Shake the magic eight ball. It says Go Fast Girls. Women have been racing cars for over 120 years.
During the 1920s, Mary Bruce finished sixth in the Monte Carlo Rally, covering the race’s 1,700 miles without sleep in 72 hours. Maria Teresa de Filippis raced Maseratis in Formula One Grand Prix throughout the 1950s. And during the 1970s and 80s, Shirley Muldowney attained high status among the dominating male race car drivers.
Auto racing has come a long way since then. There are skilled, experienced women behind the wheel, in the pits, and on engineering teams — in greater numbers than ever before. From NHRA and Formula 1 to NASCAR, women are making a name for themselves. From setting track records to blazing podium finishes — women are turning the page on a once-dominated male sport.
Here at GFG — we understand it’s not sufficient enough to just be a girl driver — but a driver who competes, wins, and is respected for it. Underrated and undervalued — GFG is highlighting the most prominent and promising female names in racing.
Simona de Silvestro – Swiss Racing Driver for Porsche Motorsport
A former development driver for Formula One, ‘Swiss Miss’ Simona has competed several series, including Australian Supercars, Formula E, and IMSA SportsCars. De Silvestro has started five — 1, 2, 3, 4 — yes 5 — Indy 500s over her career.
This May, De Silvestro will join Parretta Autosport for the 2021 Indy 500. Paretta Autosport is a new team spearheaded by female automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta. The team will make their IndyCar debut in the 105th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. De Silvestro recently thanked Porsche for the support and giving her the green light to compete with Team Parretta in the Indy 500.
De Silvestro stated, “I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year. My career really took off through my time competing in INDYCAR and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career. Being part of the goal of diversity and inclusion for everyone, and especially women in INDYCAR, and in motorsports in general, is very important to me and how I would like to see the future of racing. I want to thank the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for taking such an important leadership role in providing gender and overall diversity inclusion in motorsports.”
Katherine Legge – Michael Shank Racing
Over the years, Legge has competed in several series — from karting to champ car, DTM to IndyCar, and Sports Cars to Formula E. Currently Legg is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Michael Shank Racing.
At the age of 40, Legge recently competed in the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona for a top ten finish.
Legge states, "Commit 110 percent – and don’t give up. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do – so make sure you are committed or don’t try at all, as you will only be doing yourself, and other female drivers, a disservice."
Rahel Frey – Swiss Racer for Audi Sport Racing
As an Audi driver, Frey has now competed in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, International Formula Master series, and the German Formula Three Championship. Frey will complete in the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes races in Le Mans, Monza, and Bahrain.
When asked about Frey during the Daytona 500, Katherine Legge stated, “You're used to behaving like one of the guy racers, and now you’ve got the four girls together and these are four of the only people in the world who have the same life experience that you have and see it from your perspective. So, it was actually really cool. We all got on really well. I’ve gotten closer with Nielsen, having raced an entire season with her, and describes Calderón and Frey as uber-professional."
Sheena Monk – Driver of McLaren 570SGT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
Monk has competed in the Super Trofeo North American Series and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Along with co-driver Lewis, she competed in a four-hour BMW Endurance Race in Daytona in January. Monk currently drives the No. 3 McLaren 570S GT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with partner Spencer Pigot.
When Spencer Pigot was asked about his partner Sheena Monk, he added “It’s definitely a little interesting for me in this new program. I have a lot more overall racing experience than Sheena, driven in various series, big races, and all that, but she’s obviously got a lot more time and experience in this car, and in this championship. So, I want to share with her everything that I can, but there will definitely be things that we can take from each other because she’s the veteran in the McLaren. But my overall goal is to help her make the next step in her career, and hopefully we can win a few races together and have a good season.”