Thursday, 23 October 2014

Yvette Fontaine


Yvette in a Ford promotional shot, 1969

Yvette was the winner of the 1969 Belgian Saloon Car Championship. She was the first woman to win a Belgian national championship.
She actually began her motorsport career as a rally driver, in 1964. Her first car was an Austin Mini, like many other drivers of her era, both male and female. She did not get a particularly auspicious start to her career, as she went over the time limit for both of the events she entered that year, which were the Tour of Belgium and the 12 Heures d’Ixelles. The Tour of Belgium was her first-ever rally. The 18-year-old Yvette had only a vague idea of how a rally ran, and was not even used to driving at the 60 kph average speed expected.
In 1965, she exchanged the Mini for a Saab 93 Sport. Although her first rally in it, the Routes Blanches, ended in another OTL, she soon worked out what was what, and began posting some decent results. She won three Ladies’ Trophies, in the Circuit des Ardennes, Ostend 12 Hours and 12 Heures d’Ixelles, and was class runner-up in the Picardie Rally, in France. For at least part of the season, she was navigated by Anita Elford, who was Belgian, but married Porsche driver, Vic.
1966 was the year her career really took off. She drove an Alfa Romeo Super 1600, and not just in rallies. As a teenager, she had often visited the Zolder circuit whilst on holiday with her parents, and now, she was racing there for real. In March, she entered the Grand National race at the circuit, and was 34th in the final race, tenth in class. She was then eleventh in her race at the Belgian Cup meeting, also at Zolder, and seventh in class at the Coupes de Spa. Later in the season, she travelled to Germany for the Marathon de la Route, at the Nürburgring, where she shared her Alfa with Hannelore Werner. They did not finish. In a different Alfa, a 1300, she won her class in the Spa 24 Hours. She and Nicole Sol were 19th overall, supported by Alfa Romeo Benelux.
On the rally side, she had a mixed season, with her fair share of retirements. She crashed out of the Tulip Rally, and missed out in the Circuit des Ardennes, by missing a time control. However, she almost made up for it with her first top-ten finish, a ninth on the Routes du Nord event. She did it again with a tenth place on the Rallye des Nivelles, near Brussels. She was co-driven, at different times, by “Gaby Poison” and “Puce” (“Flea”), who were both occasional racers on the Belgian scene.
Another new thing for Yvette this year was hillclimbs. Still in her works 1600, she tackled several Belgian and French speed events, and was Group One winner in four of them.
She continued as a multi-purpose Alfa driver in 1967. Her rally record continued to be a little hit-and-miss, with more than one incidence of missing time controls, or making mistakes with the route. This was tempered by some very creditable performances, including a seventh place in the Le Touquet rally, in France. Her car was a GTV 1600.
In the Belgian Touring Car Championship, she was picking up speed. In the Grand National races at Zolder, she was eighth in Group 2, driving a 1600 GTA, despite its rear axle being broken. At the Belgian Cup meeting, she scored her first win, in the Class D+E race, as well as finishing third in the C+D race. She was fourth in the Coupes de Spa, just ahead of Lucien Bianchi, and then second in the Chimay 500km (Grand Prix des Frontières, driving for Bianchi’s team with her rival and “fellow” Alfa racer, Nicole Sol. The second Belgian Cup meeting gave her a fourth place, after finishing third in her heat. She was second in the championship.
Across the border, in Germany, she was part of an Alfa Romeo team for the 84-hour Marathon de la Route, driving a 1600 GTA with rally driver, Jean-Marie Jacquemin, and J-M Heilman. They did not finish, due to an accident. Back at Zolder, she was third in the Division 2 race of the Limbourg Grand Prix, driving a 1600 GTA again. Her second ETCC outing came at Spa, for the 24 hour race, where she drove for Lucien Bianchi’s team again, with Jean-Marie Lagae. They did not finish, due to a con-rod failure.
Again, the Alfa team entered her into lots of hillclimbs, in which she was increasingly successful, normally driving a GTA. It was in this car that she was second in the Maquisard climb and third in the D’Houyet event. This was enough for third in the Belgian championship. As well as hillclimbs, she took part in a speed record attempt over a kilometre, in both a GTA and 1600 GTV. She broke a class record in the former, and was the best in class in the latter.
In 1968, her co-operation with Alfa Romeo ended, and she was promptly signed up by Ford of Belgium, who recognised her speed and versatility. They were interested in the promotional value of a female driver, but as previous winners of both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ titles, and only supported the most competitive. In the first race of the championship, the Belgian Cup meeting at Zolder, Yvette was second in the 1300cc race, in a Ford Escort GT 1300, run by the British Broadspeed team.
Her next race was at Chimay, over 300km, but she did not finish, due to an engine problem. Her car this time was a Twin Cam Escort, run by the works Ford team, which was still in development, and somewhat unreliable. She was third in the North Sea Trophy, and fifth in her Zolder heat, although she did not finish the main race.
She also raced in the European Touring Car Championship, driving the Broadspeed Escort at the Limbourg Grand Prix and in the Nürburgring round, sharing the car with Brian Robinson. Both ended in non-finishes, due to a water leak and a broken accelerator respectively.
As well as Belgian events, she travelled to Denmark and the UK for Ford-sponsored races, taking the works Escort to seventh at the Jyllandsring, and the Broadspeed car to sixth, at Mallory Park. She was also eighth in the Coupe du Salon, at Montlhéry.
Hillclimbing was still very much on the agenda, and she won her first climb this season, the La Roche event. She was driving a Twin Cam, although she also drove a Lotus Cortina and a Mustang during the season. Remarkably, she was also twelfth overall, with a class win, in the same climb, driving a Formula Ford. Ford Belgium experimented with putting Yvette in a single-seater in speed events and circuit races, and she even managed an eighth place in the Limbourg Formula Ford race.
Ford retained her services in 1969, and decided to allow her to concentrate mostly on saloon racing. Rallying, never her strongest discipline, was restricted to a single co-driver outing with Gilbert Stapelaere, on the Routes du Nord. She did a few hillclimbs, but achieved no more wins.
This year, she made a bigger assault on the ETCC, in the revitalised Escort Twin Cam. It began haltingly, with DNFs at Monza and Vienna, but picked up when she returned later in the season, with a sixth in the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, with Freddy Semoulin (Alain Dex). She was then eleventh in the Spa 24 Hours, with John Fitzpatrick, and won the Division 2 race at Zandvoort.
The Belgian championship also began slowly. During the Belgian Cup meeting, Yvette was moved into a Welcker Cortina, to make way for Jacky Ickx, and could only finish twelfth. Back in her usual car, she won the 1300cc race at the Zolder Grand Prix, and was fourth at Spa and third at Chimay. The Zolder Grand National and the North Sea Trophy gave her fourth, and the Coupes Benelux at Zandvoort, another win. She was second in the second Belgian Cup meeting. This, combined with her results in the ETCC, was enough to give her the Belgian Saloon Car Championship, her first championship and a first for a female driver. She had defeated Jean-Pierre Gaban, in his Porsche 911, in the last race.
Still with Ford, she returned to the Belgian series to defend her championship in 1970. She started where she left off, with a win in the Zolder Grand National race. After a DNF at the Belgian Cup races, she won again at the Zolder Grand Prix. A broken accelerator put her out at Spa, but she was sixth at Chimay, and third in the Coupes Benelux. A practice accident stopped her from competing in the final round, at Zolder. She retained her class championship, quite narrowly.
The ETCC was more problematic. Ford of Belgium, despite Chevron sponsorship, did not have the resources to run her in the full series. They entered her into the Silverstone and Zandvoort rounds, in a Twin Cam, but she did not finish the main race in either. Ford of Germany picked her up for some races, usually partnering Hannelore Werner, but she did not always make the start, due to car problems and insufficient preparation. Driving the fierce, 2300cc Capri, she did not finish at Monza, Salzburg or the Nürburgring, and was pulled out of the Spa 24 Hours line-up.
She also did one Formula Three race, at Chimay, but went out early on following a crash. Among her opponents were James Hunt and David Purley. This was her last single-seater outing. 
Ford continued to employ Yvette in 1971. Her schedule was exclusively saloon races, driving an Escort BDA. Her Belgian season began well, with a win in the Group 2 Final of the North Sea Trophy. She was then second in the Zolder Grand Prix, but only 29th in the Coupes de Spa, after not finishing a heat. Her car’s engine failed at Chimay, but she was second in the Belgian Cup. The Benelux Cup gave her a third place. She was fifth at Nivelles, and could not retain her championship, although she was awarded the ladies’ championship as a consolation.
In the European championship, she got some support again from Ford of Germany, although in an Escort, rather than one of the now-dominant Capris. She was fourth at the Nürburgring, with Gerry Birrell. Driving for the BP-sponsored British Vita team, she did not finish the Spa 24 Hours. A works drive in the Zandvoort Trophy did not help either, as she lost fuel pressure. The Paul Ricard double six-hour race also ended in retirement.
A late high point of 1971 was Yvette’s part in some Ford speed records, set over a kilometre on a Belgian motorway. As part of a team including Jackie Stewart, she set new records in an Escort, Capri, and, most famously, a Transit Van with a Formula One engine.
Her 1972 season was mostly based around the Belgian championship. She drove for the Ford BP team once more, and started the season in a 3-litre Capri, in which she was fourth and second at Zolder, but did not finish at Nivelles, after the throttle linkage failed. For the Coupes de Spa, she drove an Escort, but was only seventh. She was fourth at Chimay and Nivelles. A win in the last round, at Zolder, pushed her up to fourth in the championship.
The Spa 24 Hours was disappointing again: Yvette shared an Escort RS 1600 with Gillian Fortescue-Thomas, but the head gasket blew. Her only other outing was a trip to England, where she was fifth in a Ford Consul race at Brands Hatch.
The Ford team was struggling a little by 1973, and Yvette drove a private car this year in some rounds of the Belgian championship. She was fifth in the EEG Trophy, at Zolder, and a battling third at the Nivelles 24 Hours meeting. She was also eighth in the Zolder Grand Prix race. Her Spa 24 Hours ended in another blown engine.
For the first part of 1974, Yvette continued in the Belgian championship, with a 1300cc Escort. She did two races at Zolder, finishing the second in third place. Later, after missing one round, she got a last Ford works drive, in a Capri. She was seventh in one Zolder race, and fourth in the EEG Trophy. They also backed her for the Spa 24 Hours, driving a Capri with Claude Borgoignie, but the car’s head gasket went.

Yvette's Capri at Zolder, 1974

Through Ford’s links with Chevron, Yvette’s career received a welcome new challenge, in the shape of sportscar racing. She raced a Ford-engine Chevron B21 in the Spa 1000km, with her erstwhile rival, and replacement at Alfa Romeo, Christine Beckers. They did not finish, but this proved valuable practice for Le Mans, the following month. Driving as the “Ecurie Seiko Sato”, Yvette and Christine, with Marie Laurent, were 17th overall, and won the 2000cc class.
Despite her continuing good performances in the face of decreasing support, Ford dispensed with Yvette’s services at the end of the 1974 season. The fuel crisis had hit them hard, and sponsorship was getting harder to come by. Her modest Le Mans success was recognised, and she was invited to be part of Anny-Charlotte Verney’s Porsche 911 Carrera RS team. They were eleventh overall and second in class. The third driver was Corinne Tarnaud.
The Belgian touring car championship itself had gone into decline, and now only had three rounds. The European series was plagued by problems. Yvette had been in talks with BMW about a drive, but it did not materialise. She was picked up by Atlas Racing for a couple of rounds of the Trophée l’Avenir, driving a BMW 3.0 CSi. Her team-mate was Noel van Assche, known as “Pedro”. They were eleventh in the EEG Trophy, but second in the Spa 24 Hours. This was Yvette’s best-ever finish in that race.
After this, Yvette called time on her professional racing career, at the age of 29. Although she had won many races and achieved considerable success, there was now less money in motorsport than ever, and she had never been paid anything near the amounts her male team-mates had. In 1976, she accepted a couple of drives in a Chevrolet Camaro in the ETCC, but these were her last big races. She shared Reine Wisell’s car with him and Stuart Graham for the Spa 24 Hours, but did not finish. In a different Camaro, for “Team Zip-Up”, she was 20th, but not classified, in the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone. Her team-mates were Rune Tobiasson and Rudy Host.
The end of her professional career was not the end of her involvement with motorsport. Yvette continued, and continues, to compete, on and off, in club rallies, hillclimbs and races, and historic events. She has also organised track days for female drivers. 
(Images from www.forum-auto.com and www.touringcarrracing.net (Paul Kooyman).


Friday, 3 October 2014

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Southeast Asia


Natasha Seatter wins at Dubai in 2012

Most of the entries in this post have been split off from Circuit Racers in Southeast Asia

Alexandra Asmasoebrata - Indonesian driver who has competed up to international Formula Renault level. After several years of karting, she first drove in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge in 2006, aged eighteen. She was 24th overall after participating in seven races.
In 2008, she reappeared in AFR, after a year spent karting. She was twelfth this time, with a best finish of fifth, at Zhuhai. A shorter season in 2009 meant that eighth was her best finish, also at Zhuhai, a feat she repeated in 2010. In 2011, she drove in both the Asian Formula Renault Challenge and Formula Pilota in China. She was third in Formula Renault. Unfortunately, she only entered four races in 2012: three rounds of Asian Formula Renault. Her finishes were two sevenths, and two DNFs. In 2013, she took part in Asian Formula Renault, entering six races and earning two thirds and four fourths. She was fourth overall. In the near future, she hopes to race in Formula Three.

Michele Bumgarner - based in the Philippines. She is a multiple karting champion, in southeast Asia and America, and started racing at ten. In 2006, she raced in Asian F3, finishing eleventh overall, third in the Promotion class and fourth in the National class. This was prior to a move to America in 2007, in order to further her single-seater ambitions. At the beginning of 2008, she did some training at the Jim Russell racing school and trials for Indy Lights. In the end, she settled for Formula Mazda for 2008. Her Indy lights testing appeared to have paid off, however; she was selected for the NexGen team’s driver development scheme and was set to compete in Indy Lights in 2009. However, the deal fell through, and she returned to karting. She made a small return to Formula Mazda in 2013, entering two races and finishing ninth in one.

Akiko Kobayashi - raced in Asian Formula BMW in 2003. She was not one of the front-runners, but finished most rounds, and managed to score a few top-ten positions. Her best finish seems to have been eighth, at Goldenport.

Gaby de la Merced - Filipino driver who came second in Philippine National Formula 3 in 2006, as well as thirteenth in Asian Formula 3. Her best finish in the Asian series was seventh. Prior to 2006, she raced in Formula Toyota and Production touring cars in the Philippines. She was runner-up in Formula Toyota in 2004 and Production class runner-up in the three saloon championships she entered in 2003. She first raced saloons in 2002 after two seasons in slalom and autocross. Between 2006 and 2009, she does not appear to have raced, and concentrated on her TV career. She made her comeback, racing a Honda in SSCA endurance races in the USA, in 2009. Since then, she has done some drifting, and more media work.

Diana Poon - Hong Kong driver who entered several of the big southeast Asian races in the 1970s. In 1976, she became the first female driver to race in the Macau Guia, in a single-seater. She was also part of the only couple to race against each other there, with her husband, Albert Poon. Her car was a Formula 3 machine, but its make and model are unclear, as is her finishing position. Later, in 1979, she drove a Brabham BT40, with some small successes. She was apparently based in Malaysia that year. Her best finish was fifth, in the Penang Grand Prix, and she was also ninth in the Malaysian Grand Prix. She did not finish the Selangor Grand Prix. After that, she seems to vanish from the starting lists.

Diana Rosario - racer from Macau who has competed sporadically in Asian Formula Renault since 2008, with a best finish of ninth in 2010. Away from Formula Renault, Diana races in Ford Formula Campus, and she won the Chinese Formula Campus championship in 2009. She has been driving since at least 2002, when she did some Asian Formula 2000 races, and she had several successful years of karting before that. During 2011, she drove in Asian Formula Renault, and was fifth overall. She had a quieter year in 2012, racing a Ferrari F430 in the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup. In 2013, she was linked with a drive in the Asian Le Mans series, but does not appear to have competed.

Natasha Seatter - well-travelled Malaysian driver, active since 2009. She began her career by winning all four races of the Petronas Formula Xperience rookie driver competition, in a Formula BMW. This was followed by a year in Asian Formula BMW in 2010, where she had a best finish of eighth. In 2011, she continued in Formula BMW in Asia, improving her best finish to fifth in Singapore. Her final position was tenth. She alternated this with Formula Gulf 1000 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where she was a regular visitor to the podium. In between, she managed two rounds of Formula Pilota China in Mongolia, gaining a third place, plus another third in a guest spot in the VW Polo Cup in India. Back at home, she drove a VW Scirocco in the Merdeka Millennium endurance race, and was 19th. At the end of the 2011-12 Formula Gulf season, had won nine of her twelve races.
In the 2012-13 season, she has competed in fourteen rounds of Formula Gulf, and walked away with seven wins. She has also driven in the Macau street race, as part of Formula BMW, and in two rounds of the Asian Porsche Carrera Cup. Late in 2013, she rejoined Formula Gulf for its two Dubai races, and won both of them.

(Image from http://www.dubaiautodrome.com/tracktalk/2012/11/fg1000-double-win-for-natasha-seatter/)


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Female Drivers in One-Make Series: Switzerland


Jasmin Preisig (third left) with her Scirocco-R Cup rivals, Doreen Seidel, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Lucile Cypriano

Sabine (Yerly) Amweg - drove in the Swiss Renault Clio Cup in 2008, and the European Clio Cup in 2009 and 2010. She was tenth in 2008 and eighth in 2009, with a best finish of fifth. Her 2010 results are not forthcoming. Prior to the Clio Cup, Sabine has been active in motorsport since at least 2001, when she used a Mazda MX-5 Cup car in hillclimbs. The same car was used in 2002. She still competes occasionally in hillclimbs, in the Clio. In 2011, she drove a Clio in the Renault Sport Speed Trophy of the VLN in Germany, with Christof Stadler and Fred Yerly. 

Petra Beyrer (Gasser) - Swiss driver and former bodybuilder who took part in long-distance touring car races in Germany in 2006. Her team-mate was Nicole Mullenmeister and they drove a Honda Civic. They were 80th in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, seventh in class. She was due to be part of a team in the VLN championship at the Nürburgring in 2007, but had to pull out. Previously, she raced in the Toyota Yaris Cup for three years, after several seasons of karting. Her best Yaris Cup finish was 20th, in 2005, and she was fourth in the Coupe des Dames. She planned a comeback in 2008, but it did not happen. She aims to return to motorsport at some point. 

Luana Krattiger - half-Brazilian, former karter who had her first senior motorsport experience in 2013. She raced in the Renault Clio Cup in Italy, and won the Junior and Ladies categories. She was quite competitive from the beginning, and usually in sixth or seventh place. Her best result was third, in the last race of the season, at Imola. She was sixth overall. Away from the circuits, she was the navigator in the course car for the Rally Ronde del Ticino, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The driver was Andreas Krattiger. Although she was linked with a drive in the 2014 Clio championship, it did not happen, and she does not appear to have raced in 2014.

Jasmin Preisig - began her senior career in 2013, in the Opel Astra OPC Cup in Germany. Her most noteworthy result was a sixth place in the 6-Hour race that was part of that series. She also competed in hillclimbs, in a KTM X-Bow. At the beginning of 2014, she was one of a small number of drivers selected for a scholarship drive in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. It was a difficult learning year for her, abut her results did improve, and her best so far is an eleventh place, at the Nürburgring. At the time of writing, she is 16th in the championship.

(Image from http://www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/index.php?id=506&L=1)



Saturday, 27 September 2014

Women Drivers in the DTM: the "Masters" years


Susie Wolff (then Stoddart) and Vanina Ickx

The DTM was revived in 2000, after its earlier incarnation folded, as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. It was now a silhouette series, with cars based on production models. 
The new DTM attracted strong driving talent, and in recent years, it has become a favoured championship for teamless Formula One drivers and World Endurance Championship regulars, with some younger specialists. Female drivers have not done as well as before, and have been less present. This may change in the future.

1997-1999 
No championship held

2000-2005 
No female entrants

2006
Vanina Ickx - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Mücke Motorsport) - unplaced

2007
Vanina Ickx - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes) - umplaced

2008
Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Futurecom TME) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

2009
Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Abt Sportsline) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

2010
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - 13th
Katherine Legge - Audi A4 DTM (Team Rosberg) - unplaced

2011
Rahel Frey - Audi A4 DTM (Team Phoenix) - unplaced
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Class  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

2012
Rahel Frey - Audi A5 DTM (Audi Sport Team Abt) - 19th
Susie Wolff - AMG Mercedes C-Coupe  (Persson Motorsport) - unplaced

2013-2014 
No female entrants

(Image from www.motorsport.com)


Women Drivers in the DTM: the "Meisterschaft" years


Race winner, Ellen Lohr, in 1992

The DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) was (and remains) Germany's top-ranked touring car championship. It began in 1986, evolving from the Group A-based German Production Car Championship. Women drivers featured in it right from the start, with Beate Nodes, and especially Ellen Lohr, achieving success.
As time went on, budgets for the series became very high, as DTM cars only had to be based on production models. In 1996, it was run as an FIA touring car championship, but after that, it was retired in its current form. The new DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) debuted in 2000. 

1986
Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Grab Motorsport) - 11th

1987
Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Ford/Grab Motorsport) - 21st

1988
Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (Zakspeed/Linder BMW M-Team) - 31st
Mercedes Stermitz - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Linder) - 37th
Beate Nodes - Ford Sierra XR4Ti (Grab Motorsport) - 42nd
             
1989
Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Linder) - unplaced

1990
Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (BMW M-Team Zakspeed) - unplaced
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - unplaced

1991
Annette Meeuvissen - BMW M3 (Linder M-Team) - unplaced
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 26th 

1992
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 11th (1 win)

1993
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes 190 E (AMG) - 10th

1994
Ellen Lohr - Mercedes C-Class (AMG) - 11th

1995
Ellen Lohr - AMG Mercedes C-Class (Zakspeed) - 17th

1996 
No championship held - FIA International Touring Car Championship held in its place
Ellen Lohr - AMG Mercedes C-Class (AMG Mercedes Team Persson) - 25th


(Image from http://www.dekra-motorsport.com/en/dtm/extnews/dekra-dtm-news/details/267)


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hannelore Werner


Hannelore Werner in 1969

Hannelore raced in single-seaters, touring and sportscars in Germany in the 1960s and early 1970s, although her most notable results were achieved in a single-seater. She was born in 1942, and initially trained as a dental technician.
Despite having her own career outside motorsport, she had the advantage of starting her racing whilst still very young. Her first race was in 1960, a saloon race, driving a DKW. During the early part of her career, she often drove DKW models. This seems to have included a one-make trophy for DKW and Auto Union cars, the “Silberschildrennen” at the Nürburgring. Despite crashing during the race, she was fifth overall, in an Auto Union 1000.
Her first big touring car race was the Nürburgring 500km in 1963. Her car was a little DKW Junior, shared with Manfred Roesner. They did not finish. 
The same pairing drove an Auto Union Junior in the 1964 Nürburgring 500km, but again, could not finish. Hannelore, driving a 796cc DKW F11 with a driver called Fischer, was 24th in the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
With Roesner, she tackled both of the big Nürburgring saloon races again in 1965, in DKW cars, They were 23rd in the 500km, in the Junior, and did not finish the 6 Hours, in an F11. That year, Hannelore made her first big overseas racing trip, to the UK, for another round of the European Touring Car Challenge, at Snetterton. Driving the F11 with Wolf-Dieter Mantzel, she was 16th in the 500km race, second in the T850 class for small cars.
Away from the bigger races, and driving solo, she was a regular presence in the German touring car championship of the time, the DTRM. Her usual finishing spot, in 1965, was second in the class for 700-850cc cars, in the F11.
In 1966, she switched over to single-seater racing, in Formula Vee 1300. She made an impression immediately, in Germany at least. In 1967, she was part of Caltex’s “Coupe de Charme” for female Formula Vee drivers, but missed out to Jenny Birrell. The same year, she drove in the German Grand Prix support race for Formula Vee, at the Nürburgring. She was driving for IGFA Racing, but she, and her three team-mates, got caught up in an accident.
Saloon racing had not been forgotten: Hannelore teamed up with Wilfried Oetelshoven for the Nürburgring 6 Hours in 1966, driving an F11. They did not finish.
Also in 1967, she was recruited by the new Mahag Olympic Formula Vee team. She won at least one race that year, at Zolder. She stayed with the team for two seasons, and remained competitive. She was largely feared and respected by her male opponents, as well as her female rivals in the Coupe de Charme. She travelled around Europe in order to race, and also went over to the USA, to take part in a Formula Vee race at Daytona, with Jenny Birrell and other Coupe de Charme regulars. In Germany, she raced in a second German Grand Prix support race, at the Nürburgring. However, she was a disappointing twelfth.
Making up for this, she won the 1969 equivalent of the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Rüdiger Faltz. This event was run more like a long-distance trial, in that period, but she won it nevertheless, in a BMW 2002 Ti, run by the Alpina team. This was one of a few races she did for the BMW Alpina team that year, although she did not finish the Spa 24 Hours or the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
The year before, in 1968, she had had her first taste of sportscar racing, driving a Porsche 911 in the Spa 1000km. She and Willy Zanders were 15th overall. This was not something she pursued much further.
Her association with BMW carried through to other areas of motorsport, too. In 1970, she drove a BMW 2002 Ti in the Monte Carlo Rally, and was 31st, with Oda Dencker-Andersen as navigator. They joined forces again in 1971, in a similar car, and were 17th.
During 1970, Hannelore really started to expand her motorsport horizons. As well as her BMW rallying adventures, she was picked up by Ford of Germany for long-distance touring car races, in a Capri. Dieter Glemser was one of her team-mates, although they drove sister cars, rather than together. Although the Nürburgring 1000km and Grand Prix support races, as well as the Salzburg ETCC race, ended in DNFs, she was a strong second in the Monza 4 Hours, driving with Manfred Mohr. Her usual team-mate was Yvette Fontaine.
At about the same time, Hannelore picked up some significant sponsorship from the Eifelland caravan company, whose directors were keen to support her in taking her single-seater career further. Her first big single-seater event was a round of the French Formula 3 championship, at Magny-Cours, in July. She drove a March 703, and did not finish. The 703 was swapped for a 702 shortly afterwards. This car was used in the Mantorp Park F2 Trophy, in Sweden, and the Preis von Baden-Württemburg und Hessen. Hannelore did not finish either of those races in the classification, either. However, at the start of August, Eifelland entered her into the Nürburgring Grand Prix support race, and she was a fine second, defeated only by the 702 of Xavier Perrot. The car was not the most competitive on most circuits, but it obviously worked here.
In 1971, the team continued with March machinery for Hannelore, competing mainly in Formula Two, although team-mate Rolf Stommelen had a stronger Brabham BT30. Her first race of the year was a long-haul trip to Colombia, for the Bogotá Grand Prix. The race, in two parts, was won by Stommelen. Hannelore was not classified in her 702. In her new 712M, it was a similar story at the Speed International Trophy at Mallory Park, although Rolf Stommelen was otherwise occupied. She finished the Jim Clark Memorial Trophy, at Hockenheim, in eleventh, just behind team-mate Hermann Unold. The ADAC-Eifelrennen gave her a fifteenth place.
She did not qualify in Madrid, the fourth round of the European F2 championship, but was then ninth in the Lotteria di Monza Grand Prix, having qualified as part of the Formula 5000 class. This was followed by a DNQ at Rouen-les-Essarts, and a DNF at Imola. A second attempt at the Mantorp Trophy gave her a twelfth place, but a second go at the Preis von Baden-Württemburg led to a disqualification, after she cut a chicane. The Crystal Palace Spring Bank Holiday F2 race, in May, had seen Hannelore collide with a stationary Graham Hill. He was not seriously hurt, but it was rather embarrassing publicity for Hannelore.
Away from Formula Two, a guest spot in the Shell Super Oil British Formula Three championship, at Silverstone, ended in engine failure. Her car was a March 713S. She tried to qualify for the Paul Ricard, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch rounds, but could not manage it. Touring cars had been put to one side for the time being. All in all, it was rather an up-and-and-down year, with much experience gained, but a lot of frustration.
Judging by the entry lists, Hannelore expected to have another full season in European Formula Two, driving both a March and a Brabham BT38, but she did not end up taking her place in most of her predicted events. The only significant F2 race she actually drove in, was the Rhein-Pokalrennen at Hockenheim. She was thirteenth, in the Eifelland team’s own car, based on a March 722. A similar car, based on the 721, was raced by Rolf Stommelen in Formula One that year, without great success. The team was apparently set up to allow Stommelen to compete in Formula One, but there is a hint of an interesting “what if?” story here.
Hannelore married Günther Hennerici, one of the owners of Eifelland, about then, and retired from active motorsport competition, in order to start a family. After her three children were born, she pursued business interests of her own, including a guesthouse.
(Image from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannelore_Werner)


Monday, 18 August 2014

Female Drivers in One-Make Series: Germany


Cora Schumacher

Margit Abt - competed in at least one season of the Fiesta Mixed Cup in Germany, in 1991. She was racing with her husband, Hans-Jürgen Abt. Margit was seventh in the women’s standings at the end of the season, with the pair scoring a few top ten finishes. In 2005, she returned to the track for two guest appearances in the Seat Leon Supercopa, at Hockenheim. 

Brigitte (Biggi) Briel - a regular in German one-make racing in the 1980s. She began racing in the Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup in 1982, and teamed up with two other “Fiesta Ladies” for the Nürburgring 24 Hours that summer. She was 51st in the Fiesta, with Anette Gottwald and Barbara Schmitz. Brigitte returned to the Ladies’ Cup, and was eighth in 1984 and seventh in 1985. After the Fiesta Cup, she moved into the Renault 5 Cup, still in Germany. She did two seasons in the Renault, in 1986 and 1987, as the only female driver in the series. She was not among the front-runners. In 1988, she raced in the VLN, in a Group N-spec Ford Sierra Cosworth. She scored two group wins.


Nadine-Nicole Frentzen - has been trying to put together a motorsport career since 2004, when she took part in a Formula BMW driver selection event  at Valencia. This did not lead to a racing seat. After some other reported testing, she finally got to race in anger in 2011. Partnering Doreen Seidel, she took part in some rounds of the ADAC Chevrolet Cruze Cup in Germany, at Oshersleben. They were not among the front-runners. Nadine-Nicole is the sister of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and first became known to the public when she was caught driving her mother’s car, on the road, at the age of thirteen.


Victoria Fross - began her racing career in 2012, in a Mini. She did four races in the German Mini Trophy, with a best finish of seventeenth, achieved three times, at Lausitz and Hockenheim. In 2013, she returned to the Mini Trophy, in her car, which she called “Lotte”, and was 16th overall, with a best finish of twelfth. This was recorded at the Sachsenring, and Lausitz. Still in the Mini, she moved up to Division III of the ADAC Procar Series in 2014, driving for the ITC team with Lisa Brunner. She started strongly, with fifth places at the Sachsenring and season’s-best fourths at the Nürburgring, and although she was not quite able to reach the podium, she was still a solid competitor. She was rewarded with sixth place overall.

Astrid Hild - appears to have begun her career in 1985, in the Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup. She was thirteenth overall, not among the front-runners. In 1991, she reappeared in the Fiesta Mixed Cup, partnering Jupp Bröhling. She finished strongly in some of the Ladies’ races, and was ninth in the Ladies’ standings. In between, she seems to have competed in the VLN, and is recorded as a starter in the 1990 Nürburgring 24 Hours. She shared a Ford Fiesta XR2 with Jutta Fischer, Thomas Marschall and Thomas Wirtz, who were also involved in the Mixed Cup. Previously, in 1988, she raced a Peugeot 205 GTI in the same event.

Claudia Ostlender - winner of the 1983 Ford Fiesta Ladies’ Cup in Germany, in her first year of motorsport. She did two more seasons in the Cup but did not repeat her win. In 1986, she moved over to the Volkswagen Polo Cup, doing a part-season at first. A similar season followed in 1987, but in 1988, she really found some speed and won her first Polo race, at Zolder. She was fifth overall. Some time before 1989, when she retired from motor racing, she won her class three times in VLN races at the Nürburgring. Her cars were a Volkswagen Golf GTi and a Ford Escort RS. At some point, she also set a speed record in a Volkswagen Corrado.

Jasmin Rubatto - German driver who raced in the 2000s, mostly in one-make series. She took part in the MINI Challenge in Germany in 2004, and was ninth overall. Her team-mate in the Ich Liebe Es squad was Kati Droste. Apparently, this was a comeback from “maternity leave”, but details of her career prior to this are not forthcoming. In 2009, she also did four races in the SEAT Leon Supercopa, also in Germany. She was driving as one of SEAT’s guest works drivers.  

Cora Schumacher - raced a BMW MINI in her native Germany in 2004 and 2005. Her best finish was eighth, but she was better known for a nasty accident which limited her involvement with the series. This dropped her to 34th in the final points, although her initial speed had surprised some. After that, she signed up for the 2006 Seat Leon Supercopa alongside Christina Surer, but only made two starts. In 2010, she returned to the MINI Challenge, and was 19th, rising to 14th in 2011. In 2012, she drove in the Dubai 24 Hours in a MINI, winning class A2, as well as testing a Chevrolet Camaro GT3 car. For most of the season, she raced in the MINI Trophy, scoring six top-ten finishes, the best being an eighth at the Red Bull Ring. This was good for 15th in the championship. She is married to Ralf Schumacher.

Doreen Seidel - began racing in 2011, in the ADAC Cruze Cup, run at Oschersleben. She shared a Chevrolet Cruze with Nadine-Nicole Frentzen. In 2012, she returned to the Cruze Cup, still with the Buchbinder Rent-A-Car team. This year, she shared the car with Ronny Melkus and Freddie Hunt, and was really quite competitive, with two second places and several thirds. In 2013, she spent a season in the Mini Challenge, or most of it. She was fourteenth overall, but did not race for the whole season. She also undertook some test driving for the Abt Sportsline team, for the ADAC GT Masters. In 2014, she stuck with one-make racing, in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. At the time of writing, her best result has been eleventh, at the Red Bull Ring. Doreen is a former model.

Marleen Seilheimer - raced in the Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2006 and 2007, in Germany. She was 16th in the championship in 2006, and tenth in 2007. The following year, she drove a Honda Civic for the Honda Junior Team in the VLN, and entered the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Her team-mates were Christian Caron, Jorge Altmann and Daniel Ortmann. They do not appear to have finished. This was Marleen’s last notable competitive outing, but she has stayed involved in motorsport, and works in media relations for the Sauber Formula One team.

(Image from http://www.leblogauto.com/2006/03/schumachre.html)