James Brown sang a song and the first line goes something like this: “This is a man’s world! This is a man’s world! But it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl…” The world of motor racing has traditionally been dominated by men who have almost become brand ambassadors for the make of car that they drove. Ayrton Senna is easily linked to Ferrari in the same way that Lewis Hamilton is easily associated with McLaren.
Women have indeed graced the tracks and, despite what James sings, the world of motor racing does indeed have a place for the fairer sex in it. In this article, we have a look at some of the most famous female motor racing drivers to have ever graced the motor racing track.
First up on our female motor racing driver hall of fame is Sara Christian. She is a trailblazer in NASCAR. In 1949, Sara was the first woman to have ever completed a NASCAR-sanctioned event, which was something that she did at the Charlotte Speedway. Although she only took part in seven races, before hanging up her racing gloves, she broke the barriers for women in this sport.
Staying in the States, we go to another Sarah. Fisher made her name in the Indy Car Series and her career spanned 10 years – from 1999 to 2010. Although Sarah didn’t win any races, she is known for her determination and consistently going up against the best male drivers out there. By her breaking barriers in the Indy Car Series, she helped drivers – such as Danica Patrick and Simona De Silvestro – to get into the game and be successful.
Danica Patrick was the first woman to win a race in a major international open-wheeled, single-seater category. In addition, Danica won the third round of the Indy Car series in 2008 in Japan. While she led the Indianapolis 500 for a while, she ended up only finishing fourth.
Women In F1
Although women have enjoyed much success in NASCAR, as well as other forms of motor racing, they have not been as prolific in F1 racing, with only a handful of female drivers actually making the cut. These are:
- Maria Teresa de Filippis
- Leila Lombardi
- Divina Galica
- Desiré Wilson
- Giovanna Amati
This is not to say that a woman’s only role in F1 is as a wife or girlfriend of one of the drivers and the odds at Ausbet will illustrate this. Women are beginning to take a significant role in the administration of the teams. Monisha Kaltenborn ran the Sauber team and, as a result, become F1’s first female team principal. Other well-known women behinds the F1 scenes are Claire Williams, who is the deputy team principal at the Williams team, as well as Ruth Buscombe, who is a senior strategy engineer for the Sauber team.
So, motor racing has definitely been previously dominated by men. However, women are definitely rising up the ranks!