Sunday, 27 March 2011

Female Drivers in the 12 Hours of Sebring: Part II, 1980-present

Deborah Gregg

In 1999, the stewardship of the 12 Hours of Sebring passed from IMSA to the American Le Mans Series, which currently runs the race. It has also been part of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup since 2010.

Women drivers have continued to enter the race most years, with some success, although there was another serious lull in their numbers in the early 1990s. Liz Halliday is the race's most successful female driver, after her second place in 2007 with Clint and Jon Field. However, Lyn St. James has recorded several class wins and top ten finishes, as well as seven separate entries, which is a female record.

Below is a list of the more recent women's results. As always, the female driver is always mentioned first in the case of a mixed team, for clarity.

Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/James Moxley (Porsche 911) - 24th
Lyn St. James/Ralph Kent-Cooke (Porsche 935) - 49th

Kathy Rude/Divina Galica (Mazda RX-7) - 31st
Vicki Smith/Tom Alan Marx/Bob Lee (AMC AMX) - 42nd
Elizabeth Kleinschmidt/Charles Kleinschmidt/Alan Levenson (Chevrolet Corvette) - 70th (withdrawn)

Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/Scott Flanders (Porsche 911) - 22nd
Desiré Wilson/Janet Guthrie/Bonnie Henn (Ferrari 512 BB/LM) - 26th

Lyn St. James/Reggie Smith/Drake Olsen (Nimrod NRA-C2) - 5th
Deborah Gregg/Kathy Rude/Bonnie Henn (Porsche 924 Carrera) - 35th
Carmen Lista/David Marks/Roy Newsome/Bobby Diehl (Chevrolet Camaro) - 47th
Patty Moise/Tom Nehl/Nelson Silcox (Chevrolet Camaro) - 60th
Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/Scott Flanders (Porsche 911) - 68th

Deborah Gregg/Jim Trueman/Alfredo Mena (Porsche 924 Carrera) - 63rd
Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/Arvid Albanese (Porsche 911) - 65th

Patty Moise/Les Delano/Andy Petery (Pontiac Firebird) - 9th

Patty Moise/Les Delano/Jeremy Nightingale (Chevrolet Camaro) - 12th

Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Lance Jones (Tiga GT285) - 15th
Lyn St. James/Tom Gloy (Ford Mustang) - 31st

Lyn St. James/Deborah Gregg (Mercury Merkur XR4Ti) - 8th
Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Jim Miller (Spice SE88P) - 51st

Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Tom Blackaller (Spice SE88P) - 25th

Lyn St. James/Calvin Fish/Robby Gordon (Mercury Cougar XR-7) - 6th, class win
Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot (Spice SE88P) - did not start, fire in qualifying

Bernadette Hubbard/Ludwig Heimrath, Jr./Ken McKinnon/Tom Rathbun (Porsche 944) - 42nd

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) - 9th
Linda Pobst/Kat Teasdale/Leigh Miller (Chevrolet Camaro) - 42nd

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Ulli Richter (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) - 47th

Claudia Hürtgen/Michel Ligonnet/Zak Brown/Dirk Layer (Porsche 911 GT2) - 10th
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Ulli Richter (Porsche 964) - 14th

Lyn St. James/Jeret Schroeder/Tom Volk (Kudzu DL-4) - 17th
Giovanna Amati/Craig Carter/Andy Petery (BMW M3) - 32nd

Melanie Snow/Martin Snow/Patrick Huisman (Porsche 911 GT2 Evo) - 9th, class win
Claudia Hürtgen/Hubert Haupt/Zak Brown (Porsche 911 GT2) - 39th

Claudia Hürtgen/Hubert Haupt/Vic Rice (Porsche 911 GT2) - 31st

Claudia Hürtgen/Mel Hawkins/Steve Knight (Lola B2K/40) - 30th, class win

Milka Duno/Scott Maxwell/John Graham (Panoz LMP07) - 45th

Melanie Paterson/Jason Workman/Ben Devlin (Lola B2K/40) - 47th

Milka Duno/Justin Wilson/Phil Andrews (Lola B2K/10) - 22nd
Amanda Stretton/Christopher Stockton/Gareth Evans (TVR Tuscan)  -24th

Liz Halliday/Clint Field/Gareth Ridpath (Lola B2K/40) - 33rd

Liz Halliday/Clint Field/Jon Field (Lola B05/40) - 2nd, class win

Liz Halliday/Darren Turner/Antonio Garcia (Aston Martin DBR9) - 11th
Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/Arie Luyendyk, Jr. (Panoz Esperante GTLM) - 34th

Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/David Murry (Ford GT-R) - 24th

Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/David Murry (Ford GT-R Mk.7) - 14th

Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/David Murry (Ford GT-R Mk.7) - 22nd

Andrea Robertson/David Robertson/Boris Said (Doran Ford GT) - 26th

Keiko Ihara/Jean-Denis Deletraz/Frederic Fatien (Lola B12/80 Coupe) - DNF

Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Gabby Chaves (DeltaWing DWC13) - DNF
Christina Nielsen/Henrique Cisneros/Kuba Giermaziak (Porsche 911 GT America) - DNF

Christina Nielsen/James Davison/Brandon Davis (Aston-Martin V12 Vantage) - 16th
Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Memo Rojas (DeltaWing DWC13) - DNF

Keiko Ihara/Ben Devlin/Joel Miller/Tom Long (Mazda Prototype) - 8th
Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Sean Rayhall (DeltaWing DWC13) - 21st
Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Jeff Segal (Ferrari 458 Italia) - 22nd
Ashley Freiberg/Jens Klingmann/Bret Curtis (BMW M6 GT3) - 23rd

Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Matteo Cressoni (Ferrari 488) - 17th
Katherine Legge/Andy Lally/Mark Wilkins (Acura NSX) - 30th

Christina Nielsen/Patrick Long/Robert Renauer/Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R) - 22nd
Katherine Legge/Alvaro Parente/Trent Hindman (Acura NSX GT3) - 24th

(Image from

Female Drivers at the 12 Hours of Sebring: Part I, 1955-1979

Anita Taylor, Donna Mae Mims and Janet Guthrie in 1966 (not at Sebring)

The 12 Hours of Sebring is the second-oldest sportscar race on the calendar, after Le Mans. It has run almost continuously since 1952, with only one break, caused by the 1974 energy crisis.
After one year as a non-championship event, the 12 Hours was run as a World Sportscar Championship round between 1953 and 1972, when it became an IMSA GT event. Its early-season position makes it a favoured early shakedown for Le Mans.

Beginning in 1955, women drivers have competed at Sebring in most runnings, although there was a lull in the 1970s. Below are their results between 1955 and 1979. Denise McCluggage was the most frequent starter during this period, and Isabelle Haskell has the highest finish: eighth, with a class win.

The rest follows here.

Isabelle Haskell/Dick Irish (Bandini) - DNF
Greta Oakes/Sydney Oakes (Austin-Healey 100M) - DNF

Margaret Wyllie/M.R.J. Wyllie (Lotus Mk IX) - 24th
Isabelle Haskell/Alejandro de Tomaso (Maserati 150S) - DNF

Gilberte Thirion/Nadège Ferrier/G. Spydel (Renault Dauphine) - 35th
Evelyn Mull/John B. Mull (AC Ace) - DNF
Margaret Wyllie/M.R.J. Wyllie/Charles Moran (Lotus Eleven Le Mans) - disqualified
Isabelle Haskell/Alejandro de Tomaso (OSCA MT4 750) - DNF

Isabelle Haskell/Alejandro de Tomaso/Robert Ferguson (OSCA S750) - 8th, class win
Denise McCluggage/Ruth Levy (Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato) - DNF
Margaret Wyllie/M.R.J. Wyllie/Chuck Dietrich (Elva Mk. II) - DNS (accident in practice)

Isabelle Haskell/Alejandro de Tomaso/Denise McCluggage/Ricardo Rodriguez (OSCA S750) - 18th
Smokey Drolet/Fred Lieb (Turner 750 Sport) - 43rd
Margaret Wyllie/M.R.J. Wyllie/Skip Lange (Elva Mk. IV) - DNF

Denise McCluggage/Marianne “Pinkie” Windridge (OSCA 187S) - DNF

Denise McCluggage/Allan Eager (Ferrari 250 GT) - 10th, class win
Peggy Gelder/Ed Gelder/Jim Fuller (Elva Courier) - 35th

Denise McCluggage/Allan Eager (OSCA S1000) - DNF

Denise McCluggage/Christabel Carlisle (MG B) - DNF

Donna Mae Mims/Alan Pease (Austin-Healey Sprite) - DNF

Donna Mae Mims/John Luke (Yenko Stinger) - DNF

Denise McCluggage/Marianne “Pinkie” Windridge (Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Spyder) - 17th
Suzy Dietrich/Donna Mae Mims (ASA 411) - not classified
Smokey Drolet/Anita Taylor (Alpine-Renault A110) - not classified
Liane Engeman/Janet Guthrie (Matra Djet 5S) - not classified

Janet Guthrie/Liane Engeman (AMC Javelin) - not classified
Donna Mae Mims/Michael Summers (Yenko Stinger) - not classified

Janet Guthrie/Donna Mae Mims/Liane Engeman (Austin-Healey Sprite) - 23rd
Smokey Drolet/Rosemary Smith (BMW 2002) - 26th

Janet Guthrie/Rosemary Smith/Judy Kondratieff (Austin-Healey Sprite) - 19th, class win
Donna Mae Mims/Jim Corwin (Chevrolet Corvette) - 21st

Janet Guthrie/Rosemary Smith/Jennifer Birrell (Chevron B16) - DNF

No race due to fuel crisis

Janet Guthrie/Stephen Behr (Chevrolet Monza) - 63rd

Lyn St. James/Luis Sereix/Phil Currin (Chevrolet Corvette) - 17th
Kathy Wallace/Tom Wallace/Gene Rutherford (Oldsmobile Cutlass) - 53rd

Bonnie Henn/Lyn St. James/Janet Guthrie (Ferrari 365 GTB/4) - 17th

(Image from

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Female Drivers in the Andros Electric Trophy, 2010-2011 season

Marguerite Laffite

The Andros Electric Trophy for electric-powered cars was a new addition for 2009, and has now replaced the buggy class that formed the basis for "Ice Girls". The Electric Trophy attracted several female drivers this time, including several who were involved in various ways with Ice Girls, from former champion Margot Laffite to TV presenter Nathalie Marquay, who did promotional work for the Trophy previously. Below are their results.

Due to a recurring error, it has not been possible to display full results for this series on this blog.

Elodie Gossuin 14th
Nathalie Marquay 18th
Anne-Christine Horent 22nd

(Image copyright Bernard Bakalian)

Female Drivers in the Andros Trophy, 2010-2011 season

Berenice Demoustier

After the discontinuation of the Andros Trophy's "Ice Girls" women's championship, female drivers have continued to compete in the French-based ice-racing classic. The 2010-2011 season was no different. Berenice Demoustier, an Ice Girls graduate and previous Elite class competitor, was the ladies' champion. Although Anne-Sophie Lemonnier won a race and appeared to score better results, Berenice managed to get into the Elite Superior finals, making her points haul higher than her rival's. Below is a list of all of the female results of the main Andros Trophy.

Val Thorens
Day 1 Elite Final 1
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 3rd
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 6th

Day 1 Elite Final 2
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 6th

Day 2 Elite Final 1
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 5th
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 6th

Day 2 Elite Final 2
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 4th

Day 1 Elite Final 1
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 4th

Day 2 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 2nd

Alpe d'Huez
Day 1 Elite Final 1
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 2nd

Day 1 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 3rd

Day 1 Elite Superior Final 2
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 7th

Day 2 Elite Final 1
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 1st
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 3rd

Day 2 Elite Superior Final 1
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 7th

Isola 2000 Alpes Maritimes
Day 1 Elite Final 1
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 5th

Day 1 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 3rd
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 4th

Day 2 Elite Final 1
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 4th

Day 2 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 4th
Emilie Petit (Fiat Stilo) - 7th

Day 1 Elite Final 1
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 4th

Day 1 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 2nd

Day 2 Elite Final 2
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 4th
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 5th

Clermont Superbesse
Day 1 Elite Final 2
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 5th
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 7th

Lans en Vercors
Day 1 Elite Final 1
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 2nd

Day 2 Elite Final 1
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 6th

Day 2 Elite Final 2
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 5th

Stade de France
Elite Final 1
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier (BMW 1 Series) - 3rd

Elite Superior Final 1
Berenice Demoustier (Toyota Auris) - 8th


Berenice Demoustier 19th
Anne-Sophie Lemonnier 22nd
Emilie Petit 29th

(Image from

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Female Drivers in the Daytona 24 Hours

Tomiko Yoshikawa at Daytona in 1993, when she raced with Desiré Wilson

The Daytona 24-Hour sportscar race is the traditional curtain-opener on the international motor racing scene, held in the last week of January, or the first week of February, each year. Only two races, in 1972 and 1974, have been cancelled or shortened.

It was first run in 1966, after four successful, shorter international sportscar races in the early season. Originally, it was part of the World Sportscar Championship, but this ceased in 1982. Between then and 1992, it was run by IMSA, then the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. It is currently sponsored by Rolex.
Women racers have taken part in most editions, in varying numbers, although sadly, fewer in the past few years. In the past, many notable women have entered, including Lyn St. James, the woman with the most starts, Smokey Drolet, Kathy Rude and Lilian Bryner. Milka Duno scored the best result in 2007 - second - and Lilian Bryner had a string of consistent top-five finishes in the 1990s. Usually, these entries were part of mixed teams, although all-female crews took part in 1966, 1967, 1977 and 1994.

Below is a list of all women drivers who have taken part, by year. In the case of a mixed team, the woman's name always comes first, for clarity.

Rosemary Smith/Smokey Drolet (Sunbeam Alpine) - 30th
Janet Guthrie/Donna Mae Mims/Suzy Dietrich (Sunbeam Alpine) - 32nd

Anita Taylor/Janet Guthrie/Smokey Drolet (Ford Mustang) - 20th
Donna Mae Mims/Suzy Dietrich (ASA 411) - not classified

Smokey Drolet/John Tremblay/Vince Gimondo/John Belperche (Chevrolet Corvette C2) - 16th, class win

Smokey Drolet/Norbert Mastandrea/Rajah Rodgers (Chevrolet Camaro) - 25th
Donna Mae Mims/Jim Corwin/Fred Pipen (Chevrolet Camaro Z) - DNF

No race

No race

Christine Beckers/Lella Lombardi (Inaltera Ford) - 47th

Janet Guthrie/Hugh Kleinpeter/Jef Stevens (De Tomaso Pantera) - qualified, but did not start

Anny-Charlotte Verney/Skeeter McKitterick/Bob Garretson (Porsche 935) - 9th
Lyn St. James/Mark Welch/Tom Winters (Mazda RX-7) - 17th
Kathy Rude/Tom Nehl/Peter Kirill (Chevrolet Camaro) - 25th
Christine Beckers/Kenper Miller/Dave Cowart (BMW M1) - 47th

Kathy Rude/Philippe Martin/Lee Mueller (Mazda RX-7) - 7th
Gail Engle/Philip Keirn/Bard Boand (Chevrolet Corvette) - 36th
Vicki Smith/ Sam Miller/Bob Lee (AMC AMX) - 56th

Kathy Rude/Lee Mueller/Allan Moffat (Mazda RX-7) - 6th (class win)
Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/Scott Flanders (Porsche 911) - 25th
Desiré Wilson/Marty Hinze/Preston Henn (Porsche 935 K3) - 45th

Kathy Rude/Bonnie Henn/Deborah Gregg (Porsche 924 Carrera) - 13th
Vicki Smith/Klaus Bitterauf/Scott Flanders (Porsche 911) - 35th
Lyn St. James/John Graham/Drake Olson (Nimrod NRA/C2) - 44th

Margie Smith-Haas/Paul Gilgan/John Zouzelka (Porsche 911 Carrera) - 27th
Vicki Smith/Carlos Ramirez/Jack Miller (Nimrod NRA/C2) - 49th
Deborah Gregg/Jim Trueman/Alfredo Mena (Porsche 924 Carrera GTR) - 69th

Lyn St. James/Tim Coconis/Eric Lang (Argo JM16) - 68th

Deborah Gregg/Mike Brockman/Steve Durst/Jim Trueman (Tiga GT285) - 47th 

Lyn St. James/Scott Pruett/Bill Elliot/Tom Gloy (Ford Mustang) - 7th, class win
Deborah Gregg/Scott Pruett/Scott Goodyear/Bobby Akin (Ford Mustang) - 9th
Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Jim Brown (Tiga GT285) - 16th

Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Jim Brown (Spice SE88P) - 43rd
Lyn St. James/Deborah Gregg/Mark Martin/Pete Halsmer (Mercury Capri) - 44th

Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/John Williams (Spice SE88P) - 26th
Lyn St. James/David Loring/Marty Roth (Ford Mustang Probe) - qualified but did not start

Lyn St. James/Robby Gordon/Calvin Fish (Mercury Cougar XR-7) - 5th, class win
Linda Ludemann/Scott Schubot/Tomas Lopez (Spice SE88P) - 17th

Tomiko Yoshikawa/Desiré Wilson/Ron Fellows/Pieter L. Baljet (Ford Mustang) - 47th

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro/Ruggero Grassi (Porsche 911 Carrera) - 15th
Kat Teasdale/Leigh Miller/John Graham (Porsche 968) - 17th
Tammy Jo Kirk/David Murry/Angelo Cilli/Anthony Lazzaro (Porsche 911) - 34th
Linda Pobst/Kat Teasdale/Margy Eatwell/Tami Rai Busby/Leigh O’Brien (Chevrolet Camaro) - 47th

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro/Ulli Richter (Porsche 911 Carrera) - 5th, class win
Margie Smith-Haas/Craig T. Nelson/Ross Bentley/Dan Clark (Spice SE90) - 62nd

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro/Ulli Richter (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) - 4th, class win

Claudia Hürtgen/Ralf Kelleners/Patrice Goueslard/André Ahrlé (Porsche 911 GT2) - 4th, class win
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro/Ulli Richter (Porsche 964) - 22nd

Lyn St. James/Jeret Schroeder/Pete Halsmer/Tom Volk (Kudzu DL-4) - 25th

Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Renato Mastropietro/Carl Rosenblad (Ferrari 333 SP) - 4th
Claudia Hürtgen/Stéphane Ortelli/Enrico Bertaggia/Robert Nearn (Porsche 911 GT2) - 25th

Allison Duncan/Christian Vann/Stephen Watson/Raffaele Sanguiolo (Dodge Viper GTS-R) - 6th
Claudia Hürtgen/Hubert Haupt/Hisashi Wada/Robert Nearn/Nigel Smith/Stephen Earle (Porsche 911 GT2) - 55th
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Angelo Zadra/Marco Zadra/Carl Rosenblad (Ferrari 333 SP) - 64th

Kim Hiskey/Hugh Plumb/Michael Culver (Porsche 996 GT3) - 10th
Milka Duno/David Gooding/Raffaele Sanguiolo/Stefano Zonca (Dodge Viper GTS-R) - 31st
Claudia Hürtgen/Robert Orcutt/Jürgen Lorenz/Heinrich Langfermann (Porsche 996 GT3) - 42nd
Lilian Bryner/Enzo Calderari/Ulli Richter/Jürgen Alzen (Porsche 996 GT3-R) - 52nd

Kim Hiskey/Randy Pobst/Steven Ivankovich/Spencer Pumpelly (Porsche 996 GT3) - 73rd

Mae van Wijk/Tracy Krohn/Ron Forristall/Andres van der Dys/Armando Trentini (Porsche 993 GT3 Cup) - 31st
Milka Duno/Robby Gordon/Doug Goad/Stéphane Grégoire (Crawford DP03) - 35th

Maria de Villota/Luca Drudi/Luis Monzon/Gabrio Rosa (Ferrari 360 Modena) - 24th
Milka Duno/Dario Franchitti/Marino Franchitti/Dan Wheldon (Crawford DP03) - 33rd
Mae van Wijk/Dave Gaylord/David Murry/Rod Emory (Porsche 996 GT3 Cup) - 39th

Milka Duno/Dario Franchitti/Marino Franchitti/Kevin McGarrity(Riley Mk XI) - 8th
Danica Patrick/Jan Lammers/Rusty Wallace/Allan McNish (Crawford DP03) - 50th

Milka Duno/Patrick Carpentier/Darren Manning/Ryan Dalziel (Riley Mk XI) - 2nd
Katherine Legge/George Robinson/Paul Dallenbach/Wally Dallenbach Jr (Riley Mk XI) - 25th

Danica Patrick/Andy Wallace/Casey Mears/Rob Finlay (Crawford DP08) - 8th

Melanie Snow/Madison Snow/Sascha Maassen/Marco Seefried/Klaus Bachler (Porsche GT3 Cup) - 19th

Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Gabby Chaves/Alexander Rossi (DeltaWing) - DNF

Christina Nielsen/Christoffer Nygaard/Brandon Davis/James Davison (Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3) - 29th
Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Gabby Chaves/Memo Rojas (DeltaWing) - DNF

Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Jeff Segal/Robert Renauer (Ferrari 458 GT3) - 20th
Sabine Schmitz/Klaus Abbelen/Patrick Huisman/Frank Stippler/Sven Muller (Porsche 911 GT3R) - 27th
Ashley Freiberg/Bret Curtis/Jens Klingmann/Marco Wittman (BMW M6) - 48th
Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick/Sean Rayhall/Andreas Wirth (Panoz DeltaWing) - DNF

Katherine Legge/Andy Lally/Graham Rahal/Mark Wilkins (Acura NSX GT3) - 29th
Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Sam Bird/Matteo Cressoni (Ferrari 488 GT3) - DNF

(Image source unknown)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Claudine Trautmann (also Vanson-Bouchet; born Claudine Bouchet)

Claudine was a multiple French champion, active from the 1950s to the 1970s. She won the French national title nine times, between 1960 and 1968, with the Citroen and Lancia teams. During this time, her participation in non-French events was mostly as co-driver to her second husband, René Trautmann.

She was not from a motorsport background, but a generally sporting one. Skiing was her sport of choice before taking up rallying. She was working in her father’s clock business when she entered her first rally, driving her own Simca Aronde. This was at the suggestion of a friend, who worked as a Simca dealer, who had noticed Claudine’s flair for driving. She was a surprising fourth overall, and first in the Touring class. This was no local club rally either, but the Mont Blanc International Rally. In order to even enter, she had had to engage the services of Lise Renaud, an experienced navigator with the correct license. An entry in the Rally of Beaujolais followed, which led to a drive in the Tour de Corse, encouraged by René Cotton. Sadly, the Aronde lost a wheel early on.

Still in the Simca, she continued to enter French rallies in 1958, winning Coupes des Dames in the Mont Blanc. Limousin and Lavande rallies. During her travels, she met Patrick Vanson, another French driver, and the pair married. This cut short Claudine’s driving opportunities somewhat, but she returned to the stages in 1959, her marriage in no way curtailing her ambition. This year, she entered her first Monte Carlo Rally, although she did not finish. After Coupes des Dames in the Mont Blanc, Limousin and Printemps rallies, she was second in the French ladies’ championship, after Annie Soisbault.

1960 saw her take another step on the road to international rally glory. Another meeting with René Cotton led to a seat with the Île de France Citroen team, after coming third in class in the Austrian Alpine Rally. Coupes des Dames followed in the Mont Blanc, Cévennes and Armagnac rallies, but her best result was probably an eighth place overall in the Liège-Rome-Liège marathon rally, driving a Citroen ID19 with Renée Wagner. Earlier in the year, still in the Simca, she had finished her first Monte Carlo Rally, in 38th place. At the end of the year, she was French ladies’ champion for the first time.

The association with Citroen continued for another three years. In 1961, she drove alongside Ginette Derolland, and came to the end of the Monte once more. Her second outing in the other major French rally, the Tour de Corse, gave her a Coupe des Dames this time, and she added more ladies’ trophies for French rallies to her collection. Her best result was a fourth overall in the Rallye Neige et Glace. Away from the stages, she competed in the last running of the Mille Miglia, and won the Coupe des Dames, in an ID19 with Renée Wagner. With Mlle Kissel, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Touring class of the Tour de France, finishing sixth overall in class.

Claudine carried on driving the Citroen ID19 in 1962, gaining more and more experience. The Liège-Sofia-Liège rally gave her another Coupe des Dames, but no top ten. A string of fastest lady awards in French rallies ensured that she kept her Ladies’ title. 1963 was a more exciting year, with two top-ten finishes in major international rallies: sixth in Corsica and third in Catalunya. She also won the Coupe des Dames in the Spa-Sofia-Liège and several big French rallies, including a seventh Mont Blanc ladies’ award.

Away from the stages, she was also very busy. She had befriended Marie-Claude Beaumont, who would become her regular navigator for a while, then go on to much bigger things, on the circuits as well as the stages. She had also become close to her fellow Citroen driver, René Trautmann, and practically ended her marriage to Patrick Vanson, although the couple would not divorce until later.

It was all-change in mid-1964. Claudine and René both moved to the Lancia works team. Initially, they were both taken on as drivers. After another finish on the Monte in a Citroen DS19, Claudine set about defending her French title, and increasing her international tally. This year, she debuted at San Remo, in a Lancia Flavia. She also finished strongly in French rallies, with a class second on the Alpine Rally and a class third on the Neige et Glace event, one of her favourites. This year saw her first win: the Paris-St. Raphaël ladies’ rally.  

The following year, the pace of Claudine’s career changed. Although she was still a fixture on the French rally scene, her involvement in international events decreased, as a driver at least. She began navigating for René on a regular basis, still with Lancia. They scored their first win that year, on the Alpine Rally.

This arrangement continued until 1969. During this time, Claudine still performed well in French rallies, winning four more Paris-St. Raphaël events and repeating her débutante finish in the Mont Blanc Rally in 1968 with a fourth place. She was also third in the Forez Rally that year, and had been fifth in the Rallye Pétrole the year before. However, for major events, she travelled with René and acted as his navigator. In 1967, they got married. By 1969, she was in semi-retirement, and did very little driving, apart from a few road races. This was the first year for nine years that she did not win the French Ladies’ title.

Her international career began again with a drive for Citroen, in the World Cup Rally. She managed to get a good deal of the way from London to Mexico City, and although her car broke down in Colombia, 1000 kilometres from the finish, she was classified 24th.

At about the same time, a new enterprise in French rallying brought her back into the fold. Robert Neyret was putting together his Team Aseptogyl, an all-female rally-driving force in pink, toothpaste-sponsored Alpine-Renaults, and persuaded Claudine to take part. Eventually, she would manage the day-to-day running of the team, alongside René in a business capacity. However, to begin with, she was one of the drivers, and even joined in with the promotional activities, matching colourful outfits and all. “Les girls” of Team Aseptogyl competed around France from 1971 onwards. Claudine drove in that year’s Tour de France, with Marie-Odile Desvignes. Her best result was a fifth place, in Bayonne. She also navigated occasionally for Neyret himself.

Claudine and Marie-Odile Desvignes, Morocco, 1972
She only really excelled again in international events after 1971, when she was third in the Bandama Rally in a Renault 16. Desert events seemed to be her favourite, despite her background on the Tarmac of the French stages. She was sixth in the 1972 Moroccan Rally in a Renault 16 TS, after failing to get to the end of the Monte in an Alpine-Renault A110. The following year, she was eighth in the Bandama and tenth in that year’s Moroccan event, driving a Peugeot 504 run by Team Aseptogyl. Her co-driver that season was Marie-Pierre Palayer.

One of her last major events was the 1974 World Cup Rally, which ran from London to Munich via the Sahara desert, in which she was fourth, driving a Peugeot 504. It was another Aseptogyl entry, and her navigator was Marie-Odile Desvignes. Back at one of her more fruitful stamping grounds, she was eighth in Morocco in 1975, the year she retired into team management. She was 44.

(Images from