The most influential women in the Motoring world!
On the account of Women's day, let's meet these 'Special' women!!
Before I begin, I would like to wish a Happy Women's day to all the Women Drivetribers here!! It makes me feel gr8 to see you all setting an example to the future generations!!!! Anyways, without wasting much time, let's begin the article!
The car industry is seen as male-dominated, but many women hold key roles – and have done since the earliest days. From Bertha Benz, who helped promote the world’s first car, to Britain’s Jaimie Chadwick, who is making waves in modern motorsport, let's mark International Women’s Day by highlighting some of these women and their achievements!!
Girls on Track UK
Today, there are several initiatives aimed at helping more women break into the automotive industry, inspired by the groundbreaking Dare To Be Different scheme. There is even a motorsport scheme, called Girls on Track UK, to encourage more women into motor racing. The industry is not without its leading lights, though. Indeed, one of the US Big Three carmakers is currently thriving under the leadership of a woman......
Mary Barra has led General Motors as chairman and CEO since January 2014, after previously serving as executive vice president. She has since been listed by Forbes as the fifth most influential woman in the world. She joined General Motors in 1981, at Pontiac, and later earned an MBA through a GM scholarship. Under Barra, GM’s strategy has increasingly focused on putting the customer at the centre of all the company’s activities.
Linda Jackson is currently CEO of French carmaker, Peugeot, after serving for several years as CEO of Citroen. She originally joined the Citroen UK in 2005 and became managing director of the firm’s UK and Ireland operations in 2010. She then took over as CEO of the entire operation in June 2014. Jackson holds an MBA from Warwick University. Prior to joining Citroen, she worked at MG Rover.
Jamie Chadwick won the inaugural season of W Series, the international single-seater championship for female racing drivers, in 2019. She claimed three pole positions and two outright wins in the six-race season. Jamie was then voted Driver of the Year by the Guild of Motoring Writers, and is seen here collecting her trophy from Guild chairman, Richard Aucock.
Formerly UK managing director for Volkswagen, Allison Jones has taken on a large chunk of the enormous Stellantis empire. She now oversees Citroen, DS, Peugeot, Fiat, Abarth, Jeep and Alfa Romeo in the UK. Alison has also served as a vice president for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Bertha Benz was instrumental in helping make her husband Karl Benz’s innovative Benz Patent motor car a success. The world’s first car, Bertha Benz used her dowry to help finance it, provided technical support and then, when the vehicle was not receiving the publicity it ought, undertook a mammoth 65 mile drive with her two sons–without telling her husband. This was the world’s first long-distance car trip and helped prove the vehicle’s prowess to the public. She was also thus the first female driver in the world: A true Pioneer.
Suzzie Wolff MBE
Susie Wolff MBE is a retired racing driver who progressed through the ranks to become a Williams F1 test driver in 2012. In 2014, she was the first woman to take part in an F1 event for 22 years, when she drove in the practice sessions at the British Grand Prix. A former Formula Renault, Formula 3 and DTM racer, she has since founded the Dare To Be Different initiative aimed at helping more women break into motorsport. Wolff, née Stoddart, was made an MBE in the 2017 New Years Honours list for services to women in sport.
Tatiana Calderon is a racing driver from Bogota, Columbia. Born in 1993, she has raced in the FIA Formula 3 series and, in 2016, moved up to the GP3 series. In 2017, Calderon became a development driver for the Sauber Formula One team. A year later, she was promoted to F1 test driver for Alfa Romeo Racing.
Danica Patrick is the most successful women ever to race in US open-wheel series. Career highlights include winning the 2008 Indy Japan 300 and scoring third in the 2009 Indy 500. She is also the first female to score a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole. A hugely consistent racer, she holds the record for most consecutive races still running at the finish in IRL. Prior to racing in the US, Patrick rose through the ranks driving in British Formula Ford.
Michelle Christensen led the exterior design of the current Honda NSX. The firm’s first female chief designer, Christensen developed her interest in cars from her hot rod and muscle car-loving father. She joined Honda in 2005, after studying at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Elena Ford is granddaughter of famous Ford Motor Company president Henry Ford II, and great-great granddaughter of the firm’s founder, Henry Ford. In 2013, she became a vice president of the company and is currently its director for customer experience. She is the first female Ford family member to hold a significant leadership position at the company.
Denise McLuggage was a pioneering American racing driver, journalist and photographer. After getting her first newspaper job, she bought an MG sports car for racing, later swapping it for a more powerful Jaguar XK140. She competed throughout the 1950s and 1960s in blue riband events, both in the US and Europe, before retiring from professional motorsport in the late 1960s to become editor of Autoweek magazine.
Lyn St. James
Lyn St. James was an open-wheel racing driver, and one of nine women to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 – and the first to win the Rookie of the Year prize. A racer in both CART and IRL, St. James has also won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice, and the 12 Hours of Sebring once. She has also raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Nurburgring 24 Hours. She remains involved in motorsport, working for NASCAR.
In 1992, Vidali won the Group N Italian Touring Car Championship in an Alfa Romeo 33. She’s pictured here with the Alfa Romeo 155 that she raced in the Italian Superturismo Championship (CIS) in 1994. One of the coolest racing cars and liveries ever?
Florence Lawrence was the world’s first true movie star, but is famous in automotive circles for, along with her mother Charlotte Bridgwood, inventing both the turn signal and the rear stop signal. They also invented the electric windscreen wiper, but didn’t patent any of their ideas. She lost her fortune in the Wall Street Crash and tragically took her own life in 1938.
Wilma K. Russey
In 1915, Wilma K. Russey was the first woman to be licensed as a New York taxi driver. Contemporary reports say crowds stopped as she took to her cab for the first time – after first showing a policeman her chauffeur’s licence entitling her to drive. She drove in style from day one; legend has it, she received a tip from her first customer because of her remarkable leopard-skin hat.
Helene Rother was the world’s first female automotive designer, joining General Motors in 1943. She was an interior design specialist and also addressed the Society of Automotive Engineers, of which she was a member. Today, she is considered a pioneer for women working in the automotive industry.
Michele Mouton is a former rally driver who became the first woman to win a round of the international World Rally Championship, driving an Audi Quattro in 1981. She won further rounds in 1982 and only narrowly missed out on the overall title to Walter Rohrl. Since 1988, Mouton has organised the annual Race of Champions event.
Mercedes Jellinek is the woman who gave her name to one of the most famous automobile companies in the world. Born in Vienna in 1889, she was the daughter of Austrian businessman Emil Jellinek, who was an early automotive pioneer. He soon made contact with the Daimler motor company and, by 1900, had sold 34 of its cars on the Cote d’Azur. The firm developed an all-new car in 1900 and named it Daimler-Mercedes, Jellinek’s business acumen ensuring good press coverage and strong sales. The Mercedes car brand was born.
Helen Clifford was the first bus mechanic for London Transport, helping to keep the capital’s famous red double-deckers on the road. She qualified in 1983, at the age of 18, after completing a course at West Ham garage. Helen subsequently became a qualified London bus driver, too.
Younger sister to Sir Stirling Moss, Pat’s racing career began in her Morris Minor convertible. She went on to win the European Ladies Rally Championship five times and the Coupe des Dames on the Monte Carlo Rally eight times. Perhaps her greatest achievement was winning the 1962 Tulip Rally in the then-new Mini Cooper.
Thanks for giving your immense patience to read this article. Do comment below your fav woman car enthusiast!! And see ya soon😁