FCA Heritage remembers the stories of four women racing drivers who competed and won.
Breaking the mould in cars that make dreams come alive today as much as yesterday.
Odette Siko, Maria Teresa De Filippis, Michèle Mouton and Maria Antonietta Avanzo.
Four car-crazy women who were able to overcome gender stereotypes, competing on board unforgettable cars in the same categories as men. And who achieved outstanding results.
It was 1932 when Odette Siko made motoring history in style, on board an unforgettable Alfa Romeo 6C 1750. She personally entered it in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and drove it together with Louis Charval in the 2 Litre class. She finished fourth overall, setting a competition record for the highest-ranked woman driver which still stands to this day.
Maria Antonietta Avanzo was a pioneer of Italian motoring, as well as an aviator and journalist. She competed in official competitions alongside motor racing greats such as Corrado Lotti and Tazio Nuvolari. Her talent led her to compete in the Indianapolis 500 in 1932, when she was granted a special licence because in the United States, women were not allowed to race on circuits.
Countess Maria Teresa De Filippis loved speed from a young age, a passion that initially manifested itself as a penchant for horse riding. In 1948, her brothers began to bet on her results, daring her to go faster. She duly obliged, driving a Fiat 500 to victory in her first race, a 10 km route from Salerno to Cava de’ Tirreni. She continued competing and finished second in the 1954 season of the Italian sports car championship, giving her the chance to drive in Formula One.
Michèle Mouton won the prestigious 1978 Tour de France Automobile with the Fiat 131 Abarth. Passionate about cars from a young age, she entered her first rally in 1972 as a co-driver but soon developed a taste for Italian cars. She drove the A112 Abarth, the Lancia Stratos and the mythical Fiat 131 Abarth, the car in which she finished fifth in the Tour de Corse three years running from 1978 to 1980.
When we talk about women and motoring, these are the women and cars that come to mind.
Happy 8 March, keep the passion burning.