There's A New Fastest Woman Around Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo credit: Jim Haines/IndyCar
Photo credit: Jim Haines/IndyCar

Yesterday was Fast Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway—the last practice day before qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Honda’s engines thankfully work in this series, with four Hondas setting the four fastest times. Pippa Mann wasn’t in the top four, but she did set a new record: Indy’s fastest ever woman.


Fast Friday earns its name thanks to a bump in boost that cars keep through the end of qualifying, but not for the race itself, per Autoweek. Teams are allowed to add 10 kilopascals (kPa) more of turbocharger boost (140 kPa total) which gives the cars about 30 horsepower more.

That extra boost helped one woman set a record. Mann’s Fast Friday time of 230.103 mph in the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda makes her the first woman to break the 230 mph barrier around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, per TrackSide Online. Neat.


Four-time Champ Car champ and No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda driver Sébastien Bourdais had the fastest Fast Friday speed (and the fastest time of the week) with a 233.116 mph lap, which was helped a bit by drafting behind another car. The fastest lap speed achieved without any drafting was the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda of Ryan Hunter-Reay: 231.273 mph, notes Autoweek.

For fans tuning in for a certain Formula One driver’s appearance, fret not, he went quick, too. Fernando Alonso’s No. 29 Andretti Autosport Honda was the fourth fastest driver of the day with a fastest lap speed of 231.827 mph. Yes, we’re saying there’s a chance.

You can view the full final Indianapolis 500 pre-qualifying practice day results here.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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It’s frustrating to me that there is a different record category for men and women for this. In weight-balanced racing, sex differentiation shouldn’t be a factor.

Class definitions with regards to weight and experience are fine, because those impact performance, but a female racing driver and male racing driver, in the same equipment with the same weight, are on equal terms. Suggesting otherwise is patronizing to women, in my opinion.

I work in a male-dominated, but public-facing industry. One of my good friends, who is a woman, is interviewed often for her work. Inevitably, she’ll be expecting to talk about her work (which is fantastic), but every interviewer tries to steer the conversation to “what’s it like being a woman in this business?” It got so old that she stopped doing interviews.

We need more women in motorsports, but until the racing community stops treating female racers like carnival curiosities, they’ll still have an image as being the ones you hire for sex appeal, not to win — take a look at racing team websites with female drivers... they look like Maxim spreads. They are more than capable to best their male counterparts. What I’m saying is that in my opinion, once the helmet goes on, we’re no longer men and women, we’re racing drivers.