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Celebrating The 8 Most Iconic Female Race Car Drivers Since The 2000s

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

As a Formula 1 fan, I’m surprised every season to see that there are no female drivers. In fact, there hasn’t been a single female driver competing in a Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1976. But outside of Formula 1, some female drivers have shown resilience, proving that women can drive fast, too. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are a few of the most notable female drivers since the 2000s:

Danica Patrick

A former professional racing driver, Danica Patrick is one of the most successful women in the history of American open-wheel car racing. She is the only woman in the world to win the IndyCar Series race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Her accomplishments have made her a popular role model among teens, and she won the Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Athlete in 2013.

Juju Noda

The 17-year-old Japanese high schooler is one of the most talked-about female race car drivers in 2023. Juju Noda started driving and karting at just three years old and debuted in the Danish Formula 4 championship at age 10. After getting international attention by winning the Formula Junior race at age 12, Noda is predicted to be the first female driver in decades to qualify for Formula 1.

Vicky Piria

Italian car driver Vicky Piria and her pair Francesca Linossi were a rare, all-female team in the Italian GT last spring. Although they did not make the top 10, this was nevertheless a significant stepping stone in Italian female car racing history. Piria was the first woman to enter FIA Formula 3 Championship (third-tier international racing championship) in 2012, having raced several times in the legendary streets of Monaco. When she’s not racing, Piria is a TV presenter and even has her own YouTube channel.

Sneha Sharma

India’s fastest female racer, Sneha Sharma is the first woman from India to win an international car racing championship. She competes in the Formula 4 National Racing Championship and secured a top 5 position in the Mercedes young star driver program earlier in her career. Sharma not only drives cars but also flies airplanes—she is a pilot with Vistara Airlines!

Jamie Chadwick

Jamie Chadwick is a British racing driver who has the most wins, podiums, pole positions AND points in the W Series, an all-female racing competition. Just like Noda, Chadwick started racing from a young age, starting on the karting track in 2010 and winning many podiums in the Junior series. She is one of the most highly anticipated female car drivers who can possibly compete in Formula 1.

Sophia Flörsch

22-year-old Sophia Flörsch is another early talent, being the youngest race winner of the Ginetta Junior Championship. She currently competes in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, representing Germany. Flörsch is also known for being an outspoken critic of gender bias in motorsport, including media bias that focuses on male drivers over female drivers.

Naomi Schiff

Born in Belgium to a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, Naomi Schiff is now representing Germany in the W Series. She gained international attention when she competed in the 2019 BRSCC W Series. When she is not driving, she also works as a motorsport presenter and analyst.

Bianca Bustamante

Bianca Bustamante is an 18-year-old Filipino racing driver who is currently competing in the Formula 4 UAE Championship. She has a big social media presence, most known for her iconic YouTube shorts and TikTok. She has a strong following of young girls who look up to her as a young female racing icon.

These were some of the top female racing drivers who paved the way for younger girls in the racing world. Growing up near Suzuka Circuit (where the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place), I was always exposed to the male-dominated driving world. But seeing these female drivers, some younger than me, makes me excited to see what the future of the racing world looks like for women. Happy International Women’s Day!

Rio is a third-year UCLA business economics student from Japan. In her free time, you can find her hiking, dancing away at concerts, or cafe-hopping!