Throughout history, there have been quite a few women who excelled in various male-dominated motorsport disciplines. There’s rally driver Michèle Mouton, Formula 1’s (F1) Lella Lombardi, and most recently NASCAR’s Danica Patrick, to name a few, that have cemented their respective legacies.
In celebration of International Women’s month this March, we list a handful of current lady drivers that you should look out for. Inspiring women to break barriers, these notable women might be reaching the top-tier of motorsport sooner than we think.
Abigail "Abbie" Eaton
Abigail Eaton is The Grand Tour’s current test driver. She is tasked with setting hot laps using various vehicles around the show’s Eboladrome race track to see which goes fastest. Sounds easy? Considering how narrow the track can be at certain areas and the pace she drives the cars, it’s definitely not an easy task.
She also has an impressive career winning the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Supercup Championship, and finishing second in the 2016 Pro/Am division of the British GT Championship. Eaton also became the first female ever to win a class in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series where she drove a Ferrari 488 GT3 race car.
Whether it’s 2, 4, 8, or 24 hours – endurance racing is arguably one of the toughest forms of motorsport in the world, and that’s where Christina Nielsen currently participates in. Her recent accolades include winning the GTD class title in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in 2016 and 2017, making her the first woman to win a major race series in America.
The Columbian racing driver Tatiana Calderón probably has the highest chances of driving in F1 today. Just recently, she was officially named the test driver of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team. Although her role will be limited to the simulator, she will be coached by the team’s engineers at the Sauber HQ in Switzerland and on-site during race weekends.
Apart from that, she will also gain valuable open-wheel racing experience in GP3, driving for Jenzer Motorsport. If all goes well, we might see her get a test drive of the current F1 cars soon.
Although Carmen Jorda doesn’t have any notable accomplishments on the track, the Spanish racer is making a name for herself when she was elected into the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Women in Motorsport Commission, encouraging more women to participate in all levels of motorsport.
Recently, the all-electric race series ABB FIA Formula E gave her the chance to try out one of its test cars, which you can watch on the video below.
We can’t end the list without our very own Gabie Desales. The 20-year old Filipina driver is a graduate of the Automobile Association of the Philippines’ (AAP) Motorsport Development Program (MSDP), which we participated in last year. She raced in the National Slalom Series in 2017 using a race-prepped Honda Civic, and bagged ladies class overall champion. This year, Desales will be moving up to participate in the country's premier grassroots motorsport event called FlatOut Race Series (FORS).
There you have it – an impressive list of women currently participating in various levels of motorsport around the world. These ladies prove that anyone, regardless of gender, can make it in the world of racing or any where else – all they need is an equal chance.