Top 10 Female Race Car Drivers
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UPDATED: Sep 9, 2019
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The auto racing industry is dominated by male drivers and when you think of F1 Racing or Indy Car racing almost all of the celebrity names are men however female race car drivers are not hiding in the pit.
While car insurance for women drivers is cheaper than male drivers there are some women drivers who certainly may fall in the high risk category .. but don’t worry, these women know how to ride!
There are numerous female race car drivers who have broken speed records, gained celebrity and can even drive laps around many of the male race car drivers today … so who are the Top 10 Women Drivers?
The Top 10 Women Drivers (in our opinion)
We want to note that almost any top 10 list without a specific qualifying factor is of opinion and our list of the top 10 female race car drivers surely is not a complete list of all the great women drivers of today or in the past.
These women have contributed nothing less than extraordinary contributions to the racing industry in terms of awareness, speed and heart and there is no particular order of female race car drivers since we love them all equally!
Janet Guthrie is one of the most accomplished women in all of sports. Not only does Janet have a race car driving resume to envy but she was one of the most fascinating female race car drivers to watch during her years on circuits.
In 1977 Janet Guthrie broke many records as female race car fans watched her around the world compete as the first woman ever in both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500.
She won the Top Rookie award in the Daytona 500 and quickly became a legend in the world of auto racing.
However Janet’s racing accomplishments were far from her only achievements in life as she is also an aerospace engineer, licensed pilot and flight instructor. The Smithsonian institute has acknowledged the pivotal role Janet played in the racing world and both her helmet and suit are proudly displayed as part of American history there.
A lifetime of achievement in the racing industry has earned Janet a place not only in the history books of racing but also a presence at the Smithsonian Institution where her helmet and suit are displayed.
In recent years Janet has published an appropriately titled “Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle” and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.
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When people think of Milka Duno the words “sexy, bombshell and Latin America” may come to mind but this female race car driver is much more than just a pinup poster.
Milka is one of the most accomplished female race drivers this century with numerous racing credits including the first female Latin American driver ever to be classified as an “expert driver”
Hailing from Caracas, Venezuela, Milka has a global media presence in the world of auto racing and continues to win fans and woo crowd worldwide. Some of Milka Duno’s racing accomplishments so far have included:
- Highest finish ever by a woman driver at “the 24 hours of Daytona”
- First woman in history to win a major international sports car race with her win of the Miami Grand Prix in 2004
- Winner of the Rolex series 3 times with 26 Top 10 finishes
Much like many top female race car drivers Milka is no stranger to higher education holding 4 masters degrees (Naval Architecture, Maritime Business, Organizational Development and Marine Biology).
Milka currently resides in Miami, Florida and runs a charity called “Milka Way” to help inspire children.
Some refer to Danica as the “GoDaddy Girl” but Danica Patrick is more than just a girl. Danica is one of this generations most popular female race drivers with an impressive resume in the world of motorsports.
Competing on both the NASCAR and Indy car racing circuits Danica’s racing accomplishments include:
- Highest finish ever at the Indy 500 for a woman driver (placing 3rd in 2009)
- Rookie of the Year (2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar series)
- First Place Indy Japan 300
What’s most impressive about Danica Patrick at this point in time is the celebrity she has gained worldwide and the enormous attention she has brought to world of female race car driving.
Whether or not Danica’s rescue continues to build there is no doubt she will be recognized as one of the world’s most famous female race car drivers for years to come.
Does anybody know a Shirley they don’t love? Well, we can bet very few have the nickname “Cha Cha” like this Shirley does. Shirley Muldowney is one of the greatest stories in female race car driving.
She appeared on racing circuits in 1958 and never looked back winning over 18 NHRA national events during a 20+ year career.
Although a crash in 1984 abruptly sidelines her career she has played a historic role in the evolution of drag racing and female race car drivers. Some of her accomplishments have included:
Winning the NHRA Winston World Points Championship 3 times
- 1977 – Became the first Woman to win auto racing’s most prestigious title
- 1980 and 1982 – Won the Winston World Points championship again and in 1982 becoming the first driver to ever win this title three times
In 1990 Shirley Muldowney was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and in 2004 she joined the history books with an induction in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
As with most race car drivers their number of wins never really define the amazing story of their lives and Shirley Muldowney’s life and racing career was forever set on film in the movie Heart Like a Wheel in 1983.
Genevra Delphine Mudge
When we talk about women drivers we have to mention Genevra Delphine Mudge as no history page is complete without mentioned the people who changed the world as it is today.
Although there is little history on Genevra Delphine Mudge she is widely considered to be the first woman to have a driver license obtaining a New York driver’s license back in 1898. She also holds title of the first woman driver to have an accident and the first female race car driver.