Female Racing Pioneers and Innovators

Shanel Drewe (Photo by Marc Waller)Although motorsports – for now and unfortunately the foreseeable future – is male-dominated, there have some been some brilliant pioneers for women in motor racing and here’s a list that we have selected in no particular order.

Thanks to http://innovationcompany.co.uk/ for helping us to collate this list of innovative women in motor racing.

Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis was the very first woman to drive in Formula 1, racing in 1958 and 1959, with a best position of 10th.

Sara Christian was the first female race car driver in NASCAR all the way back in 1949 – the very first NASCAR race, in fact.

Danica Patrick, if you know NASCAR, is an inspiration to all women who want to race men at death-defying speeds and she’s one of the highest paid sportswomen in the world with plenty of monetary success in the sport. Still the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race.

Lella Lombardi is still the only woman to have scored points in Formula 1, finishing sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuïc.

Lyn St. James began racing in 1973 and is one of only five women to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, winning rookie of the year in 1992.

Janet Guthrie was the first female driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 and is included in both the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame as Well as the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Michele Mouton was an expert rally driver who in 1981 became the first woman to win a round of the World Rally Championship (Rallye Sanremo) and won the German rally Championship in 1986.

Hellé Nice was many things from a dancer to a singer but is probably best known for her pioneering race driving career for Bugatti in the 20s and 30s.

Denise McCluggage was a pioneer for women in racing not only behind the wheel where she raced in several disciplines but also in motorsport journalism where she is still ranked one of the greatest.

Jutta Kleinschmidt won what some consider to be the toughest race in the world, the The Dakar, in 2001, driving for Mitsubishi.

Notable mentions should go to Pat Moss (Rally), Anne Hall (Rally), Milka Duno (Racing), Shirley Muldowney (Drag Racing), Molly Taylor (Rally), Sabine Schmitz (Racing)

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