Hooniverse Asks- Who's the Best Woman Racer Ever?

Yesterday we lauded Shirley Muldowney for being a fast woman with class. But she’s not the only racer rocking the XY chromosome, and the ladies don’t exclusively drive in a straight line, a quarter mile at a time.
We all know Danica Patrick from not only her driving but also for bikini pictorials and track-side brawls. Ashley, daughter of funny car driver John, is a Force to be reckoned with, and America is not alone in putting women behind the wheel of horsepower-soaked chariots as Germany’s Sabine Schmitz proves. Janet Guthrie finished as high as 9th at Indy back in the ’70s, and was the first woman to qualify for both the Indy and Daytona 500s.
So, looking back, and looking out, who has been, or is, the best woman race car driver ever?
Image source: [ingamenow, race500.com]


  1. If I'm not mistaken, Janet Guthrie was also the first woman to race in the Bathurst 1000.
    The best woman racers have been rally car drivers…..and the best female rally driver is Michele Mouton.

  2. My order for women racers is as follows:
    Michèle Mouton
    Sabine Schmitz
    Janet Guthrie
    Sara Christian
    Pat Moss
    Rosemary Smith
    [A small creek]
    Milka Duno
    Lyn St. James
    Ashley Force
    [An uncrossable abyss]
    Danica Patrick
    Shawna Robinson
    Sarah Fisher

    1. Milka Duno belongs across the abyss. She's positively awful- at least one former team owner and teammate are on record as stating such. It's amazing what easy access to Hugo Chavez's wallet will buy, though.
      Danica, for all of her many faults, used to have some serious skills. Her time in Europe was well-spent, and she road-raced very well against some formidable talent. Sometime around her transition from Atlantic to IRL, though, she started concentrating on The Danica Brand instead.
      Simona de Silvestro might be one to watch out for in the future, if only she doesn't end up in the toilet-circling IRL.

    2. I don't know about Ashley Force, She did finish 2nd this year.
      Milka, in Daytona Prototypes wasn't bad, but I'm not sure she knows which pedal of her IRL car is the "GO" one.

  3. Other drivers worthy of a mention:
    Rosemary Smith…a charter member of the Hooniversal Dream Girl Society.
    Pat Moss…for all the reasons the have been cited already.
    Marie Claude Beaumont, also a rally ace and (I think) the first woman to compete at LeMans.
    Ada Pace…who raced in the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, the Tour de Automobile and many Italian hillclimbs. She also raced Vespa's.

  4. +1 for that list but add motorcycle drag racer Angelle Sampey to the top category since her win record is even better than Shirley Muldowney's.

  5. I gave Duno some points for her success at 24 Hours of Daytona and for racing at Le Mans. She is on the bubble, though, and could go either way. She hasn't panned out in open wheel, as you point out, and is probably only kept around since she has a guaranteed sponsor (Citgo).
    Danica would have been across the creek a few years ago, but she has sold herself out so much that she can't be taken seriously. The final nail in that coffin is the announcement the other day that she'll be racing in NASCAR. She's jumped the shark. Big time.
    I'll have to keep an eye open for Simona, for sure!
    I'll have to k

    1. Milka's successes in sports cars have been largely due to the high-caliber co-drivers Hugo's money pays for. *I* could probably win a race or two with Andy Wallace as a co-driver.

  6. I meant earlier to throw a nod to Ellen Lohr. She notched a win in DTM back in '92, beating a field that included the likes of Keke Rosberg, Hans Stuck, Emanuele Pirro & Frank Biela. I believe she's rallying these days, which automatically raises her Awesome Ranking in my book.

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