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Celebrating Successful Women Racing Drivers

Female Racing Drivers

On March 8th, countries all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. This annual celebration, dating back to 1909, is a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for all their achievements, be they economic, political or social.

If you ask anyone to name a famous racing driver they will probably be able to name a few; however, it is far more likely that the drivers they can name will be male. Yet, there are many women drivers who have been very successful in the world of motor racing – so successful in fact, that between them they have won numerous championships and titles.

Anne Hall one of Britains best known women racing drivers

women racing drivers - Anne rallying a Ford Anglia, 1962

Women Racing Drivers – Anne rallying a Ford Anglia, 1962

During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Hall was one of Britain’s best-known rally drivers. Nicknamed the Queen of Monte Carlo, she won the Ladies Cup at the International Viking Rally and the Ladies Cup at the Dutch Tulip Rally in 1954, the Coupe des Dames at Monte Carlo in 1955 and again in 1961. In 1988 at the age of 72, she competed in the Pirelli Classic Marathon a 2,300-mile round trip, winning the women’s sections and placing 18th out of 104 finishers.

Jutta Kleinschmidt

In 2001 Jutta Kleinschmidt won what is arguably the most gruelling race in the world, the Famous Dakar Rally. She was the first woman ever to do so.

Shirley Muldowney

Nicknamed the First Lady of Drag Racing, and rightly so, over the course of her career Muldowney won a staggering 18 NHRA national events. She also won the highly prized NHRA Top Fuel Championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982, not only was she the first woman to win the title but also the first person to win it three times.

We know Stirling but do you know Pat Moss the women racing driver?

A surname well known in racing circles, Pat the sister of Formula One legend Stirling Moss, has a very impressive string of wins to her name; 1st place in the European Ladies’ Rally championship five times, the Coupe des Dames at Monte Carlo a staggering eight times and taking Mini Cooper to their first big rally win in 1962 at the Tulip Rally.

women racing drivers - Pat Moss

Pat Moss one of the better known women racing drivers

Michele Mouton

With a rallying career that started in 1973 Michele Mouton won 162 stages in WRC over the course of 13 years. The first woman to win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, she was vice-champion in the FIA Word Rally Championship in 1982, and then in 1986 winner of the German Rally Championship. In 2011, she became the president of the FIA Women and Motor Sport Commission.

Denise McCluggage

In 1954 McCluggage was working as a sports journalist whilst taking part in professional races. She was winner of the Nassau Ladies race in December 1956 and then again in 1957, finished 1st in the GT category of the Sebring 12-hour race in 1961, was the winner of the Copa de Damas at the Grand Prix of Venezuela and placed 1st in her class in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. She is the only journalist to have ever been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Sabine Schmitz Top Gear Women racing driver

Sabine has become known to us from appearing on various occasions on Top Gear, generally putting all the men to shame.  She has won several German races and was the first women to win the 24 hours Nurburgring in 1996/7.  

So, the next time someone says women can’t drive, don’t forget to bring up the names of these women – they certainly taught men on the racetracks a thing or two!


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