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Honouring Some of the Fastest Women in Motorsport
March 8th is the day when we celebrate all the women around the world.  So, to show our appreciation for the fastest women in motorsport, we take a look through history and talk about their influence.

Honouring Some of the Fastest Women in Motorsport

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Camille du Gast - Of course, we will start with the first lady of motorsport, the one who paved the way. We take a trip back to 1901 to meet Camille du Gast, a wealthy French widow who loved extreme sports. She entered the history books as the first female presence in a motorsport race at the 1901 Paris-Berlin race. She started last but finished 33rd, overtaking 89 competitors while driving a 20-horsepower Panhard.

Maria Teresa de Filippis - We know the old saying: one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. In the case of Maria Teresa de Filippis, it was a small step for her, but one giant leap for all the women who dreamt about a career in Formula One.

Maria was born in Naples, where she began racing at the age of 22 after two of her brothers bet that she could not drive fast. She made her F1 debut at the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix, finishing tenth. De Filippis raced in five Grand Prix in her career, proving to the doubters (including her two brothers) that she was fast.

To understand the mentality of the people around that time, Maria was denied a entry at the 1958 French Grand Prix because " the only helmet a woman should wear is the one at the hairdresser's." That's what the French Grand Prix racing director told the media. What a wise and fun guy to be around.

Lella Lombardi - Sticking with Formula One, let's go back to the '74-'76 seasons and talk about the most successful lady in this sport, Lella Lombardi. Born in Italy, she bought her first racing car at the age of 24 to participate in the Formula Monza series.

Lombardi debuted in F1 at the British Grand Prix, using a privately entered Brabham. Unfortunately, she failed to qualify. Her career peaked a year later, when she finished six at the Spanish Grand Prix, being the only woman in history to score points in an F1 race. Well, it is half a point, but who is counting? Throughout her career, she entered a total of 17 races. Salute to you, Lella.

Michele Mouton - Around that time, the greatest lady in motorsport history, Michele Mouton, was winning the 2.0-liter class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans while beating four teams in larger engine classes. People took notice, and in 1981 she was selected as one of Audi Sport's drivers.

She drove her Audi Quattro to four wins in a World Rally Championship event. If that wasn't enough, in 1986, she conquered the longest and most challenging hill climb, Pikes Peak, setting a course record while driving a Quattro S1. When motorsport legends like Sir Stirling Moss and Niki Lauda say you are one of the best, well, you are.

Sabine Schmitz - She won the 1996 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Funny enough, she came back next year and retook the top spot. After Sabine retired from racing, she returned to her true love, the Nurburgring, where she completed tens of thousands of laps. This is where she received her nickname, "The Queen of Nurburgring."

Danica Patrick - The first and only woman to win an IndyCar race. She did this at the Indy Japan 300 in 2008. After starting tenth, Danica overtook seven competitors to finish third at the 2009 Indy 500, marking the best finish for a woman in the competition history. In addition, she claimed poles and podiums in NASCAR too.

Throughout history, women showed us they could be as fast as men (even quicker), regardless of the motorsport discipline. Still, a female presence on a racing scene is rare, but now we want to see a more balanced world with the appearance of the W series and other projects.

 
 
 
 
 

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