The world of professional sport has always been a male-dominated industry, full of testosterone and oversensitive male egos and the world of competitive racing is no exception. If anything, because of the danger they are putting themselves through, race car driving is argubally the most dangerous sport in the world. However, it is also one of the few sports were women, in some instances, compete alongside their male counterparts.
And that's amazing, not least when you consider that many female drivers are still the subject of many sexist jokes so we think it's important that we shed light on some fantastic female drivers who are kicking but.
Here are 30 of the best female racecar drivers.
1. Deborah Renshaw
This former NASCAR craftsman truck series driver first made waves in the NASCAR circuit when she started driving in the NASCAR Dodge weekly series from 2001 to 2002. A notable debut, Renshaw placed in the top 10 on 13 occasions. In one of those qualifying sessions, she even set a qualifying record.
Also the recipient of gold at Riverview Speedway, Renshaw is one smoking hot racer.
2. Johanna Long
Joanna Long isn't just a pretty blonde; she's one of the greatest female race car drivers in the world. A stock car racing champion, she made a name for herself during a stint racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011.
After taking to it like the pro Long's career progressed significantly so much so that she won the 2010 Snowball Derby.
3. Natacha Gachnang
Fans of Formula One might recognize her surname because Natacha Gachanang is the cousin of the former Formula One driver Sebastian Buemi. This exposure to racing at a young age saw Gachnang quickly catch the racing bug. In 2008, she became the first female driver to compete in the feeder series for the new Formula One circuit.
After a commendable debut season, she would join forces with fellow teammate Rahel Frey at the famous 24 hours of Le man's race. It was the first time since 1991 that a female duo competed in the iconic 24 hour race. Today, you can watch Natacha racing in the open-wheel racing circuit.
4. Pippa Mann
This blonde racer is currently driving in the Verizon IndyCar series in a career which stretches back to 2003. After signing a three-year contract with Mentor Motorsport to compete in the British Formula Renault Championship, Mann would make a name for herself in the world of female race car driving in the Indy Lights series as well as the IndyCar series.
Perhaps most impressively of all, Mann qualified in 22nd position at the 98th Indianapolis 500. She was the only female motorist competing.
5. Alison MacLeod
Alison Macleod had driving in her blood and was addicted to the fast-paced world of motorsport when most of us were still learning our ABCs. After a rapid success in junior karting, MacLeod was signed to Ford racing at 14 to compete in the USAC midgets division.
In that time, the Canadian star has gone onto become a USAC Ford Focus winner, and a USAC Regional Midget division champion.
6. Rahel Frey
Rahel Frey was profiled earlier for competing alongside Natacha Gachnang in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, the Swiss stunner has achieved plenty as a solo driver as well.
As well as making headlines at Le Mans, Frey has also competed in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, International Formula Master and the German Formula Three Championship.
7. Erica Enders-Stevens
This stock car driver is so badass she even competes in drag races and is now one of the biggest names in female motorsport. 20 years after first falling in love with cars, Erica made history as the first female winner of the NHRA pro stock division.
In a thrilling finals race at route 66 Raceway, she overcame the four-time champion Greg Anderson.
8. Cyndie Allemann
Another Swiss racing superstar is Cyndie Allemann, who mainly competes in open wheel type events. The sister of Ken Allemann, a racing driver himself, she is also the daughter of Kurt Allemann, another Swiss carting champion.
But rather than sticking to karts, Cyndie developed her craft and diversified into other facets of racing. This took her to a 6th place finish at the Renault Speed Trophy F2000.
9. Simona de Silvestro
What is it about female Swiss racing drivers? Another is Simona de Silvestro, who currently competes in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with Kelly Racing.
She competes in the No. 78 Nissan Altima L33 and has collected various accolades over the years including drives in the beach Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, São Paulo Indy 300, and various Formula One events. Her career may not have yielded many trophies, but she has gained wide praise in the sport for her aggressive racing style, leading to the nickname, "Iron Maiden." Now that's one kickass driver!
10. Caitlin Shaw
One of the youngest female racing drivers became the second youngest woman to compete in NASCAR’s top three series and soon gained national media attention because of it. The earnest, credible young driver is the only female from her home state of New Mexico to race in a NASCAR top 3 Series event and has rightly become something of a hero out there.
Better than any of that, however, is the driver's continued efforts to promote sport around the country. Taking in multiple venues and speaking at schools and various children’s hospitals, Shaw seems to have made it her mission to spread the gospel of female sport, and we love her even more because of that.
11. Ashley Force Hood
With a prophetic middle name like Force, this cool cat was always going to become a force of nature in a male-dominated sport. A driver for John Force Racing, racing runs in the family, with her sister Courtney also a driver. Her father is also a famous drag racing champion, but her surname is different because she married.
The lucky man? Daniel Hood, a guy she met when he was working at her racing team. Yes, racing is built into this woman's DNA.
12. Tia Norfleet
The daughter of Bobby Norfleet, himself a famed NASCAR driver, daughter Tia has achieved her own success in the sport, namely being the first African-American woman to receive a NASCAR racing license.
An incredible accolade in itself, Norfleet's racing prowess has also spawned victories at 32 local and regional level events. She's also a mean drag racer, so if you ever see her in the street, think twice before revving your engine! You ain't gonna win...
13. Milka Duno
It's heating up in here, or is it just me? Venezuela's hottest property, Milka Duno, has been wowing onlookers in the IndyCar and ARCA racing series for some time. She even gained media coverage when she became the record holder for the highest female finish in the legendary 24 hours of Daytona race.
Unsurprisingly, she is also a former model. What is surprising to learn is that she'd never raced competitively until she was 24. But get this: she holds a masters degree in organizational development, maritime business, marine biology, and naval architecture! Some people really are overachievers.,,
14. Susie Wolff
Susie Wolff is a smoking hot British race car driver who has dazzled racing fans, first the lower fanks of Formula 1, starting with Formula Renault and Formula 3 before transferring over to the DTM, where she competed for the Mercedes-Benz team.
Her career highlight saw her hired by the Williams Formula One racing team to work as their development driver. For a female driver trying to break into argubally the most popular motorsport series in the world, being a development driver for a top team like Williams is pretty impressive. For her services to racing, she was awarded an MBE by the British monarchy.
15. Shannon McIntosh
This 29-year-old American racing star is one of America's most celebrated female drivers- and for good reason. From an early age, she seemed destined for the big time and things only got better when she signed with Cape Motorsports and Wayne Taylor racing back in 2011 at the start of her incredible journey.
Gaining valuable racing experience, McIntosh transferred to Pabst where her career continued to blossom. So intense was the media coverage of McIntosh that she was chosen for the cover of Seventeen magazine in 2011. Now competing in the ARCA Racing Series, Shannon has previously competed in the U.S. F2000 National Championship for Pabst Racing Services and Cape Motorsports.
16. Amber and Angela Cope
Amer And Angela Cope are very much double trouble. Causing havoc in some of the world's most formidable racing tracks, these twins aren't only blonde beauties; they are more importantly professional stock car drivers.
Their coolest achievement? They probably have many, but we think it's their competing in one of NASCAR’s top three series. Amber finished 26th, while her twin sister finished a credible 30th.
17. Burcu Cetinkaya
This Turkish racing driver is the epitome of cool! She first made a name for herself as a television presenter before trying her hands at pro driving at the Hittite Rally. After gaining experience, she quickly established herself as a force, winning the Istanbul Ladies Rally Championship that same year. In 2012 she even finished runner-up at the prestigious Qatar National Rally Championship.
But it gets better. As well as having looks to die for and being an amazing driver, she also has experience on the slopes and even won a gold medal for parallel giant slalom and giant slalom events at the Turkish women’s snowboard championships.
18. Natasha Chang
This amazing driver hails from Jamaica. She likes to go by the name “China Doll” and made a name for herself when she raced at 2006's Palisades International Speedway for the Jet Con Race Team.
Proving her gutsy determination and ambition, Chang purchased a RWD Corolla DX which she entered into her very first race so she could prove her credentials as a-then unknown driver. The winner of many Dexterity racing events, Chang is certainly a driver who has the x-factor. In an inspirational Instagram caption to the photo above, she wrote, "My greatest hope in my racing career would be to influence at least one young lady to be bold, go beyond the “so called” limits, pursue your dreams and never take no for an answer."
19. Ana Beatriz
Another stock car driver, Ana Beatriz hails from the sun-dappled nation of Brazil. A feisty competitor who drives with the same flair and excitement that make the people in her homeland such a delight, Beatriz drives in the Izod Indy Car series.
It was 2008 when things started heating up for her. That was the year she won her first Indy lights race at the Nashville Super Speedway. She was the first woman to win that race.
20. Madalena Antas
Hailing from the Southern European nation of Portugal, Madalena Anta is an off-road circuit racing champion who has been tearing up the world of motorsport since her emergence in 2007. It wasn't long before she won two female titles for her driving at the national off-road championship in Portugal.
Antas's car of choice? All-terrain trucks, like the mammoth, 400-horsepower Nissan Pathfinder. Now that's a lady you want in your life!
21. Leilani Munter
Female racers don't make anywhere near the same amount of money as male racing drivers, so it's not unheard of to hear of female racers having second jobs. Munter's? As well as driving some of the world's fastest cars, she can also say she's a professional juggler.
But that's not all. Not only is this beauty one of America's best drivers and pro jugglers, she is also an environmental activist, proving that you can be a competitive speed freak and still have time for the more important things in life like a little matter called climate change.
Alongside all these stellar achievements, Munter is one of only four women to have competed in the Indy Pro Series.
22. Courtney Force
With a surname such as Force, Courtney's dreams to be a professional racing driver couldn't have been apter. Rising up through the drag racing circuit ranks, by 2005 she earned her license from the NHRA. Her dad, John Force, was no doubt a very proud father.
Yes, that John Force. The 16- time NHRA World Funny Car champion.
23. Maryeve Dufault
Ms. Dufault is a Canadian-American racer who achieved national fame with her Indy Car series wins in Indianapolis. As well as a famous alumni of the Indy 500, Dufault has raced in Formula BMW, Formula Renault, Skip Barber, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series among many others.
A NASCAR Nationwide Series driver as well, the awe-inspiring talent also enjoyed a career in modeling and with looks like hers, that's hardly surprising.
24. Danica Patrick
If you've heard of any female drivers on our list, the first name that sprung to mind is most likely Danica Patrick, undoubtedly the most famous female racing driver of all time. She's been winning for fun over the years, and has made serious inroads in the competitive world of men's racing too- one of the few women to do so.
She is the only woman to win an Indy Car series race following her triumph at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Then there was her incredible third-place finish at the Indianapolis 500 in 2009- the highest finish ever recorded by a female.
Now competing in the Sprint Cup Series, Patrick has also had the pleasure of driving for many other noted racing teams such as Rahal Letterman and Andretti Autosport.
25. Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett may not be as famous as Patrick, but she's achieved just as much. An-all American drag racing queen, Pritchett only entered the sport in 2016 with her first professional level race seeing her beat the amazing Brittany Force in the concluding round of the Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
After such success in such a short period, Pritchett now drives the NHRA Top Fuel dragster. A fans' favorite, sponsors have also been quick to line themselves up to this natural talent, with the likes of Papa John’s Pizza just one of her many lucrative endorsements.
26. Denise McCluggage
In the photo above, you may instantly recognize the legends of the sport, from Fangio and Stirling Moss, these men were pioneers of motorsport. But you probably don't know the woman in the middle. Denise McCluggage was a great driver herself and also a famous sports journalist. She won many races in her time, including the Nassau Ladies Race 1 on December 8, 1956, in a beautiful Porsche 550.
Other victories came in the Nassau Ladies Race and the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. Because of her services to the sport, McCluggage remains the only journalist inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
27. Jutta Kleinschmidt
Jutta Kleinschmidt is another name that slips under the radar of even the most ardent motoracing fans. The German competitor specialized in off-road automotive racing events and was argubally the world's greatest ever female driver, most known for her historic win at the Paris Dakar Rall.
Winning the event in 2001, she became the first woman to win the notoriously tricky race.
28. Michele Mouton
Michele Mouton came agonizingly close to winning the prestigious 1982 World Rally Championship before a mechanical problem let her down. But it was remarkable Mouton even competed- just days before the race her father unexpectedly passed away.
But that didn't take away the attention given to her skills as one of the greatest female drivers. She became famed in racing circles for her ability to take a Group B Audi Quattro and steer it to astounding victories. Her most famous triumph came at Le Mans.
29. Lyn St. James
Lyn St.James is an icon of female sport. She is just one of seven women to have qualified for the famed Indianapolis 500 race. As well as this impressive accolade, she also achieved two victories in the notoriously difficult 24 Hours of Daytona race.
Add that to her win at the 12 Hours of Sebring and you have one talented driver.
30. Shirley Muldowney
It's only fitting that we end this article with a woman who encapsulated the fighting spirit needed to stand out in a sport dominated by men. Holding her own against some of the fastest male drivers on the planet, Muldowney would achieve a string of notable career victories, including the NHRA Winston world points championship.
In 1975, her talents and inroads as a female driver saw her voted the first female member of the coveted Auto Racing All-American team as voted for by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
On top of this, she won the NHRA Winston world points championship, the first woman to win the famous drag racing trophy. The recipient of countless other awards, Muldowney paved the way for many of the female drivers we see today to flourish in a sport that is leading the way in giving its female competitors as much of a footing as men.