Women are usually known for being very beautiful, having the best voice, cooking the tastiest meals, wearing the latest trends in fashion, so on and so forth. But some of them are big time car enthusiasts, who love car racing. They love their cars, and take pride in owning a nice vehicle, but even more test them to the best of their performance. Then there are those who chose racing cars as their profession, and in their memory here’s a collection of the 11 most popular female race car drivers to date.
11 Most Popular Female Race Car Drivers
This is a list of the most famous female race car drivers of all time. These are mostly women who have been very famous in the past, but still very well known today in the racing world. Many of these even participated being female NASCAR drivers. So these include the most well known professional car racers who are women, who deserve recognition today.
Was the first female race car driver in NASCAR history. She competed in NASCAR’s first race, which took place at Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949. That same year she and her husband Frank became the only husband and wife team to compete in a NASCAR event. Frank finished in 6th place while she was 18th.
Initially working as a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, her racing adventure began in the 1950’s when she bought her first MG TC sports car. In 1954 she started writing for the New York Herald Tribune as a sports journalist while also taking part in professional races. Her most notable achievements include finishing in 1st place in the GT category at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1961 and in 1st place at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Ford Falcon. McCluggage’s racing career ended in the late 1960’s but she remained the only journalist to be included in the Automotive Hall of Fame.
This famous Grand Prix car racing driver was actually named Mariette Hélène Delangle. Hellé Nice was her stage name while she performed as a dancer in cabarets around Europe. Unfortunately, her dancing career ended in 1928 after a skiing accident and Nice dived into professional car racing winning an all-female Grand Prix race at Autodrome de Montlhéry in 1929. Nice is also known as “The Bugatti Queen” since she joined Ettore Bugatti’s team of racing drivers in 1931 being the only female on the Grand Prix circuit for several years.
She is the first woman to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race in 1976 and the first female driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 in 1977. Guthrie’s notable achievements got her included in the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Also known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing”, she is the first woman to be licensed by the National Hot Rod Association and the first to drive a top fuel dragster. Throughout her racing career, Muldowney won a staggering 18 NHRA national events after which she retired in 2003.
Lyn St. James
Started her racing career in 1973 and is known for being the first woman to win a solo North American professional road race at Watkins Glen, New York, in 1985. She was also one of five women to successfully qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award in 1992. Lyn retired in 2001 and wrote a book titled “Ride of Your Life”.
Her 2nd place in the Venezuelan GT Championship in 1996 marked the beginning of a successful career in car racing. Duno won the Miami Grand Prix in 2004, which made her the first woman to win an international sports car race in North America. Another important achievement came in 2007 when she finished in 2nd place in the 24 Hours of Daytona, making this the highest finish for a woman in the history of the race.
Danica Sue Patrick
She is known to be one of the most successful women in the history of US open-wheel racing. The reason for this is that Danica is the only woman to have won the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, marking the only women’s victory in an IndyCar Series race. Also, her third place in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 is the highest ever reached by a woman. And that’s not all… in 2013, she became the first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.
She started her rallying career in 1973 as co-pilot, but soon moved into the driver’s seat winning a number of French and European Ladies Championship titles and the Rally of Spain in 1977. Four years later, in 1981, Mouton won Rallye Sanremo and became the first woman to win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship. She was Vice-champion in the 1982 FIA World Rally Championship and Winner of the German Rally Championship in 1986.
She was one of the most famous female race car drivers in Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s. She began her racing career together with her sister, Mary Newton, in a Jaguar XK 120. They were known as the “mad Newton sisters” because of their speed and excellent driving skills. In 1953 they won the Ladies’ Cup at the London Motor Rally. In 1954, Hall won the Ladies’ Cup at the International Viking Rally held in Norway. Later on that year, they won the Ladies’ Cup in the Dutch Tulip Rally and, in 1955, the Coupe des Dames at Monte Carlo.
She is the sister of Formula One legend Stirling Moss and one of the most notorious female race car drivers of all time. Pat began her driving career in club rallies in 1953 and, over time, gathered an impressive portfolio, finishing in 1st place in the European Ladies’ Rally Championship five times, the Coupe des Dames on the Monte Carlo Rally eight times and scoring the Mini Cooper’s first big rally victory in the Tulip Rally of 1962.
This completes the list of the most popular female race car drivers, hope you liked it!