It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a testing year for the whole world, and motorsport has been no exception. However, despite calendars being turned upside down and championships sadly being postponed, we’ve had some unforgettable moments which have showcased fantastic female talent.
To celebrate this, we've put together a list of names who have delivered some standout performances.
Despite only being in her first season of single-seater racing, Abbi has impressed with her performances in British Formula 4 and a debut outing in Renault Formula Eurocup (which supported Formula 1).
The 17-year-old made four trips to the rostrum in British F4, following in the footsteps of the likes of Lando Norris. Abbi finished sixth overall in the championship and ensured she left her mark on the motorsport paddock.
Abbi is coached by fellow racing driver Alice Powell who has been a big part of her journey to single-seaters. Another rising star that the W Series driver and former GP3 competitor tutors is Ella Stevens. At 12-years-old, Ella has already had an exciting start to her racing career and came fifth in the British Kart Championships this year.
ALL FEMALE CREWS AT LE MANS
This year we were fortunate enough to have two all-female crews competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Tatiana Calderon, Beitske Visser and Sophia Floersch raced in the LMP2 class and yielded a top-10 finish in their first endurance event as a trio. The Richard Mille team went on to compete in further European Le Mans Series rounds and shared memorable moments and progression together as they all got their first taste of endurance racing.
Another almighty female line-up has been Iron Dames. Competing in the LMGTE-Am class, they also finished the 24-hour extravaganza in ninth position. Rahel Frey, Manuela Gostner and Michelle Gatting have proved their skill as they tackled some of the toughest endurance events to finish P5 in the championship.
JADE EDWARDS AND JESS HAWKINS
Two women made their British Touring Car Championship debuts this year and both did a sterling job. Jade Edwards stepped up to the plate and was the first female driver to participate in a BTCC race in 13 years.
“Racing in the BTCC is a childhood dream of mine, and is something that I’ve made no secret of working towards,” Edwards told Motorsport.com ahead of her outing at Silverstone.
W Series competitor Jess Hawkins followed in Jade’s footsteps shortly after.
“The BTCC is where I’ve always wanted to be – it’s my dream,” she said. “I’ve managed to knock on the door a few times, but I genuinely can’t believe it’s actually happening, especially with such a great team behind me."
Jess broke into the top-20 in her final race at Snetterton, marking a weekend of solid progress.
Charlie has been an incredible ambassador on and off the race track. As well as being an ace endurance racer, Charlie uses her platform as an athlete to promote LGTBQ+ issues and inclusivity.
The transgender racing driver, who aims to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, came one step closer to that dream after finishing a fantastic fourth in class at the Nurburgring 24-hours - one of the most challenging endurance events in the world.
Esmee was crowned the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am champion after an impressive season with close competition. Competing under Team Parker Racing, Esmee had many moments to celebrate throughout her campaign which supported the BTCC calendar.
The stats for her season speak for themselves; with 11 fastest laps, nine wins and six pole positions, Esmee has had a season to remember and a bright future of racing ahead of her.
German-born Michelle Halder became the first woman to win a TCR Europe event when she celebrated victory at Zolder this year. The season didn’t always go Michelle’s way, but her constant determination and will to succeed has been something that we’ve always admired. Scoring 115 points over the course of the TCR Europe season, Michelle finished 2020 15th in the championship standings.
The young talent made her single-seater debut in Danish Formula 4 where she took her first outright win in her maiden F4 race. In addition, the rapid racer scored a trio of pole positions, a further three podiums and truly became one to watch in the years to come. Have we found a future Formula 1 star?
Rio is an exciting prospect to come out of Japan, having competed in TRC Japan this year and being the first woman to do so. Known for her overtaking, Rio left her mark on the series by walking away as the Saturday Series Bronze champion.
Driving for Drago CORSE - the same team as Tatiana Calderon - Rio has been encouraged by her passion and drive to race against the best. Rio has high hopes for the future and would love to compete in WTCR. By what she’s demonstrated so far, we’re positive she will succeed.
The Colombian's year kickstarted by finishing the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA where she was a frequent scorer of points to finish 12th overall.
As well as racing in the European Le Mans Series and celebrating the P9 finish at Le Mans, Tatiana has tackled the hugely competitive SUPER FORMULA Championship in Japan. She had a lot to learn this year and she openly spoke about the challenges of the new tyres and missing rounds due to the strict Japanese quarantine rules for new arrivals. However, determined as ever, Tatiana made steady progress throughout the season to prove her place on the grid.
14-year-old Jade has had a memorable year after sweeping the NOW600 national titles in the USA. What’s more, the teenager won both the National Open Wheel A-Class and Restricted national championships and established herself as one to watch for the future.
After a stellar year of racing from some fast and fearless women, we cannot wait to see what 2021 and beyond will have in store!
Who have been your standout female drivers in 2020? Let us know by commenting below.