Who said automotive racing is for men? There have been several instances where women have competed and won accolades. So, let’s take a look at five women who are breaking gender barriers and paving the way for women across the globe.

We usually associate automotive racing with men. And, that’s fair, considering it has always been a male-dominated enterprise. But, there have also been several female racers who have entered the league and found their place in the sun. Take for instance Sara Christian; she was the first woman to ever compete in a NASCAR race, way back in 1949. Or, Shirley Muldowney, who was coined the ‘First Lady of Drag Racing’ after being the first woman to ever win an NHRA drag race championship.  These women have not only won trophies and accolades but also broken gender-barriers and paved the way for others. Today, let’s take a look at the fresher crop of female race car drivers who are carrying the torch and continuing to shatter stereotypes.

Christina Nielsen

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Christina Nielsen, a Danish race car driver, was the first female to win a WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series title. Guided by her father Lars-Erik Nielsen who raced in the 24hrs of Le Mans, Christina started off her racing career in 2007 with Karting. She later switched to Formula Racing in 2010. By 2016, she and her team won the 12hrs of Sebring.

Katherine Legge

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British racer Katherine Legge has been in the game for almost 20 years now. She has participated in leagues like Formula E, NASCAR, European Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, etc. Back in 2000, when she first started off, she was the first woman to achieve a pole in a Zetec race. Then, in 2001, she became the first woman to receive BRDC’s “Rising Star” award. Soon after, in 2005, she also became the first woman to test a Formula E car.

Rahel Frey

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Swiss Audi factory racing driver Rahel Frey has competed in series like the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, International Formula Master and the German Formula Three Championship.  In 2010, Frey competed in the LMGT1 category of 24hrs of Le Mans. In 2019, she joined the all-female Kessell team for the European Le Mans series. It was the first all-women team to have finished since 1977.

Simona De Silvestro

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Simona De Silvestro is a Swiss-Italian race car driver who was appointed as a factory driver for Porsche in 2019. Prior to that, she was a development driver for Formula One and has competed in several race series like IMSA SportsCars, Australian SuperCars and Formula E. She also got the “Indy Rookie of the Year” accolade.

Michelle Gatting

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Danish-based racer Michelle Gatting currently competes in the European Le Mans series. She also entered the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, International GT Open, and the Danish-based Thundersport Championship, where she became the first woman to win a race. In 2019, she competed in the 24hrs of Le Mans.

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