Ashna Patel, Camille Du Gast, Cholistan Desert Rally, Danica Patrick, Donna Mae Mimms, Dorothy Levitt, International Women's Day, Janet Guthrie, ladies races, The Sports Car Club of America, women racers
Ever since the earliest automobile race was organised in Europe in 1887, a number of pioneering women drivers have struggled to stand shoulder to shoulder with their male compatriots in the racing circuits of the world.
This has been a complicated affair because although no law bars women from driving in competitive motorsports, it has been an uphill task to change the mindset of a number of institutions that have kept these sports male dominated. As far back as 1903, women like France’s Camille Du Gast and Britain’s Dorothy Levitt have challenged norms and began racing professionally.
Across the Atlantic, the struggle was no less arduous. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was formed in 1944 to promote motorsports and had an exclusively white male membership. As SCCA membership was given through references, women could only hope to enter the racing circuit either as navigators or eye-candy to prominent drivers. In the 1950s, the SCCA gave permission for “ladies races” which opened doors to women. This ultimately led to Donna Mae Mimms accomplishing the unthinkable in 1963 by winning the SCCA National Championship. Continue reading