Sunday, 24 July 2016

Lucile Cypriano


Lucile on the podium in 2015

Lucile is a French driver who races saloons. She was the winner of the 2013 FIA Women in Motorsport Scirocco-R Shootout.

Prior to her burgeoning senior career, she raced karts from the age of twelve, winning her first race at seven years old, and finishing in the top ten of several French championships. During her time in karting, she was scouted by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission as a future talent.

Her first step into senior motorsport was in 2013, in the French F4 championship. She was still not quite seventeen. Her best finish was eighth, at Le Mans, at the start of the season. It was not the most consistent of years for her, and she was troubled by non-finishes later on, but this was a learning period. She was 21st overall in the championship.

At the end of 2013, she was selected for the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s Scirocco-R Shootout. She was one of twelve young drivers who got through to the final stage, and she beat the likes of Naomi Schiff and Gosia Rdest to the award. Her prize was a funded season in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Championship in 2014.

In 2014, she took her prize drive in the VW Scirocco-R Championship. She held her own on track, and finished all ten rounds. Her best overall finish was eighth, achieved at the Norisring and Oschersleben. She also finished in the top ten on three more occasions: two ninths and a tenth. She was twelfth overall, second out of the championship’s four female regulars.

In 2015, the Scirocco Cup was shelved, to be replaced by the Audi TT Cup. Lucile was set to make a double-pronged attack on the Audi TT one-make series, and the SEAT Leon Eurocup. After quietly dropping out of the TT Cup, her main focus became the SEAT series, and it was a good move. Lucile scored her first senior win at Catalunya, in the last round of the season, having managed two previous thirds, at Estoril and Monza. She was ninth in the championship. 

She also had her first taste of full international competition, making a guest appearance in the Spanish rounds of the TCR International Series, driving a SEAT Leon. Out of two races at Valencia, she scored one twelfth place.

The SEAT Leon Eurocup was her chosen destination for 2016, building on her 2015 success. At the time of writing, she has scored a second place at Estoril and a third at Paul Ricard.

She continues to be supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.

(Image copyright Lucile Cypriano)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Anett György


Anett in 2016

Anett György is a Hungarian driver who races a Lotus Elise in the Hankook Racer Cup in Hungary.

She began her racing career in 2013, in the Lotus Ladies’ Cup, which was based in Eastern Europe. She was seventeen years old, and the youngest driver on the grid. It took her a few races to get into her stride, but she was soon fairly competitive, and averaging fourth or fifth place. Her first podium was at the Hungaroring, behind Adrienn Bende and Liesette Braams. She was fifth in the championship.

Anett returned to the Ladies’ Cup in 2014, and was soon one of the front-runners. By the time the series was cancelled in August, due to a dispute with the Hungarian motorsport authorities, she had scored three third places from six races, and had started from pole at the first round at Oschersleben. Unfortunately, she did not finish that race. She was fourth overall.

Later in the season, she joined the RCM Swift Cup for the last three races, at the Hungaroring. It proved a tough initiation, and her best results were two fourteenth places.

In 2015, she did the full series, and was a much improved driver. In her first race at the Hungaroring, she broke into the top ten, finishing ninth. During the season, she averaged tenth place, with a pair of sixths, at the Slovakiaring and the Hungaroring, as her best results. She was tenth in the championship.

In 2016, she went back to racing a Lotus Elise, but now in mixed competition. She entered the Hankook Racer Cup, and started the season in the best way possible, with a maiden win. This was followed by a second and third win at the same meeting. At the time of writing, she is leading the championship after a fourth win, at the Pannoniaring, a third and two second places.

During her first Lotus season, Anett became one of a tiny handful of father/daughter racing pairs to compete in FIA-sanctioned series at the same meeting. Her father, Gábor, also competes in the RCM Cup, and they raced against one another in 2015. The same year, Anett navigated for her father on the Szilveszter Rally, in a Suzuki Swift.

(Image copyright Anett György)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Women Drivers in National Sportscar Racing: the Nordic countries


Heidi Frydenhaug

This post consists mainly of entries split off from the Women Drivers in National Sportscar Racing post. The Nordic countries have produced several women drivers for their domestic sportscar series in recent years, both in one-make championships like the Ginetta Cup, and in the popular Thundersports category.

Jenna Brorsson - Swedish sportscar driver. The Porsche Carrera Cup of Scandinavia was her home in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. She came seventh in 2004, despite only entering four rounds, and sixth in 2005. After a break in 2006, she switched to the Swedish Ginetta Cup in a G20, winning a race in 2007 and coming third in the championship. Although she could not repeat her race win in 2008, she was never out of the top ten, apart from one retirement. Her best finish was third, at Falkenberg, and she was sixth in the championship standings. She also takes part in historic events: her earliest motorsport experiences were in her father's Lotus Cortina, and she competed internationally in a Porsche 962 in 2005.

Heidi Frydenhaug – Norwegian driver who races in the Danish Thundersports Championship (DTC), in a Ford Mustang. 2016 is her second season in Thundersports; she was 22nd in the 2015 championship, with a best finish of ninth, at Rudskogen. Previously, she raced in the Seven championship in Norway, and was the winner of the Junior Rookie Cup in 2010, at the age of 21. She began her senior racing career in 2009, in the Seven, after ten years of karting. In between racing the Seven and the Mustang, she drove a Renault Clio in the Norwegian GT4 championship.

Linda Johansson - Swedish driver who began her senior racing career in 2005, in the Swedish Renault Junior Cup. She was eleventh overall in a Renault 5. After a break where she returned to karting for a while, she reappeared in 2010, in the Ginetta G20 Cup. She was immediately in the top ten, and had a best finish of sixth, at Kinnekulle. She was eighth overall. Her second G20 season did not go quite so well, with several DNFs and only eleventh in the championship, although she managed to better her top finish to fifth, again at Kinnekulle. Her 2012 season was curtailed due to pregnancy, although she rejoined the G20 championship and posted seven top-ten finishes, including a fourth, at her favoured Kinnekulle track. She was seventh overall, despite missing almost half of the season. In 2013, she raced in the Swedish Clio Cup. Her best finishes were two fifth places, at Karlskoga and Ostersund, and she was normally in the top ten. She was ninth overall. In 2014, she had a very good year in the Clio Cup, with a win at Göteborg, and four other podiums. She was fourth in the championship. She does not appear to have raced in 2015. 

Kirsi Kangas - has raced Porsches in her native Finland since at least 2011, when she took part in some national-level GT racing in a 997, in the mixed Avon GT and Porsche GT championship. In 2012, she raced in both her club’s Porsche GT Racing Cup, and the Finnish GT3 Cup, in a 997 GT3. She was eleventh in the club cup and sixth in the GT3 Cup, with several seventh places as her best finishes. In 2013, she raced in the GT3 Cup again, which was part of the Finrace championships. She did not do as well as in 2012, partly because the field was much larger this year, and finished fourteenth overall. Her best result was eleventh, at Ahvenisto. She was active in Porsche club motorsport in Finland in 2014, and was quite successful, earning a number of runner-up spots. 

Molly Pettit - Norwegian driver who races a Ford Mustang in Scandinavia. She began in the Norwegian GT championship in 2009, in a Nissan 200SX, which she used for several seasons. After changing it for a Toyota Altezza in 2012, she was second in the GT4 class. In 2013, she switched to stock cars in the Mustang, competing in Thundersports. In her first season, she was eleventh in the Danish championship, with a best finish of seventh, at Padborg, and second in the Norwegian series. In 2014, she continued this arrangement. She was fifteenth in the Danish championship, and made one appearance in the Northern European championship. In 2015, she raced in Danish Thundersports again. However, her season was cut short by a massive accident in the second race. She hopes to return in 2016. As well as her own racing, she got a job as a TV reporter for the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

(Image copyright HF Racing)

Friday, 8 July 2016

Claudia Steffek



Claudia Steffek is an Austrian former Formula 3 driver who had a high profile during her short career in the late 1990s. She was a rival to her fellow Austrian, Osmunde Dolischka, and was touted as a Formula One hopeful.

After a short but successful karting career from the ages of thirteen to sixteen, she started racing Formula Ford at 17, in 1996. Her first season brought her first win, in the last race of the year, at Brno.

A second season in Formula Ford followed. She was second in the German international championship. No race results are forthcoming for this series. With some good performances in Formula Ford under her belt, Claudia was keen to progress up the ladder. The same year, she stepped up to Formula 3, in the Zone A European series, and was apparently third in the championship. Unfortunately, no results for that championship are forthcoming either.  She was driving for the Italian ADM team, who would continue to support her for the next two seasons.

Formula 3 was her main focus in 1998, and here, she starts to turn up on the bigger starting grids that are still available to consult. Claudia appears in the Austrian and Central European championships, driving an Alfa Romeo-engined Dallara F391, under the banner of her own Claudia Steffek Racing Team. She had a best finish of fourth in the Austrian championship, at Brno, in September. In addition to this, she was fifth on several occasions. She was running in the Austria Cup class for older cars, but finished above drivers in much more recent machinery more than once. Her final position was sixth in Austrian F3, and she was also fifth in the Austrian Racing Championship.

1999 was her best season yet. She had secured sponsorship from Fujitsu Siemens, from under the nose of her female opponent, Osmunde Dolischka. This caused some rancour, but did not affect Claudia’s on-track performances too much. This year, she had access to a newer car, a 1994 Dallara, and her year started promisingly with a fifth place at Spielberg. She was then fourth at Most, eighth twice at Brno, and in August, secured her first Formula 3 podium, a third at Most. This then improved to a second place, at Rijeka in Croatia. She would also score a third and fifth at this track. The final meeting, at Brno, gave her another third, and a fifth. Her consistency and speed meant that she was an impressive third in the Austrian F3 championship.

For the 2000 season, she set her sights on Italian Formula 3000. She was named as a driver for the Malta Racing* team in March, and stated that her aim was to be racing in Formula One by 2002. The team, however, pulled out before the season started, and she does not appear to have raced since. This does suggest that she lost more than sponsorship, and that her own money may have been taken. It is a shame that she did not get the chance to make a comeback, as she was still only twenty when her career finished.

*no connection is implied with other motorsport organisations with similar names.


(Image from www.motorline.cc)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Francesca Linossi


Francesca with her Ford Mustang

Francesca Linossi is a versatile Italian racer, active since the age of 16. She is from Brescia.

Her senior career began in 2007. Following several years of karting, she drove in four rounds of the Citroen C1 Cup, the youngest competitor to do so in Italian saloon racing history.

Unsatisfied with the little C1, she moved up to the Italian Touring Car Endurance Championship, in a BMW 120d, the following year. She was driving for Team Millennium with Stefania Grassetto. This earned her a third place in the diesel class. She also raced in the Porsche Cayman Cup, and was the youngest driver in Italian history to drive a 2000cc+ car.

By then, she was gravitating towards GT racing, and she raced in the Coppa Shell Ferrari Challenge in 2009. She was a solid eighth in the championship.

Ever-keen to advance, she drove another  Ferrari 430 in the Italian GT Cup in 2010, and scored her first podium places, a third and a second at Vallelunga. She also managed a fifth at Misano. The rest of her season was rather up and down, with several DNFs, and she was 21st overall. This year, she drove some races against her father, Luciano Linossi, who was racing a Lamborghini. They also teamed up for one round, at Mugello, but did not finish.

In 2011, she retained some involvement with the GT Cup, driving the Ferrari in the GT2 class this time, but she only did two races. These both resulted in class wins, and she was fifth in the championship. This was largely down to her third place overall at Mugello. Her co-driver was her father, Luciano.

However, apart from some guest runs in the Lamborghini Pro-Am Trophy, which did not result in many points, her focus this year was touring cars, once more. She raced in the Superstars championship in a BMW M3, which proved rather difficult, and her best finishes were a pair of elevenths, at Algarve and Misano. She was unplaced in both the International and the Italian championships.

Not surprisingly, she did not return in 2012, instead competing in a familiar Ferrari F430 run by Black Team. She was racing in the International GT Sprint Series, in which she was seventh, after nine races. Her best result was fourth, at her favoured circuit of Mugello.

In addition to this, she did a part-season in the MINI Rushour series, and was tenth.

Having found a tin-top she liked, she ran in all twelve Italian Mini Challenge races in 2013. It was a good career move, which saw her recording her first win, at Red Bull Ring, and four further top-three finishes, at Mugello, Franciacorta, Imola and Monza. She was fourth in the final standings.

In 2014, she raced in the NASCAR Whelen Euroseries, in a Chevrolet stock car. Her best finish was eighth, at the Nürburgring, and she was 20th overall. This was mainly down to a shaky start to the season; she had to miss one of the early races at Valencia, after a DNF, and then did not finish round three at Brands Hatch, either. She picked up speed shortly after.

Later in the year, she made an appearance in the EuroV8 Series in Germany, driving a BMW M3. She was substituting for Maurizio Copetti, and was tenth at the Sachsenring.

Most of 2015 was spent on a second season in the NASCAR Whelen Series, in the Elite 2 class. A more assured Francesca managed five top-ten finishes, the best of these being a seventh, at Brands Hatch. She was ninth overall in her Ford Mustang.

Early in the season, she also took part in the Mugello 12 Hours in a Porsche 911, but did not finish. She was driving for the Dinamic team, with Niccolo Mercatali, Tiziano Cappelletti and Alex de Giacomi, all from Italy.

In 2016, she moved away from stock cars again, and back to the Italian GT championship. In another departure, her car is not a Ferrari, but a Nissan GT-R Nismo, which she races in the Super GT3 class with Lorenzo Bontempelli. At the time of writing, her best finish is a fourth place, at Misano.

(Image from http://www.bresciaoggi.it/)

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Morna Vaughan


Morna with her Standard in 1933

Morna Vaughan was a British rally driver from the 1930s onward. She is mostly remembered for her drives in the Monte Carlo Rally between 1931 and 1952, which were often eventful rather than strictly successful.

Morna was born Morna Lloyd Rawlins in India, in 1882. Rallying was very much a second career for her; she was one of the first wave of women to qualify as medical doctors, and worked as an Army surgeon during the First World War. This made her one of the first female surgeons in the UK. After the war, and her 1917 marriage to Francis Vaughan, she continued to practise. She was the head of the “Female VD” department (genito-urinary medicine) of Guy’s Hospital in London from 1917, until at least 1935. In addition to this, she was a consultant surgeon to several London hospitals, specialising in women’s GU medicine.

She began driving in 1924, when she was forty-two. Her first major competition experience seems to have been in 1930, when she entered the JCC Half-Day Trial, in a Standard. She was one of the “First Class” award winners. Trials were something to which she would return throughout her career, with some success. That year, she drove a Wolseley Hornet at Shelsley Walsh, making the climb in 80.8 seconds.

Her first Monte Carlo Rally was in 1931, and she drove a Riley. She does not appear on the lists of finishers, but there are no reports of her getting involved in any particular accidents or other drama.

In 1932, she was sixth in the Light Car class of the Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Triumph Nine. This year, she also won her only Monte Coupe des Dames. This was in spite of a lengthy stop close to the end of the rally, when Morna and her co-driver, Charlotte Nash, a medical student, stopped to help another crew. They set several broken legs and gave extensive medical assistance, giving up any chance of a good final time, but still hanging on to the Ladies’ prize.

The following year, she drove a Standard on the Monte, with Elsie Wisdom as her navigator. They started from Tallinn in Estonia. Later in the year, Morna did the RAC Rally in a Wolseley Hornet. Her co-driver’s name is not recorded, and she may not have finished.

After 1933, she took a break from international competition. That year, she entered the Colmore Trial for at least the second time, winning a third class award in the Standard. Between then and 1937, she was an active and enthusiastic member of the Women’s Automobile and Sports Club (WASA), the British women’s motorsport association. She took part in their trials, which often seemed to be held in the Cotswolds, in the Standard.

Her fourth Monte was in 1937. Driving the Standard, she did not make the finish this time, due to accident damage. Her last pre-war event was the 1939 Monte, still driving the Standard. She finished in 48th place, trailing Yvonne Simon and Louise Lamberjack for the Coupe des Dames.

Unusually, she resumed her motorsport activities after World War II. By this time, she had retired from medical practice and was well into her sixties. In 1951, she returned to the Monte Carlo Rally, in an AC Ace, but did not finish.

Her last major rally was the 1952 Monte. In classic style, this was an eventful test for Morna, now 69. In an interview at the start, she professed not to remember how many rallies she had taken part in. She completed the greater part of the event in a decent time, but unfortunately ran out of petrol near Paris. Despite terrible winter weather, she managed to refuel, with the help of a passerby, and get on her way again. However, somewhere near Clermont-Ferrand, another car ran into the back of her Jowett Javelin, which burst into flames. She was not seriously hurt.

After her retirement from medicine, she lived on a smallholding. She died in 1969.

Morna’s collection of trophies and newspaper cuttings is now held at the National Motor Museum. Their online summary of its contents was a great help in writing this article.

(Image copyright http://www.motoringpicturelibrary.com/)

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky


Mikaela in 2015

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky is a Swedish driver who has raced in international one-make series for Volkswagen and Audi.

She began karting at the age of twelve, and spent five years in various championships. In 2009, she was fourth in the Swedish Rotax Max championship.

Her first full season of senior competition was in 2012. Instead of learning the ropes in a Swedish national championship, she jumped straight into the VW Scirocco-R Cup, based in Germany, having passed its selection procedure. It was not the easiest of years, with two thirteenths at Oschersleben her best finishes. She was 19th in the championship. As well as other up and coming young drivers, she raced against guests such as Damon Hill and WRC champion Sébastien Ogier. At the end of the season, she secured an invite to the FIA Women In Motorsport commission’s Scirocco-R Shootout, a competition for female drivers with a funded season in the 2012 Cup as its prize. Mikaela was second, behind Michelle Gatting.

As well as tin-tops, she tried her hand at GT racing, taking part in some rounds of the Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup. Her best finish was eighth, at Solvalla, one of three top-tens she achieved in five races. She was twelfth in the championship.

A second season in the Scirocco-R Cup saw a more assured Mikaela. Towards the middle of the season, she broke into the top five for the first time, finishing fourth at the Norisring. She followed this up with a second at the Nürburgring, her best race of the season. She was eighth in the championship.

In a somewhat backwards move, she spent some time in 2013 in Sweden, racing in the Clio Cup, which ran as the Swedish Junior Touring Car Championship. She was twelfth in that championship, too, after a part-season. Her best finish was sixth, at Kinnekulle.

She had her best season yet in the Scirocco-R Cup in 2014, and was the strongest of the female entrants. She won one race, at the Norisring, the first female driver to do so. Despite five more top-tens, four of those being top fives, some poor finishes at Oschersleben and Hockenheim let her down.  She was ninth in the championship.

That year, she also took part in rallycross, racing an RX Lites Ford Fiesta. She raced in the Swedish and Turkish rounds, and performed best in Sweden; she was fifth in the final. In Turkey, she got as far as the semi-final. At the end of the season, she was fourteenth in the championship. She had a similar experience during her part-season in the Swedish Supercar Lites championship: fifth in on final at Höljesbanan, and eighth overall in the championship.

In 2015, she entered the Audi Sport TT Cup, the successor to the now-defunct Scirocco series. A series of non-finishes, including a crash at Oschersleben, dropped her down the leaderboard to fifteenth. However, her race results were quite good, and included a third place, at the Norisring. When she made the finish, she was almost always in the top ten.

For 2016, she remained with the Audi marque, but took a step up into sportscar racing, in an R8 LMS. At the time of writing, she is racing in the ADAC GT Masters in Germany, for Aust Motorsport, as a team-mate to Marco Bonanomi. It has been a steep learning curve for both of them, and Mikaela has a best finish of seventeenth, at Oschersleben.

She is the daughter of rally driver Susanne Kottulinsky, and grand-daughter of Freddy Kottulinsky, another rally driver. Although she grew up in a motorsport family, she had no interest in it whatsoever until she was a teenager, preferring dance and gymnastics.

Mikaela’s profile has risen recently, due to her being romantically linked to Max Verstappen. However, she remains focused on her own racing career, and aims to compete in the DTM in future.

(Image from http://www.mikaelaracing.com)