Speed Queens: A Secret History of Women in Motorsport

“Speed Queens” is a compelling narrative that chronicles the rich history of women in motorsports, from its inception in 1897 to the present day. The book offers a deep dive into the diverse pathways women have taken to enter the world of motor racing and rallying, showcasing over a century of transformative stories from across the globe.

Each chapter in “Speed Queens” begins with a specific event that introduces a female racer and her contemporaries, exploring different themes and advancing through the timeline of motorsport history. The book provides a thorough exploration of both circuit racing and rallying, highlighting the unique challenges and triumphs experienced by women in these fields.

Beyond merely listing achievements, “Speed Queens” delves into complex themes such as the portrayal of sportswomen as performers in the early 20th century, the intersections of women, death, and risk, and how the proliferation of small car production in the 1960s opened new doors for female drivers.

The narrative brings to life well-known figures like Michele Mouton in the rallying world and Lella Lombardi in Formula 1, while also emphasizing the collective achievements and struggles of less recognized competitors. It challenges the focus on “firsts” and individual accolades, instead restoring the collective narrative of women who competed for these titles and examining the intricate relationships among them.

“Speed Queens” is a testament to the enduring spirit and significant impact of women in motorsports. It reclaims their rightful place in the sport’s history and provides inspiration for future generations of women drivers. This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the untold stories of women who have shaped and continue to influence the world of motorsports.