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The women behind the wheel

The women behind the wheel - News

To mark International Women's Day on 8th March, is celebrating some of the most inspiring, influential and intrepid female drivers of the past and the present from the first undisputed champion of speed, Dorothy Levitt, to young aspiring champions like the Japanese racing prodigy, Juju Noda.

Dorothy Levitt

Dorothy Levitt was an early motorist who competed in speed trials and long distance races, setting the Ladies World Speed record on Madeira Drive in the Brighton Speed Trials of 1905, by driving her Napier racing car at 79.75 mph.

However, Levitt also has another claim to fame. In her book: The Woman and the Car: a chatty little handbook for all women who motor, Levitt suggested women should "carry a little hand mirror in a convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic", thus inventing the rear view mirror before it was introduced by manufacturers in 1914.

Leila Lombardi

The name Leila Lombardi is firmly etched into the motorsport history books. Dubbed 'Formula 1's First Lady', Lombardi remains the only female to score points while competing in a Formula 1 race.

Over the course of her career, Lombardi started an impressive twelve F1 races, spanning the 1974-1976 seasons. After her Formula 1 career, Lombardi also had notable success in sports car racing; in 1979 she won both the 6 hours of Pergusa and 6 hours of Vallelunga races. Lombardi also competed numerous times at 24 Hours of Le Mans with her best result, a ninth place finish, coming in 1976.

Tragically, Lombardi succumbed to breast cancer on her 51st birthday. However, her legacy lives on today, and she is often cited as one of the main inspirations of modern motorsport drivers.

Michèle Mouton

Michèle Mouton drove her way to success in the world of the World Rally Championships. Mouton competed against the best drivers, and even beat them at their own game during the fearsome, high speed and often terrifying Group B era of rallying in the early 1980s.

Such was Mouton's success, Motorsport Magazine wrote in 1981: "Mouton is never shown any quarter by her male rivals, nor does she ask any, for she is a rally driver among rally drivers".

Now seventy years old, Mouton is helping the current and next generation of female drivers and only recently stepped down as president of the FIA's Women & Motorsport Commission.

Jamie Chadwick

The roots of Jamie Chadwick's interest in motorsport can be traced back not to parental influence or watching the stars of Formula 1 on television, but a good old fashioned sibling rivalry! Aged 11 Jamie was inspired to start racing after her brother, Ollie (now also a professional driver), challenged her to a race at a karting party.

From there, Jamie became the youngest, and first, female driver to win a British GT Championship, and then the first female winner of a British Formula 3 race. Jamie boasts two W Series Championships.

Juju Noda

As of today, there has never been a female winner of Formula 1, and some doubt there ever will be - but trying telling Juju Noda that! At just age 14, Noda has big dreams to rip up the motorsport formbook by eventually topping the podium at an F1 race.

Impressively, the racing prodigy from Japan has already made her European racing debut in the Danish Formula 4 Championship.

Be Inspired

If you are inspired by the stories of any of these women and want to try your hand at getting behind the wheel yourself, check out our range of track days and driving experiences available at venues across the UK.

07 March 2022

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