Monday, 21 December 2015

Winter Break

Speedqueens is currently undergoing its yearly update and clean-up, so there will be no new posts for a while.

Merry Christmas, see you all next year!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Ulrike Krafft


Ulrike on the ETCC podium in 2013

Ulrike Krafft is a German driver who has been competing in the ETCC since 2011.

She began at the age of 20, in slaloms in 2004, winning her first title in 2005, driving an Opel Corsa. This was her first experience of any kind of motorsport, and she showed flair and competitiveness very early on.

Her first circuit races were in 2006, in the Dacia Logan Cup in Germany. Her best finishes were three fifth places. She did these alongside slaloms, in which she was still highly competitive, finishing second in her club’s championships for young drivers and allcomers.

She carried on in the Logan Cup in 2007, and performed well enough to win her club’s racing championship. Her season started very well, with a win at Oschersleben, but a series of technical problems later on put her and her team-mates out of the running.

2008 was a similar story. Ulrike and her team-mate, Henrik Stoldt, were very competitive, and even led the championship, until the final round. A lost wheel and other mechanical problems lost them the title. They were awarded the “Fairness Cup” as a consolation, for their sportsmanship.

The following year was a quiet one for Ulrike. Her ADAC Hansa team only entered one round of the Logan Cup, in which Ulrike was fourth. She spent much of the rest of the year concentrating on her university studies. She qualified in engineering, after studying in Hamburg and France, and earning herself a job with Bosch.

Following her graduation, she returned to motorsport, and moved up to the ADAC Procar series.  She was with the ATM Ladies team, driving a Ford Fiesta in Division II. She was fifth in the division, with a best finish of second, at Hockenheim, one of three podium places. The team consisted of three female drivers: Ulrike, Saskia Müller and Stephanie Neitzel, who also managed the team.  

In 2010, she also tried rallying, in a Dacia Logan, both as a driver and co-driver. Driving, she entered the Niedersachsen Rally, but did not finish. Her navigator was Katharina Wüstenhagen. As a co-driver, she was also unsuccessful, scoring a DNF in the Ostsee Rally with Pierre Humbert.

On the circuits, she held position in 2011, finishing fifth despite a slightly shortened season, with two second places at Oschersleben and Sachsenring, and a third at the Sachsenring. Sadly, a technical problem with the Fiesta, which began with a DNF at Zolder, put her out of four races. She also made her debut appearance in the ETCC, which was a two-round meeting at Salzburg. She was second in class for her two races, driving the Fiesta.

In 2012, she moved into the ETCC full-time, in the S1600 class, driving a different Fiesta, run by the Ravenol team. The championship had now expanded to four rounds. She was third in the S1600 championship, with a best finish of second, at Monza, plus third places at Imola, Salzburg and the Slovakiaring.

She contested the ETCC again in 2013, which was run over ten races, in five rounds. She was quite successful, winning her class once at Pergusa, and finishing third on six occasions. Her overall result was third in the Super 1600 class, in the Fiesta. However, she lost her Ladies' crown to Andrina Gugger, who was racing in the more powerful Super 2000 class.

In 2014, she came back to the ETCC, still in the Fiesta. She was a leading player in the S1600 class again, with five wins, from five pole positions. She was second in the S1600 standings, and would have won, had she not suffered two non-finishes at Zolder, where she started from pole. An official Ladies’ Trophy was awarded this year, and Ulrike won it easily, from Ksenya Niks and Andrina Gugger.

2015 was not quite as successful a season as 2014, but Ulrike was still one of the drivers to beat in S1600, in her Fiesta. She won one race, at the Slovakiaring, having started from pole. She earned a second pole position at Pergusa, at the end of the season, but could only convert it to a win in the second race. She was third overall.

The Super 1600 class was more competitive in 2016, and Ulrike missed several rounds of the championship. Despite a win at the Slovakiaring and a second and third place, she was seventh overall in her Fiesta. She also did some historic racing while she was away from the ETCC.

Ulrike’s long-term aim is to race in the WTCC.

(Image copyright Brigitta Niemann)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Jamie Chadwick


Jamie (right), Ross Gunn and the Beechdean Aston Martin

Jamie Chadwick graduated to senior motorsport in 2015. She is a product of the Ginetta sportscar racing development ladder, one of a few female racers to utilise this route into the sport.

Jamie began karting at the age of twelve. Taking advantage of the opportunities in the UK for juniors to race on full circuits, she switched to cars after only two years.

She was the winner of the Ginetta Junior Scholarship in 2012, at fourteen, beating around sixty other young drivers to the prize of a fully-funded season in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2013.

She took up her prize-drive in Ginetta Juniors in 2013. Between her scholarship win and the start of the season proper, she took part in the three-round Winter Series at Rockingham, finishing seventh. She was the highest-scoring first-timer.

During her 2013 season, her best result was fifth, at Knockhill.  She was usually inside the top ten, averaging seventh place, but she also had some disappointments; she racked up three DNFs that year. She was tenth overall. Her brother, Ollie, also raced in the series against her.

She had a second full season of Ginetta Juniors in 2014. Her year started well, with a podium: a third place at Brands Hatch. She racked up four more podium finishes, all thirds, and was eighth in the championship. 

Following her seventeenth birthday in 2015, it was time to move on. Jamie jumped straight into the British GT Championship, in the GT4 class. Her car was no less than an Aston Martin Vantage, run by the Beechdean-AMR team. With her partner, Ross Gunn, she got off to another good start, with two second places at Oulton Park, followed by two wins, at Rockingham and Silverstone, a second place at Spa and a third at Brands Hatch. The only real disappointment of the season was a disqualification at Oulton, following their second place on the track. The exclusion was for causing an accident, although it was not deliberate. At the end of the season, this did not count for much; Jamie and Ross were British GT4 champions. Jamie is the youngest ever winner of the title.

2015 had one more adventure for Jamie. The Beechdean team entered the Vantage in the Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone, driven by Jamie, plus Jonny Adam, Harry Whale and Andrew Howard. They won the race from pole. This was the first win for a female driver in this event.

In recognition of her achievements, the BRDC nominated Jamie as one of their Rising Stars in 2015, along with the support that the award entails. The BWRDC has put her forward for their Gold Star award, for outstanding female drivers. She is also part of the Evolution Academy for young drivers, run by Aston Martin and Prodrive.

She remained a Team AMR driver for 2016, and raced the Aston Martin again in the British GT Championship. Her best finish was fourth, at Brands Hatch. As she missed a couple of races mid-season, she was thirteenth in the championship. Among her team-mates was Great British Bake Off's Paul Hollywood.

(Image from http://www.prodrive.com/)

Monday, 14 December 2015

"Charlotte" (Cécile de Montgolfier)


"Charlotte" in 1975

“Charlotte” was a French rally driver of the early 1970s. She never used her given name in connection with motorsport. She was from the Ardèche region, and worked as an ambulance driver.

Her career began in hillclimbs, in a VW, and later, an Alpine-Renault 1100 and a Porsche 911. Her rally career started in the navigator’s seat in 1970. The Paris-St.Raphaël Rally is described as her first event, although the name of the driver, and the make of the car, is lost. They did not finish, following a roll.

In 1972, she started driving herself, usually in an Alpine-Renault A110 Berlinette. Although she always drove as an amateur, she received sponsorship from Esso. This, and her choice of car, has led to some confusion between her and the drivers of Team Aseptogyl. Charlotte was never an Aseptogyl team member.

Her biggest achievement in 1972 was probably her win in the National class of the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally. She also won two other class awards, driving an Alpine-Renault 1600 with Annie Hanriot.

By 1973, she was tackling some of the big French events, including the Tour de Corse, in a Gordini-engined Renault 12. She did not finish. That year, she was also the runner-up in the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally, in an Alpine-Renault. With Marie-José Hommel, she competed in the Tour de France, but her attempt ended at the Montjuic Park circuit, due to problems with the Alpine during a speed test. In the same car, she was twelfth in the Ronde Cévenole.

In 1974, she was fourth in the Paris-St. Raphaël, and competed in the Tour de France, in the Alpine-Renault, although she did not finish. Her best result was a 15th place in the Rallye du Var. Her other rallies, including the Tour de Corse, mostly ended in DNFs, although she was seventh in class in the Mont Blanc Rally. She did better in hillclimbs, winning several Coupes des Dames and placing well in her class. Another try at the Tour de France led to more frustration, after a spin at Magny-Cours, again during a speed trial, put her out of the running.

In 1975, she tried circuit racing, in the Coupe Renault Elf Gordini. This decision was partly motivated by her amateur status; rallying, at the level of which she was capable, required time for recce and preparations, which circuit racing did not. Charlotte was one of two female drivers in the Coupe, driving a modified Renault 5, the other being Joëlle Pasquier. She was thirteenth on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit, and eighth at Albi. Later in the season, she planned to team up with Corinne Tarnaud for another Tour Auto, in a Porsche 911 this time.

Sadly, this was not to be. Charlotte was killed in a road traffic accident, whilst attending another car crash with her ambulance, in September 1975. She was 29 years old.

(Image from http://pilotos-muertos.com/)

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christina Orr-West


Christina in 2015

Christina Orr, of New Zealand, is mostly known as a single-seater specialist. A precocious talent, she raced karts from an early age, and Formula First at twelve. This made her the youngest person to race a single-seater in competition. Not only that, but she was on the podium too. She was fourteenth in the championship.

The next year, in 2002, she was second in the New Zealand Formula First championship. During that year’s winter season, she moved up to Formula Ford, and won a “Rookie of the Series” award.

Her first full season of Formula Ford began in late 2002, and she was ninth overall, after a part-season. The following year, she was sixth, racing against the likes of Brendon Hartley and Charlie Kimball. She finished on the podium once. 

Her 2003 season was marred by tragedy, as she was involved in an accident in which a fellow Formula Ford racer, Michael McHugh, was killed. A lengthy inquest followed, but Christina was later absolved from blame, despite the protestations of McHugh’s family.

Putting 2003 behind her, 2004 saw her first international events – two races in the Australian Drivers’ Championship. Later, it was back to the NZ Formula Ford championship. Christina kept improving gradually, and was fifth at the end of the season. She scored two podium places, and two fastest laps.

In 2006, she moved up to Formula Toyota, New Zealand’s top-level domestic single-seater series. She was seventh in the winter series, before the main 2006-07 season started. Although she was not able to get another podium place, she did well in the championship, and was fifth overall.

2007 was a quiet year. She travelled to Australia, for the Bathurst 12 Hours, as part of an all-girl driving squad with Samantha Reid, Lauren Gray and Leanne Tander. They drove a Holden Astra, but did not finish.

Her next Formula Toyota season was 2008. This was something of a mixed year, with her best finishes being two fifth places at Manfeild. For the most part, she finished in the top ten, and was eighth overall.

The same year, she also entered four Indy Lights races in the USA. Her long-term goal was now a race seat in one of the American oval series. Out of her four races, she finished three times, and  had a best result of 16th, at Chicagoland. She hoped this would lead to more Stateside opportunities, but sponsorship was not forthcoming.

Most of 2009 was rather quiet for Christina. She did make one major appearance in Australia, in the Bathurst 12 Hours. She was part of a second all-female team, with Molly Taylor and Heather Spurle. They drove a Subaru Impreza, and were 27th overall, second in class.

After almost a year's lay-off, she returned to motorsport for the 2009-10 southern hemisphere season, driving a Holden Commodore saloon in New Zealand. She entered the BNTV8 and NZV8 series, in a self-entered car. Her best finish in BTV8s was eleventh, at Teretonga, and she was 22nd overall. She was 14th in the NZV8 Hamilton 400 Trophy.

A second season in the BNTV8 series in 2010-2011 panned out in a similar fashion. She drove a Commodore, and had a best finish of twelfth, at Taupo, and she was 20th in the championship.

A break from motorsport followed, during which Christina became a mother.

She returned to New Zealand in 2014, to race Utes. She signed up for the SsangYong Actyon Ute Racing Championship, one of five female drivers to do so. Despite her long lay-off, she was quickly on the pace, and became one of the series’ leading drivers. She won two races, and finished on the podium in four more. Her final championship position was third.

Christina raced Utes again for the 2015-2016 season, but was not quite as quick, and did not make it to the series podium at the end of the year. However, her third Ssangyong Utes season has got off to a fast start, with one win and several podiums already.

(Image from http://nzmotorracing.co.nz/)

Monday, 7 December 2015

Female Drivers in the Carrera Panamericana


Jacqueline Evans in her "Eva Peron" Porsche, 1953

The Carrera Panamericana was a road race, organised by Enrique Martin Moreno, of Mexico. Its inaugural running followed the opening of the Mexican section of the Pan-American Highway. The route initially ran from Ciudad Juárez, via Texas, to Chiapas, on the Guatemalan border, and consisted of nine stages. Later editions ran in the opposite direction. The first race, in 1950, was a single-class affair for sports and saloon cars, but from 1952, a class system was implemented.

The first Carrera attracted a mix of seasoned US, Mexican and South American racing professionals, European circuit racers, rally drivers and amateur thrill-seekers. At least seven women drivers entered, some of whom fell into the latter category. Marie Brookreson was an ageing adventuress who entered in her own Lincoln, which was mostly driven by Ross Barton, a pilot in his seventies whom she had met when he crash-landed on her estate.  Mrs Lammons’ Buick was sponsored by Hi-A Brassieres.

The race gradually became more and more professionalised, and female participation dropped sharply after the first event. Jacqueline Evans, a British-Mexican actress and racer, was the only female driver to compete in all five Carreras. In 1953, she drove a Porsche 356 running in memory of Eva Peron.

From its beginning, the Carrera was an extremely dangerous race, and its cancellation was largely down to this factor. Women did not escape entirely unscathed; in 1951, Teresita Panini’s car was involved in a serious accident. Her father, Carlos Panini, a Mexican pioneer aviator who was driving at the time, was killed. Teresita was not seriously injured.
The Carrera was revived as a classic road rally in 1988.

Below is a list of all the female drivers who raced in the Carrera Panamericana. As ever, in a mixed team, the woman’s name in always given first, for clarity. Names in italics are assumed to be female drivers, although this has not been verified.

1950
Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Windsor) – 45th
Lucille Acevedo/Andrea Gonzáles (Buick) – 47th
Marie Boone/Arthur Daniel Boone (Buick) – disqualified
Merryl Bedford/Mrs H.R. Lammons (Buick) – DNF
“Mrs. Warren”/E.P. Warren (Buick) – DNF
Marie Brookreson/Ross Barton (Lincoln Cosmopolitan) –  DNF
Margie Allen/Buster Anthony Hemesbedy (Mercury) – DNF

1951
Teresita Panini/Carlos Panini (Alfa Romeo 6C) – DNF
Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Saratoga) – DNF

1952
Jacqueline Evans (Chrysler Saratoga) – 37th

1953
Jacqueline Evans (Porsche 356) – DNF

1954
Asención Morales/Olegario Perez Pligo (Ford) – DNF
Jacqueline Evans de Lopez (Porsche 356) – DNF

(Image from http://lacarrera2007.blogspot.co.uk/)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Saloon and Ute Racing in New Zealand


Alyssa Clapperton with Craig Baird's Holden Commodore

New Zealand female drivers have competed in both touring cars and Ute racing in recent years, both at home, and in Australia. For the earliest female racers from New Zealand, click here.

Jessica Antonievic – raced in the SsangYong Actyon Ute Racing Series in the 2014-2015 season. This was her first season of motorsport. She was 39th in the championship, after finishing all of her races. She works as an administration manager for SsangYong, and has had racing ambitions for some time. She was recruited for the series partly to increase its diversity. She did a second season of Utes in 2015-16, and usually finished, if near the back.

Stef Baigent – raced in the SsangYong Actyon Ute Racing Series in 2014-2015. She was 41st in the championship, after scoring points in two of her races. In 2015, she returned to the series. She is the daughter of Kent Baigent, an NZ touring car racer, and the two of them have occasionally competed together in endurance events, driving a BMW M135. The father-daughter team is still in action in 2017. 

Debbie Chapman – twice a participant in major Bathurst races. In 1999, she was tenth in the Bathurst 500, driving a BMW 320i. In 2002, she drove a BMW 318i in the Bathurst 24 Hours, but did not finish. She raced alongside her husband, Dennis. They were recognised for ten years of service to New Zealand motorsport in 2004. After that, she has remained active in endurance racing in New Zealand. In 2006, she and Dennis were still racing a 318i, and were still competitive. Two years later, Debbie was still competing in endurance racing, and was also nominated for the Lupp Award, which goes to a driver involved in historics.

Alyssa Clapperton – had her debut season of New Zealand V8 Touring Cars in 2015. She drove a Holden Commodore for Team Kiwi Racing, partnering Craig Baird, after being chosen from 2000 hopefuls for a TKR Academy race seat. As well as NZV8s, she did some guest races in the SsangYong Actyon Ute Racing Series. During the 2015-16 season, she raced in BNT NZ Touring Cars, in a Team Kiwi Commodore again. Despite missing some races, she was fifth overall, with a best finish of fourth, at Manfeild and Hampton Downs. She also made some guest appearances in Aussie Racing Cars, driving for Team New Zealand. She began racing in 2012, in local club races, in a Toyota Starlet. In 2013, she competed with her father, Ian, driving a Holden Commodore in endurance races.

Chelsea Herbert – former junior karter who took her first steps in senior competition in the 2014-2015 season, aged 16. She raced in the SsangYong Actyon Ute Racing Series, but was unable to complete the season due to receiving a concussion in round five. After a three-month recovery, she returned to kart racing, at least temporarily. Later in 2015, she may have been part of an all-female record run at the CRC Speedshow. She returned to Utes for the 2015-16 season, and had an up and down year, with two podium finishes. For the 2016-17 season, she is racing in BNT NZ Touring Cars, in a Ford Falcon. At the time of writing, she has earned one third place, at Pukehohe. 

(Image copyright Matthew Hansen)