The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

There's petrol power, there's turbo power and there's girl power. The following ten women taught the most lessons to all the men clogging up the racetracks.


10.) Denise McCluggage

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

Seen in this photo with Fangio and Stirling Moss, Denise McCluggage was not only a great journalist but an established racer with the following accomplishments:

  • Winner of the Nassau Ladies Race 1 on December 8, 1956 in a Porsche 550
  • Winner of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Ladies Race September 20, 1957 in a Porsche 550.
  • Winner of the Nassau Ladies Races 1 and 2 on December 7, 1957, driving a Porsche 550 again.
  • 1st in the GT category at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1961, driving a Ferrari 250. She placed in 10th in the overall standings.
  • Winner of the Copa de Damas at the Grand Prix of Venezuela, driving her Porsche 550.
  • 1st in her class at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Ford Falcon.

The only journalist to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Suggested By: reverberocket is nipping the apex, Photo Credit: Denise McCluggage


9.) Hellé Nice

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

Being one of the pioneers of female motor racing, Hellé Nice set a new world land speed record for women driving an Omega-Six in 1929. Sleeping with Philippe de Rothschild and meeting Ettore Bugatti did help her career and after numerous hillclimbs and rallies, she participated in five major Grands Prix in 1931 driving a Bugatti Type-35C.

She continued with Alfa Romeo until a near-fatal accident slowed her down in 1936. War and numerous accusations followed, putting an end to her racing but not to her story.

Suggested By: Gamecat235, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


8.) Sabine Schmitz

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

The Queen of the Ring is not only fast but also tough enough to win a 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Twice.

She could kick your ass too.

Suggested By: Incognigro, Photo Credit: zanthrax-dot-nl


7.) Pat Moss

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

Sister of Sir Stirling Moss and the author of The Art Technique of Driving Pat Moss was so successful at rallying that we still don't get what her brother was on about.

Suggested By: Patrick George, Photo Credit: Getty Images


6.) Courtney Force

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

Coming from a family of very fast people, she won her first race in the Top Alcohol Dragster category at the age of 21 in 2009. Top that!

Suggested By: onerunjunior, Photo Credit: AP Images


5.) Jutta Kleinschmidt

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

What's the toughest race in the world? The Dakar. She won it in 2001 with Mitsubishi.

Suggested By: lok502, Photo Credit: AP Images


4.) Marie-Claude Charmasson

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

She raced everything from small rally cars in Monte Carlo to big block Chevys at Le Mans resulting in two class wins. Crazy in the best French way.

Suggested By: Michael Ballaban, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


3.) Lyn St. James

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

She is one of the seven women who have qualified for the Indianapolis 500. She also has two victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 1 win at the 12 Hours of Sebring and competed twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Old-Busted-Hotness:

Not only talented, but a class act as well.

Suggested By: Hart88, Photo Credit: AP Images


2.) Shirley Muldowney

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

A woman against the fastest men on the planet:

  • In 1975, she was voted the first woman member of the ten-person Auto Racing All-American team by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
  • In 1976, she was named Drag News Top Fuel Driver of the Year and voted to the Auto Racing All-American Team for the second time.
  • In 1977, she won the NHRA Winston world points championship, becoming the first woman to claim drag racing's most prestigious title. Recipient of "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the United States House of Representatives on October 14, 1977. Named Drag News Top Fuel Driver of the Year for the second straight season. Named Car Craft Magazine Person of the Year during the annual Car Craft Awards Banquet, Indianapolis, Indiana. First Top Fuel driver to win three NHRA national events back-to-back.
  • 1980 Won NHRA Winston world points championship for the second time.
  • 1981 Won AHRA world championship. Voted to Auto Racing All-American team for the fifth time. Voted Car Craft Magazine All-Star Team, Top Fuel Driver of the Year, for the second year in a row.
  • 1982 Won NHRA Winston points championship, becoming the first person to claim drag racing's most prestigious title three times. Voted to Auto Racing All-American Team for the fifth time.

Talking of pioneers.

Suggested By: JohnnyWasASchoolBoy, Photo Credit: AP Images


1.) Michele Mouton

The Ten Most Successful Female Race Car Drivers Ever

She very nearly won the 1982 World Rally Championship, were it not for a devastating mechanical problem on the last rally of the season, just days after her father died. What Michelle Mouton could do with a Group B Audi Quattro was perfection itself. She also scored a class win at Le Mans, just to make sure.

Suggested By: JayHova, Photo Credit: Mike Powell/AP

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Getty Images