Who said women can’t compete on race tracks?

Racing has been a male dominated sport ever since the automobile was created. And that won’t change anytime soon. However, women have also driven cars at a competitive level since the early days.

Camille du Gast and Helene Van Zuylen raced as early as 1901, while the first woman to join NASCAR did it in 1949. Nowadays, the sports is still dominated by men, but there are hundreds of women competing in all series and on any level. Here’s out top 10 list of the hottest and most talented female race car drivers.

Danica Patrick

If you know anything about racing, you’re probably not surprised that Danica Patrick is topping our famous female race car drivers list.

By far the most famous race car driver of all time, Danica is not only about image and PR.

She’s also a competitive driver and has been an inspiration to many other female drivers to joins a sports that’s been dominated by men for several decades. Danica started racing in 1998, at the age of 16, and has competed in junior formula events, the IndyCar Series, and NASCAR. She has the only win by a female in IndyCar and her best season was in 2009, when she finished fifth overall. Patrick also raced twice at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Milka Duno

Milka is ranked as one of the hottest female racers, but she’s not just about looks. A former model, the 47-year-old Venezuelan has a solid racing record in the IndyCar and ARCA Racing series. Duno also competed in the American Le Mans Series and raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. She scored five class wins in ALMS between 2000 and 2004 and finished the 2001 season in second place. Impressively enough, she didn’t start to drive race cars until she was 24. That’s pretty late if you want to succeed in the word of racing.

Simona de Silvestro

This 31-year-old race car driver comes from Switzerland and already has 15 years of hard racing under her belt. Simona debuted in Formula Renault back in 2005 and progressed through various series until she entered IndyCar in 2010. She also tested for Sauber’s F1 team in 2014 and raced in Formula E with Andretti Autosport. Simona also raced four full seasons in Australia’s Supercars Championship with Nissan before joining the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2019.

Cyndie Allemann

Cyndie is also from Switzerland, so that’s two Swiss women on our hottest female race car drivers list. Allemann comes from a family or race car drivers, as she is the daughter of former karting champion Kurt Allemann and the sister of racer Ken Allemann. She also began her career in karting, but moved to cars in 2004. She joined Formula 3 in 2007 and then moved to Indy Lights in 2008. In 2010, she competed in the GT1 World Championship and raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. She drove an Audi R8 LMS in the 2012 Super GT season, becoming the first female driver in the series.

Ashley Force Hood

One of the most talented female race drivers, Ashley is the daughter of former national drag racing champion John Force. Her sister, Courtney Force, is also involved in drag racing, so it kind of runs in the family. Ashley debuted in 2004 in the Top Alcohol category and moved into professional ranks in 2007. The same year she and her father became the first father and daughter to race each other. In 2008, she scored her first Funny Car win against her father, and also the first ever win for a woman in the series. Courtney scored additional wins in 2009, finishing the season in second place.

Michele Mouton

Rally racing was far more popular in Europe than in the U.S. back in the day, so you might not have heard much about Michele Mouton. But she was a very talented driver that competed in the World Rally Championship from 1974 to 1986.

Michele drove Alpines, Fiats, Lancias, Audis and Peugeots during her career and came close to winning the title in 1982.

With three wins and one podium for Audi Sport, Michele ranked second behind the legendary Walter Rohrl. Mouton also co-founded the Race of Champions event. In 1985, she won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and set a record time in the process. In 1986, she triumphed in the German Rally Championship as the first female driver to win a major title.

Maryeve Dufault

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Dufault is a former model, so she definitely qualifies for the hot part of this list, but she’s also part of the now long list of female NASCAR drivers. Maryeve came in contact with racing since she was only four years old. She began riding motorcycles at that age and turned to go-karts at only eight. By the time she was nine years old, she had broken both arms while racing and that’s enough to include her on this list.

While her racing career was far from successful, she booked a few races in various NASCAR series, like Nationwide, Canadian Tire, and ARCA.

Sara Christian

We remain in NASCAR for this one, as Sara was the first woman to ever compete in the series. It happened back in 1949, when Christian finished six races, scoring a sixth place at Langhorne and fifth place at Heidelberg. She raced her seventh and final race in 1950. Although she had a very short career, Sara Christian paved the way for countless other women to enter NASCAR. Her fifth place finish in 1949 is still the best finish by a female driver in NASCAR’s top division as of 2020, so she fully deserves a place on this list.

Sarah Fisher

Sarah Fisher is basically the Danica Patrick of the IndyCar series. The 39-year-old competed in the series from 1999 to 2010, gathering 83 races under her belt.

Although she didn't win any, she had notable results against the best male drivers from the United States.

In 2005, she joined NASCAR for Bill Maropulos Racing and finished the West Series season in 12th place. Fisher was the first woman to claim a pole position in a major American open-wheel race and had nine starts in the Indianapolis 500, the most for a woman.

Sabine Schmitz

Unlike some racers included in this list, Sabine hasn’t been a model, but she’s known as "The Queen of the Nurburgring" and that explains her presence in this top. Her nickname comes from the fact that she has won countless races at the German track in the CHC and VLN series, as well as the 24 Hours of Nurburgring twice. She has driven for Porsche and BMW and is known for having driven of the two M5 "ring taxis" around the iconic track. Sabine was featured in Top Gear in 2004 and she was selected as a presenter for the show since 2016.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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