At Last a First Meeting
The Commission “Women in Motorsport” FIA was created in 2009.
The Womens Commission of the Automobile Club of Monaco was created in the fall of 2019 but , because of the pandemic, it was officially confirmed on October 12, 2021 at the last statutory general assembly of the Automobile Club de Monaco during the re-election of the President ACM, Michel Boéri, for the next 5 years.
The famous French rally driver, Michèle Mouton, is the president of the Women in Motorsport FIA.
She has won four rallies in the world and four in Europe, nicknamed the beautiful black volcano, this driver, whose first vocation was to become a special educator for teenagers in difficulty, has won four times the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Michèle Mouton nicknamed The beautiful black volcano ( Copyright Archives ACM)
Michèle Mouton Palmares : a first place in the Coupe des Dames in Monaco in 1976, co-driver Françoise Conconi, departure from Paris in an Alpine Renault A110.
The team repeated the podium at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in 1978 and in 1979 at the wheel of a Lancia Stratos .
In 1980 Michèle Mouton won the 48th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rally with a Fiat 131 Abarth, co-driver Annie Arrii.
YouTube video 1980 : https://youtu.be/Kl9WCzEDI_w
On February 04, 2011, Jean Todt, President of the International Automobile Federation and special envoy of the UN Secretary General for road safety, announced his willingness to appoint Michèle Mouton as manager of the World Rally Championship.
Michèle Mouton next to Jean Todt and Lucas Guibert, Mayor of Entrevaux (Copyright ACM Archives)
Why is it so important to remember all these achievements?
Because the history of the Automobile Club de Monaco is the history of the automobile and the developments of the automobile industry are linked to it.
For example, in 1925, the rules of the Monte-Carlo Rally were revised and changed to give priority to the distance covered with the number of passengers carried: giving six points for each person carried meant inviting manufacturers to highlight the comfort of their cars.
Rereading the history of ACM means better understanding all the changes that have taken place in both the automobile industry and road safety as a result of the quest for safety in motor racing.
Sir Jackie Stewart (three-time F1 world champion) has been a strong advocate for racing safety.
Roman Polanski , Sir Jackie Stewart and Ely Galleani in Monaco ( Copyright Ely Galleani)
The Women in Motorsport Commission has over 70 national representatives from around the world who have been appointed by their national sporting authority (ASN).
Their mission is to help implement WIMC initiatives in their respective countries to create a motorsport culture that promotes and values the full participation of women in all aspects of motorsport.
At the very beginning it was not really easy for women to participate.
In 1912, a pioneering woman took part in the 2nd Monte-Carlo Rally as a pilot: Miss Cabieu, driving a Lion-Peugeot 2-cylinder car, drove from Paris to Monaco at an average speed of 32 km/h… but women were not officially allowed to compete!
It will be fourteen years before the Ladies’ Cup is invented!
Finally in 1927 at the Monte-Carlo Rally: Mrs Mildred Bruce, better known as Mrs Victor Bruce, would officially win the Ladies’ Cup at the wheel of an A.C Bristol (start of John O’Groats, 2461 km covered).
Photo: 1929 Rallye Monte-Carlo Coupe des Dames :First Lucy O’Reilly Shell at the wheel of a Talbot M67 2L, 8th out of 66 drivers in the general classification ( Copyright ACM Archives)
During the first meeting of the “Women in Motorsport” Commission, which took place in the ACM lounge on November 4th, we had the pleasure of meeting three exceptional women to whom we asked some questions.
One of those Jutta Kleinschmidt, keynote speaker and physics engineer, is the most successful woman in Cross Country rallying worldwide.
She is the first and only woman to date to have won , in 2001, the world’s toughest and longest rally, the Dakar Rally.
In total Jutta has participate in 17 Dakar Rallies between 1988 and 2007
Jutta may you tell us what are the openings for young people and women in the world of motor racing ?
« Advancing equality and the role of women is urgent . But in the field of racing it is not only difficult for women.
Taking part in racing means also finding substantial financial resources.
Teams usually engage only professional drivers or the drivers has to pay for the participation and that often close the doors to the young generations.
Personally I start racing on motorcycle, after following the Rally as a spectator with my bike.
To race on motorcycle is much cheaper than on car !
Only after having success I was able to find sponsors to finance my participations on car.
Until I won the Dakar , I still had to find the budget for race .
Only after I became a paid driver.
If we want to see more women participating , they need help to find the necessary support.
In 2018 Jean Todt ask me to find innovations for the Cross-Country Rally sport.
Since 2019 I am now the President of the FIA Cross Country Rally commission and since then we have implemented a lot of changes.
For example to attract the young generation we have created a new category (T4) for affordable race cars : called Side-By-Side vehicules (SSV ) .
This new category has made a very positive impact as we have much more young participant and also woman racing .
It was also important to attracts manufacturers , therefore we have adapt the regulation to allow environmentally friendly new technologies.
In 2022, for the fist time electric vehicle, will take part in a new created FIA World Championship were the Dakar Rally will be the first round.”
Video SideBySide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkyEG31HJmI
Being more creative also means deconstructing a very hierarchical models!
Jutta since this year you are racing again yourself in the Extreme E Championship. Can you tell us more ?
“Extreme E is a radical new off-road racing series, which use full electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues.
The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.
Extreme E is pioneering not only regarding technology, 50% of all drivers are female !
Each team as a male and a female driver.
This will help significant to have more female motorsport champions in the future.”
On the same occasion we met the president of the “Women in Motorsport” of the Automobile Club of Monaco. Tiffaney Perlino is a driver and co-driver of historic rallies at national and international level with a Lancia Fulvia HF 1.6 and an Opel Kadett GTE. She has participated 9 times in the Historic Monte Carlo Rally, twice as an all female crew.
Tiffaney Perlino Rallye Historique Monte-Carlo ( Copyright Archives ACM)
In order to trace the history of the Automobile Club de Monaco, we find that in 1934, the Ladies’ Cup of the Monte Carlo Rally was won by Fernande Hustinx driving a 301 Peugeot, co-driver Simone Louise des Forest.
Departure from Bucharest … 3772 km covered !
Mrs. Hustinx foresighted and experienced had taken care to feed her car with Spidoleine, the very useful safety oil to face such an icy course.
Among other things, the co-pilot Mrs. Simone Louise des Forest was one of the first women, aged 19, to have a driving license in France.
At that time the driving licenses in Europe were not more than one hundred!
Photo 13th Rally Monte-Carlo 1934
Tiffaney and I emphasized the importance of road safety and the hope of developing a Safe Drive course for women members of the ACM.
Can you tell us more? A project on the way ?
“I think it’s important that people feel safe and confident behind the wheel. I think women sometimes feel intimidated, and we are used to men being the dominant factor in “the car world,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. Whether a woman is driving professionally or driving the kids to school, it is important that she has the knowledge and experience to do it properly and safely.
With the commission, we would like to organize track days to encourage better driving. It will also be possible to take the children to a track for lessons in real cars adapted especially for children!. I am very passionate about encouraging young girls to take an interest in motorsports.
Photo Road Education at Monaco 2019 ( Copyright Archives ACM)
For several years now, young children from the Principality have been taking part in the International Automobile Federation’s European road safety competition (supervised by Marie-Pierre Ferriol, a public safety officer, and Mathée Lanfranchi with the support of the Automobile Club of Monaco).
I hope to see more initiatives like this in Monaco.
I really need our women members will join us in our future projects and help to grow a supportive and dynamic community.”
Sophie Bensa (Copyright Archives ACM)
Finally, Sophie Bensa, who represented the Racing Marshals at the meeting on November 4, passed on the message:
“It is important that women act, unite and support each other…it is time for us!”
This first meeting of the Commission “Women in Motorsport”, rich in ideas and concrete exchanges, reminded us how much action in favor of gender equality can contribute to reinventing our changing world.
The next meeting: Tuesday 8th march “Women’s Day” followed by a dinner at the Club (reserved by the women members of the ACM)
Photo : Michel Boeri , président ACM in front the picture of HSH Prince Albert II (Copyright Archives ACM)
For all motorsport enthusiasts here is the 2022 calendar of the next events in Monaco:
• 17-23 January
90º RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
• 27 January – 2 February
24º RALLYE MONTE-CARLO HISTORIQUE
• 30 April
5º MONACO E-PRIX
• 13-15 May
13º GRAND PRIX DE MONACO HISTORIQUE
• 26-29 May
79º GRAND PRIX DE MONACO
And to end another Michèle Mouton’s video:
the role of pilot and co-pilot (Fiat 131 Abarth)
A Se Revede ! ( See You Soon in Monegasque)
Copyright Ely Galleani