Gladys' Facebook Fan Page (Alt. Site)
Crash of SpeedFreaks is my favorite personality on SpeedFreaks. She's not afraid to express points however she can on the greatly popular SpeedFreaks program. Maybe the coolest thing about her is how she's basically grown up with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 is like Christmas for this Indianapolis native.

Jamie Howe.

Speed Channel reporter and host, Jamie Howe, is a young reporter for Speed Channel whom I've grown respectful of in her pit reporting. She was also the co-host for "Copart Sold in Seconds." Jamie works with passion in all of her work, speaking wonderfully with a warm smile and diamond-blue eyes. The Tennessee girl is always a treat to watch on TV.

Jamie Little.

I am a fan of Jamie Howe on Speed Channel. I am a fan of Jamie Little on the ESPN/ABC networks. I'm adding Jamie Little here as she won the 2008 Pro Celebrity Race outright on the streets of Long Beach. The Las Vegas native does a great job for ESPN.

Here are some racers I COMPLETELY forgot about (I'm sorry! Please forgive me! Please?):
Melanie Troxel, drag racer
Leilani Munter, stock car racer who is also an environmental activist
Andrea Robertson - racer for Robertson Racing in the American Le Mans Series (link goes to Robertson Racing's official site)
• The three racers that made up the all-female Swiss team for the #61 Matech Competition Ford GT: Natacha Gachnang, Cyndie Allemann, and Rahel Frey. All three of these ladies were born in 1986.

--- My Message to All the Female Racers Out There ---

Enjoy racing! Race as hard as you can and enjoy the thrill of racing. Perhaps your racing can inspire other females to enter the wonderful (and sometimes dangerous) world of racing.

If you are any of the ladies I mentioned in this blog post, I want to say hello to you and to show my appreciation for your racing! You are the ones to let females know they can follow their dreams and race as hard as any boy on the track.

Just for all the female racing fans and for all the female racers out there...

That concludes this blog entry. Want more on ladies in racing? I will work to provide some resources for all of you.
Auto Racing - Women's Sports Foundation
gearhead girls racing

A lot of these racers have books and other material. Allow me to provide Amazon material for you. I may work on "John's Shop Space" to include more items on Amazon featuring the females featured in this blog. For now, here are a few Amazon items to help push your love of racing further...

(~~~ John's Shop Space image link to appropriate topic ~~~)

NOTE: This section contains links to Amazon products. You are welcome to click on images and links to learn more about each item. You are free to order any items featured in this section or in any widget if you choose. Please see "An Important Amazon Note" in my blog's sidebar to see more information on any Amazon items shown.

THIS LINE (from left to right):
  1. "Danica - Crossing the Line." This book is a look at Danica Patrick from humble beginnings to the IndyCar superstar. I personally want to get this book myself.
  2. "The Ride of Your Life: A Racecar Driver's Journey." - Lyn St. James created this autobiography documenting on her long racing career in this book.
  3. "Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle." The autobiography of Janet Guthrie is this book here.
  4. "Shirley Muldowney's Tales from the Track." This book is a look at Shirley Muldowney and her illustrious career.
  5. "Nascar Women: At the Heart of Racing." From author, Denise Wood, this book looks at the impacts women have made in NASCAR.

Thank you for reading!

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John B. Marine said...


It´s not Jacky Icks alongside Vanina...It´s Dr.Wolfgang Ullrich..Head of Audi.Motorsport Germany...(as you see under the Photo)..:O)

PS:Legge & Stoddart unfortunately arent that competitive in Germany´s DTM....:O(

John B. Marine said...

Very well. I will make the needed changes. Thank you for reading!

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