Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Female Drivers in French GT and Sportscar Racing


Amandine Foulard

Domestic sports and GT racing series in France have attracted a decent number of women drivers in recent years. The VdeV championship for historic and modern sportscars in particular has usually had a healthy Coupe des Dames category. Inès Taittinger now has her own post. 


Caroline Barclay - Frenchwoman who raced a BMW Z3 M Coupe in the French GT Championship in 1999. Her co-driver was Michel Coencas. She was not particularly successful in her racing attempts. As well as GTs, she took part in the Andros Trophy ice-racing championship. She is better known as a film actress.
Lucy Brecht - raced a Porsche in Europe between 2000 and 2009, mainly in the Pierre Martinet Trophy in France. Initially, she drove in club races as part of a family team. In 2006, she started to be more competitive, and earned herself a test with Pouchelon Racing for the European GT3 series, although she did not end up driving for the team. Her biggest achievement is a win in the Pierre Martinet Trophy, in 2008, at Dijon. Her car was a Porsche 993. In 2009, she drove a Porsche 996 in the Estoril 6 Hours, the last round of that year’s VdeV series, and won her class. She does not appear to have raced since then.


Capucine Caillet – had her first major racing season in 2014. Most of it was spent in the VdeV series, in the Funyo Cup. Driving a Funyo 5 prototype, she was 40th in the Funyo Cup, and 26th in class B. She also tried out two other VdeV categories. Driving a Caterham, she made a guest appearance in the Historic Enurance Proto Challenge. In more modern machinery, a Radical, she did one race in the Endurance GT Challenge. As these were one-offs, she did not feature in the end-of-season tables. Away from VdeV, she raced a Porsche 968 in the Trophée Tourisme Endurance, at Spa. Her team-mate was Alain Giavedoni, and they were ninth overall. Capucine has stated that she wants to try as many different cars and series as she can.
Melanie Cazzani - 2003 French Caterham racing champion. Prior to this, she raced Citroen Saxos on the circuits and took part in ice racing, sometimes using a powerful Metro 6R4. In 1998, she drove in the French GT Championship for a few rounds, and scored her first big overall result in Caterhams: a second place. Between 1998 and 2001, she drove Formula Renault 2000 events, as well as racing a Caterham with increasingly good results. Other disciplines were not forgotten; she was 16th in French GTs as well as winning her title in 2003. In 2005, she returned to Caterham racing in the Cosworth Masters, driving in some rounds with Francois Salhien. They were third at Monza. The following year, she did two races in the Peugeot RC Cup, but did not score any points. 

Aurélie Chamaraud - has raced in France since at least 2002. Her usual car is a Porsche 996 Cup, which she shares with her father, Pierre. In 2002 she did contest the French GT Championship alone, but since then, she has been part of her family team. In 2006, they competed in the French GT Championship and also entered the joint British/French championship rounds. Their best finishes were a 17th at Pau and a 19th at Albi. The following year, they drove their Porsche in some Formula VdeV rounds, with midfield finishes. Aurelie also took part in the Peugeot 207 Sprint Challenge, coming 20th after a couple of visits to the podium. In 2008, Aurelie and Pierre won their regional racing championship. In 2009 and 2010, Aurelie raced in the Peugeot 207 endurance championship, sometimes solo, but sometimes with Pierre. The pair raced together in the Trophée Tourisme Endurance. They drove a BMW 130i, and were 15th in Class 3. In 2015, she managed her family team in the Peugeot 208 Cup. The following year, she and Pierre raced in the TTE saloon series, in a BMW M3. 


Laura Chatelain – raced in the 2014-2015 Andros Trophy, as the only woman driver in the Electric class. She was eleventh overall, scoring points in the later rounds. During the 2014 summer season, she raced in the Caterham Academy in France, and this seems to have been her first championship as a driver. In 2015, she raced in the Mitjet 2L championship, in France. She returned to racing Caterhams in 2016, and scored several podium positions in the Roadsport class of the French Caterham Cup. 

Amandine Foulard - French driver who competes in historic and modern sportscars. She began racing in 2010, driving a Porsche 996 in the ROSCAR section of the VdeV championship. Her first award was the VdeV ladies’ championship. She continued in ROSCAR in 2011, with a best finish of third at Lédenon and a fastest lap at Dijon. This gave her another VdeV ladies’ award. In a different car, a Ferrari 430, she drove in two rounds of the Blancpain Endurance Series, finishing one of them: a third place at Monza. In yet another car, a Ligier prototype, she entered four rounds of the SPEED Euroseries with Inès Taittinger, driving for the Springbox Concept team. Their best finish was seventh, at Paul Ricard. She continued to race a Ligier for Springbox in 2012, driving with Philippe Alliot. Their best finish was fifth, achieved at Catalunya and Dijon. Away from sportscars, she also raced a Clio for Springbox at the 2011 Dubai 24 Hours, but did not finish. Her co-drivers were Cyndie Allemann, Jade Handi and Corentine Quiniou. She continued to compete in the SPEED Euroseries in 2013, finishing tenth in the championship, still in the Ligier. Her best finish was fourth, at the Hungaroring. She also made some appearances in two VdeV championships, in the same car, but was less successful. 


Nathalie Genoud-Prachex – races a Lotus 2-Eleven in Europe. In 2012, she became the Lotus Cup Europe’s first female driver. This was her first season of racing, having only driven on track days previously. In 2013, she was twelfth in the championship, after a steady year with a good finishing record. 2014 was similar, and she was fourteenth overall. She had another steady, if unspectacular, season in 2015, finishing 23rd overall. 2016 was her fifth season in the series, and she was 26th. 
Anne-Sophie Nourry - has raced Porsches in France since 2006. After starting her motorsport career in Caterhams in 2001, winning the Coupe des Dames, she spent two seasons in the Peugeot 206CC Cup. In 2005, she did some GT racing in an MG, before joining her family’s Porsche team. Her main championship has been the French (FFSA) GT series, in which she posted a GT3 class win in 2006. As part of the championship, she also did one race in the British GT championship. In 2007, she also won the Val de Vienne Porsche club race. She continued in GTs in 2008, as well as running in a couple of Carrera Cup races. Anne-Sophie and her father and co-driver Michel won at least one FFSA event, at Dijon. The following year, they moved to the Modern GT section of the VdeV endurance championship, and drove a few races in a Porsche 997. Still driving for the family team, but in a 996 this time, Anne-Sophie made some guest appearances in the French GT Championship in 2010. 2011 was a more productive year for her: she was the VdeV Ladies' champion through the modern endurance class, driving the Porsche. She also tried her hand at rally navigation in France, which she continued in 2012. She also continued driving for Nourry Competition in the Porsche, in the VdeV championship. In 2013, rally navigation seems to have been her main motorsport activity, and this continued in 2014. She did do at least some circuit racing, including a Club Porsche meeting at Spa, where she won one race, and was fourth in another. In 2016, she continued as a navigator to Anothony Cosson, in a Porsche, helping him to win three rallies.

Corentine Quiniou - daughter of Carol Quiniou. She has competed in a number of disciplines, including the Peugeot THP Spider Cup in 2008, in which she came fifteenth. She drove a Chevron B16 in the 2007 VdeV series with her father, Michel, leading races at Jarama and winning their class at Barcelona. They were fifth overall. In 2008, she won the French Classic Endurance Racing championship in a different Chevron B16. She returned to the championship in 2009, but only participated in some races. She is recorded as scoring one podium place. In 2010, she did a race of the Toyo Tyres 24 Hour series in Dubai. She was eighth in class SP3 in a Nicholas Mee Racing Aston Martin Vantage, driving with the Lebanese Greg Audi and Jaleel and Tarek Mahmoud. In 2011, she was set to race again in Dubai, but did not appear. As well as circuit racing, she participated in the 2006 Dakar in a Toyota, with Florence Bourgnon. Since 2002, she has driven in the all-female Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, winning it in 2006 and 2007. However, she was accused of cheating in 2010 and disqualified. This seems to have affected her chances elsewhere in motorsport. In 2014, she followed her mother into historic racing, and raced a Chevron B16 in the Le Mans Classic.
(Picture from http://www.endurance-info.com/2011_BES/Amandine1.jpg)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Marlène Broggi


Marlène in her electric car, 2012

Marlène Broggi, born in 1982, is a French racer who got her break in the Trophée Andros, winning the Trophée Feminin in 2006.
It was her second attempt at the trophy, having scored a sixth place in 2005. During the main summer racing season, she had also done some VW Fun Cup and Roadster Cup races, in France. In 2006, she was ninth in the VW-derived Roadster Cup, and twelfth in the French Fun Cup team standings.
After her Andros Trophy win, she returned to the ice for the 2006/2007 season, driving in the Promotion class. She was 29th in the combined overall standings, after a campaign that gave her mixed results. Her car was a Peugeot 206CC.
Later that year, her main career focus became European sportscar racing. Staying with Peugeot, he did a full season in the 207 Spider Cup in 2007, which supported the Le Mans Endurance Series. Her best finish was fifth, at Monza, and she was fourteenth overall at the end of the season, after six more top-ten finishes.
She remained in the Spider Cup in 2008, with three seventh places at Monza, Val de Vienne and Pau as her best results.  She was eleventh in the championship this time. In between, she competed in another Andros Trophy, in the Promotion class again. She as stronger this year, finishing 19th overall after some top-three positions in Promotion. Her car was a Renault Clio and she was driving for the Dubourg team.
For the 2008-2009 Andros Trophy, Marlène drove a Clio in the Promotion class again. She did not enter all of the events, so although she had top-three pace, she could only manage 22nd overall.
The 2009 summer season in between was quite a short one, with only guest appearances. Early in the year, she appeared in two rounds of the Mégane Trophy Eurocup, as a guest driver of Boutsen Energy Racing. She was 17th in Catalunya and 18th at Spa. Later on, she joined Formula Le Mans for its Silverstone meeting, partnering Thomas Duchene. Her car was a Corvette-based ORECA FLM09, a much more powerful machine than she was used to. Her two races gave her an eleventh and tenth place, and one championship point.
During the 2009-2010 Andros season, she drove in the new Electric class, with the Boutsen Energy team, and was the top lady driver.
For the 2010 main season, she drove in the SEAT Leon Supercopa in Europe, concentrating mainly on the French series. She was eleventh overall, with a best finish of sixth at Albi. This was one of six top-ten places. In September, she drove in the Valencia rounds of the Seat Leon Eurocup, finishing 16th and 19th. Her team this year was Exagon Engineering.
Back in the Andros Trophy, she raced again with Margot Laffite in the Electric Trophy, although they did not win anything this time.
The following year, Marlène, driving solo, was eighth in the Electric class, and won the Ladies' award in the thermal energy class. In between, she was seventeenth in the French SEAT Leon Supercopa. Her best finish was ninth; she was less competitive this year and only managed one further top-ten position, a tenth at Lédenon.
In 2012, she drove in the Clio Eurocup. Out of eight races, she finished six times, with a best position of fifteenth. However, her season was marred by accidents, and she had to sit out one of the Catalunya races entirely due to . Mid-season, she linked up with Boutsen Ginion Racing, her Andros Trophy team, for the Spa 24 Hours. She drove a McLaren MP4-12C with Sarah Bovy, Jerome Thiry and Massimo Vignali. They did not finish, following another crash on a very wet track.
Also with the Boutsen team, she took part in the Andros Electric Trophy’s first non-ice-based event, the Grand Prix Électrique at Pau. She was the only female driver out of twelve. In her first race, she was last, but in her second, she was fifth. She did not return to the Andros Trophy proper for its 2012-2013 running.
Although she did not do any ice racing, her main season was quite active, still as part of Boutsen Ginion Racing. She drove in the Blancpain Endurance Series in a McLaren MP4 for the team, for four races. Her first event was the Monza 3 Hours, sharing the car with Karim Ojjeh and Christophe de Fierlant. They were 41st overall. For the next round, Silverstone, Christophe was replaced by John Hartshorne. They did not finish. At Paul Ricard, Laurent Pasquali took up the third seat, but they still did not finish. Sadly, the Spa 24 Hours led to another mechanical failure and DNF. 

2014 was a much quieter year. She returned to the Blancpain series, for one race, driving a Ferrari 458 Italia for Duqueine Engineering. Along with Philippe Bourgeois and Philippe Richard, she was ninth in the "Gentleman" Trophy Cup, at Spa. 

She returned to ice-racing at the end of the year, driving a Renault Clio in the Andros Trophy for the D.A. Racing team. It was a really good ice season for her, with race wins from the start, which she initially had trouble converting into Superfinal wins. She got her first overall win at Huez, on the second day, and was second at Lans. In the season-ending Super Final at St. Dié-des-Vosges, she won both her semi-final, and the super-final. She was third overall in the championship. During the Super Final, she also made a guest appearance in the revived Trophée Feminin.

She stayed in touch with the Boutsen Ginion team in 2015, and was one of a four-driver team for the Paul Ricard round of the 24-Hour Series. She was driving a Maserati Gran Turismo, and was 36th overall, sixth in class.

At the end of 2015, she entered another Andros Trophy, driving a Renault Clio in the Elite class. She was the fastest lady driver on the ice once more, just ahead of Margot Laffite, in seventh place. She won one of the finals during the Val Thorens meeting, and was seventh overall, and was eighth at Alpe d'Huez.
(Image from http://www.larepubliquedespyrenees.fr/2012/05/12/marlene-broggi-de-la-glace-a-l-asphalte,235054.php)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Sheila Verschuur


Sheila in 2010

Sheila Verschuur was born in 1986 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She is from a motorsport family: team boss and former racer Frans Verschuur is her father, and Mike Verschuur, another popular Dutch driver, is her younger brother. Therefore, it is not surprising that she decided to go into the family business.

Her first race was in 2002, when she was just sixteen. She took part in one round of the Toyota Yaris Cup, the Trophy of the Dunes at Zandvoort. An excursion off-track kept her off the podium. The following year, she did three races in the Yaris, and did enough to come second in the Ladies’ standings, including a third place in her second-ever race. She was fourteenth overall.

In 2004, she had her first full racing season, in the SEAT Cupra Cup. Driving with Michel Schaap for the endurance element of the competition, she was much more on the pace, and they were second overall, by only eight points. She stayed with the Cupra Cup in 2005, teaming up with Sandra van der Sloot. They were sponsored by the Dutch Army, and finished third overall. The Army team’s sister car, driven by Michel Schaap and Marcel Duits, came in fifth.  

For Sheila’s next season in the Cupra Cup, she stuck with the Army team and Sandra as a team-mate. They won the championship comfortably, by 40 points. That year, Sheila also took part in her first international race. Driving for her family’s Orbit team in a SEAT Ibiza, she was sixth in class in the Dubai 24 Hours. For the first time, her team-mate was her brother, Mike. Tim Buijs made up the team. Sheila and Mike had previously competed against each other in the off-season Dutch Winter Endurance Championship.

A busy year followed. Sheila tried single-seater racing in the form of Formula Gloria in the Netherlands, entering one race. However, her focus remained tin-tops. What would be her last season in the Cupra series, still in the Army car, gave her a second place, with Sandra van der Sloot. They won four of their twelve races and were never off the podium, but Ferry Duivenvoorde and Ronald Morien had more wins. As well as the SEAT, Sheila also raced a VW Golf in the Volkswagen Endurance Championship, alongside Jacques Walch and Coen Hagendoorn. Despite a podium finish, fastest lap and pole position, they could only manage 21st overall, due to only contesting seven races.  

In 2008, Sheila drove for her family team again in the Dubai 24 Hours, in its third car, a Renault Clio. With Harrie Kolen and Mickey Bertram, they were third in class A2. Still sponsored by the Dutch Armed Forces, she also drove the car in the Sportmaxx Clio Cup. The Verschuur drivers were her rivals this time. Her best finishes were three top-three places, and she was ninth overall.

With the same team-mates as before, she tried the VW Endurance series again, and did slightly better this time, in seventeenth, although her race results were very similar to before.

On paper, 2009 was a quieter year, based around the Clio Cup. However, Sheila really found her feet in the series, and managed her first Clio win. She also scored five top-three finishes, and was fourth in the championship.  Earlier in the season, she was third in the Dubai 24 Hours. Her car was a Renault Clio III RS, and her team-mates were Nikolajus Bystriakovas, Vitoldas Milius and Karolis Siksnelis.

In 2010, she went one better, winning two races and finishing on the podium seven times. She was third overall, just behind her team-mate, Sandra van der Sloot. 

2011 saw her partnership with the Dutch Army end, and she returned to Equipe Verschuur, for a double-pronged Clio campaign, in the Dutch series and the Eurocup. Despite a string of very strong finishes, including two second places, Sheila could not produce another win, although she was still second behind Sebastiaan Bleekemolen. The Eurocup was a mixed experience; she was solidly in the top ten for the first two meetings, with a best finish of fifth at the Nürburgring, but a 28th place at Paul Ricard in her sixth and last round was a disappointment. She was tenth in the championship.

In 2012, she joined the Dutch Racingdivas team. This is an all-female driving team, supported by Equipe Verschuur, competing in a number of events. They were 39th and fourth in class in the Dubai 24 Hours, driving a Clio. The RacingDivas this time were Sheila, Liesette Braams, Paulien Zwart, Gaby Uljee and Sandra van der Sloot.
As well as promotional activities for the Racingdivas, Sheila also drove for their sister team, Las Moras, run by Liesette and her partner, in the Burando Production Open. She was fifth overall after winning three times, driving a BMW 123d. This was a car of which she had some experience in the Dutch Winter Endurance Series.

The Racingdivas remained active for the 2013 season. Their first outing was the Dubai 24 Hours. Their car was a BMW 320d, supported by the Schubert team. The same squad as in 2012, including Sheila, was 26th overall, winning class A3T. Although the Divas continued to make appearances and promote themselves, their on-track time was very limited this year, due to funding issues. Sheila stepped away from the Divas setup, along with Liesette Braams, and concentrated on competing with the associated Las Moras team.

Her season picked up during the late summer, when she travelled to Eastern Europe for the Lotus Ladies' Cup, alongside her Las Moras team-mate, Liesette. Sheila was instantly on the pace, and quickly came to dominate the Cup, winning nine races out of twelve. After her first Lotus Ladies' championship, she travelled to India with some other Cup drivers to take part in the Ultima Queens Cup, a women's two-race mini-championship. She won that, too.

As well as her on-track exploits, Sheila also had a slot on a Dutch motoring TV programme, where guests raced against her in their own cars.

In 2014, she seems to have done some promotional work for Jaguar, but did not race. 

(Picture from http://www.equipeverschuur.nl/sheila)