Though motorsports are considered as men’s sport, from time to time there have been women drivers who could prove their talents in the field. From NASCAR to Rally, we can find several examples of great women who represent the most successful female racers.
Hailie Degan is only 19 years old but she has already been driving in different car races for a few years. The daughter of motocross champion Brian Degan, she started at the age of 8 to race in off road youth events. Then she switched to stock car racing and won her first race in 2018. The young driver finished third in the overall ranking last year and has a great future ahead of her and can be on the list in a few year’s time. In her predecessors we find similarly talented women drivers who managed to race against men in more conservative periods.
7. Helle Nice, one of the first and most successful female racers
One of the first female racing drivers was French Helle Nice. She was originally a dancer but after her ski accident she tried herself in racing. It proved to be a great decision as she became successful in her new profession. Nice won her first all-female race in 1929 at the Autodrome de Montlhery where she also recorded the speed record for women. Following her fame, she joined the team of Bugatti and was competing in several smaller Grand Prix races against the fastest drivers of the time.
6. Pat Moss, winner of Rally races
The sister of Formula 1 driver Stirling Moss, Pat Moss was a great racing driver herself. In 1953 Moss started driving in club rallies before taking the sport more seriously. She won five European Ladies’ Rally Championships. Her biggest success was winning the Netherlands Tulip Rally in 1962 in a Mini Morris, but she also finished 3rd in the Acropolis rally and in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally. Moss was one of the most successful female rally drivers of all time with her three victories and seven podium finishes. We can see a British rally driver, Catie Munnings in the European Rally Championship at the moment. But she also took part in the Swedish WRC race this year.
5. Sabine Schmitz, the “Queen of Nurburgring”
The German racer started driving in Nurburgring where she grew up as a member of the hotel and restaurants owners Schmitz family. She won the 24 hour race in Nurburgring in 1996 and 1997 and finished in the top 10 three more times. This weekend Formula 1 will return to this famous track, where Lewis Hamilton is favored to win by online sportsbooks in the US. Schmitz also won the VLN endurance racing championship in 1998 and took part in the World Touring Car Championship in 2015 and 2016. Probably she is more known for her appearance in TV as she has been a presenter for BBC’s Top Gear since 2016.
4. Lyn St James, the IndyCar racer
One of the most popular drivers in IndyCar was Evelyn Gene Cornwall, alias Lyn St James. She had 11 CART and five Indy Racing League starts between 1992 and 2000. She qualified for Indianapolis 500 and became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award at the age of 45. St James was also driving in other events, like the 24 hours Le Mans and 24 hours Nurburgring. While she also had two class victories at the 24 hours of Daytona. St James was the winner of the 12 hours of Sebring race in 1990. A very impressive list along her later work as the founder of Women In the Winner’s Circle foundation which helps the development of talented young women in racing.
3. Shirley Muldowney, one of the fastest women driver
Changing to a different type of racing, Shirley Muldowney was the first woman to receive a license to drive a Top Fuel dragster. These cars are the quickest accelerating cars in the world and can reach the speed of 539km/h. In 1975 Muldowney became the first woman member of the Auto Racing All-American team. She also won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982. She became the first driver to win three titles in this tournament and one the most successful female racers of all time.
2. Danica Patrick, first to start from pole position in Nascar
Danica Patrick had a successful career in one of the most famous car racing, at NASCAR. She was the first woman to start in pole position at Daytona 500 in 2013. But she achieved successes before as well in the open-wheel racing of IndyCar. Patrick became the first woman to win a race in 2008 in the series, the Indy Japan 300. She also finished third in the Indianapolis 500 in 2009, which is still the best result achieved by a woman. Online gambling sites in the US offer odds for the last race of the season in St Petersburg, Florida at the end of October.
1. Michele Mouton, runner-up in the 1982 WRC
We listed another rally driver, Michele Mouton on the top of our list. The French driver competed in the World Rally Championship for Audi and finished as a runner-up in the drivers’ championship in 1982. She won three races in that year and finished on the podium one more time. Mouton first competed in circuit racing and won a class in the 24 hour Le Mans race in 1975. Then she was racing in the European Rally Championship when Audi signed her in 1981. Following her great results in the WRC, she moved to Peugeot. She won the German Rally Championship as the first female driver. After retiring Mouton remained in the sport and became the first president of the FIA’s Women and Motor Sport Commission in 2010.