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Pioneering Female Race Car Drivers

Check out some of the most influential female race car drivers and pioneers!

female race car drivers

Race car driving has always been seen as a stereotypically male sport. But men aren’t the only people who love fast cars and the smell of burnt rubber. For as long as there’s been professional race car driving, there have been female race car drivers. Racing is actually one of the few professional sports in which men and women are allowed to compete with (and against) one another.

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From the first NASCAR race ever to the many active drivers today, women have always been a part of racing as a sport and as a culture. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled some of our favorite (and most influential) female race car drivers and pioneers in the following slide show.


Looking for more women in automotive history? Check out our slideshow all about the most influential female inventors and engineers in the world of driving.

Which of these women race car drivers do you think made the biggest impact? Did we miss anybody? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Marilyn P.

    Didn’t see anything about Janet Guthrie!
    First woman to qualify and compete in Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. She was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

  • Betty D.

    What about Shirley Shahan and her racing. She is on Facebook and speaks at many American Motors Events across the country. Her Drag-On-Lady Hornet was quite famous. Please add her to your history information.

  • Joseph F.

    Sarah Hopkins has written an interesting piece, but has missed numerous important women racers, starting with the Frenchwoman Madame du Gast, who drove in the ill fated Paris Madrid road race in 1903. Numerous other important women raced during the ’20s, 30s and ’40s. Important to note!

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