The common themes that spans each of these women's story, is a lack of time and vehicle reliability.
Often fans compare today's racer with those from the past and remark about the “good old days”, how drivers were more evenly matched.
From the stories of these women it’s obvious that this equality did not truly materialise for them.
It is unthinkable for a current driver to have to drive a second hand car, but that’s what Davina Galica did.
These women are a great example of resilience and talent and I can only wonder what they would achieve today.
Maria-Teresa de Filippis
The first lady of racing, or a least the first recognised women to race in a Grand Prix. Making her debut in May 1958, Maria competed in five Grand Prix. It was surely the taking part which counted as Maria did not score any points, but she set the example as a woman that could take on men and hold her own.
British born Olympian Divina Galica represented her country twice, 1968 and 1972, in the Winter Olympics. A technically savvy downhill skier, Galica captained the women team on both occasions. It was by accident that she came to motorsport, when she took part in a celebrity driving match and showed she had talent for racing too. Galica drove a Surtees TS16 in the British Grand Prix, sporting the number 13 which proved to be a jinx as she failed to finish. Galica’s promise as a driver was never properly realised and her team lacked the know-how and the car was not up to scratch. Galica ended her career as a racing instructor and VP at Skip Barber Racking.
Italian born Lombardi came from a working class background, but like Maria-Teresa de Filippis found a love for racing cars. It was in 1973 after winning the Ford Mexico Series Championship that Lombardi began the transitioned to F1. In 1975 Lombardi broke 17 years of female absence from the track when she qualified for the Kyalami GP. Although Lombari was unable to finish, it was just one short year before she became the first female driver to score Championship points at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lella Lombardi may have been the first driver to score Championship points, but Wilson was the first woman to lead a Formula1 race. Unable to win the race following a spin in the closing laps, she persevered and finished in third. 1980 was the defining year for Wilson as she achieved another first – wining a Formula1 Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. It was an amazing achievement as Wilson had started the season without a sponsor.
The podium was did not allude Wilson as she achieved a second and third place, she was only stopped when her team ran out of money.
With the least successful Formula1 career of the group, Amati did not let this discourage her from continuing to race. Following her exit from F1 she entered into the Porsche Super Cup and won the Women’s European Championship. Amati also raced in the Ferrari Challenge for two years starting in 1994. Later Amati raced in the International Sports Racing Series, Sebring 12 hour race, and the 1000km at Monza.