Typically when you think of motor sport, you associate it with famous hot rods like Daniel Ricciardo, Jamie Whincup, Peter Brock, or Mark Webber racing against a bunch of guys who can seriously full throttle.
Truth be told, women can drive fast too.
Australia's Chelsea Angelo will join compatriot Renee Gracie this year in the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series. They are the only two women in a field of 26 drivers in the Dunlop series.
Rising motor sport star Chelsea Angelo is on track for a V8 Supercars berth as she returns to the second tier V8 Supercars Dunlop Series this year.
Now driving a VEII Holden Commodore for Dragon Racing, 2016 is her first full campaign in the development series. Earlier in March, she achieved a career highlight finishing the Clipsal 500 in 13th.
“From not being in the car for 12 months and to jump into Adelaide with no expectations and get those results, I'm absolutely stoked with it," she said.
Angelo managed to finish the same event last year in 18th without a full time ride in the seven round series. This promising result followed a successful 2014 stint in Formula 3 which included seven race wins and setting the fastest lap at Phillip Island. Not satisfied, Angelo set her sights on the Dunlop series, and her dream of a V8 Supercars berth.
"My dream goal would be to get into the main V8 Supercars series, it’s definitely a possibility we can get there, with the right team, and the right car I think we can make it into the main V8 Supercars series,” she said.
This year though, it’s all about improvements, and not getting carried away.
“I’m over the moon but we’re taking this year as a learning curve," she said. "As long as I can improve myself as a driver, but also the team improves, that would be a massive goal for us."
“I’m not intimidated to be a girl in a male dominated sport, I think it’s great to see more females coming up through the ranks in motorsport, It doesn’t really hinder my performance in that way, and I go out there and treat everyone as a normal competitor,” Angelo said.
When asked what she loves about the sport she's been a part of since receiving a go kart on her 11th birthday , she didn't hesitate to say:
“I think it’s just the adrenalin, and it’s something completely different to what most of the public do,” she said.
Renee Gracie returns to the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series grid for a second season in 2016. She drives a Falcon for Team Caltex. While she crashed into a barrier at Clipsal 500 earlier this month, she's still confident about a strong season.
A former karting star, 21-year-old Gracie moved to the tin-top racing scene in 2013, contesting two seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – the most recent having yielded five top 10 race results and a 100 per cent race finishing record matched only by five-time series champion Craig Baird.
After becoming the first female to compete in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup, Gracie moved to the Dunlop Series in 2015 in what was a ground-breaking year, becoming the first full-time female competitor in the Dunlop Series in 14 years.
Gracie made her V8 Supercars Championship debut at Bathurst as part of the Harvey Norman Supergirls entry – the first all-female combination to contest the Great Race since 1998.
Motor sport: a brief explainer
V8 Supercars are purpose built race machine, based on manufacturers Ford, Holden, Nissan and Volvo. Each have their own V8 engine. From 2017, V8 Supercars will open up to allow a greater range of brands and models of race car in to the sport.
Formula 1 (F1) is the top “open wheeler” category in motor sport. Here in Australia Formula 3 and Formula 4 bridges the gap between karting and F1, based in Europe. We will feature more trail blazers in these fields in the final part of this series tomorrow.
More information on the V8 Supercar Dunlop series can be found here.