Alfa Romeo is celebrating International Women's Day by highlighting some of the women who have raced its cars over the past century. They collectively achieved a long list of impressive achievements on and off the track.
One of the earliest-known women that raced an Alfa Romeo professionally is Maria Antonietta d’Avanzo, an Italian baroness who started competing shortly after World War I. Her career spanned several decades, during which she competed against numerous pilots, including an ambitious young man named Enzo Ferrari who would have a profoundly important effect on Alfa Romeo's image and success on the track. He was a mediocre racer, by most accounts, but he proved to be a brilliant manager and was soon put in charge of the carmaker's racing efforts.
Ferrari sold Anna Maria Peduzzi one of her first race cars: an Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Super Sport. Racing either alone or with her husband, she took first in the 1500 category of the 1934 edition of the Mille Miglia. Hellé Nice and Odette Siko also raced Alfa Romeo cars during the 1930s; the latter finished fourth overall and first in the 2.0-liter category in a privately-entered 6C 1750 Super Sport. Alfa Romeo's official entry, an 8C 2300, took second overall.
Belgian-born Christine Beckers and Dutch racer Liane Engeman both competed in the GTA — one of the company's most successful race cars — during the 1960s. Alfa Romeo later hired Engeman as a model.
Maria Grazia Lombardi (also known as Lella) raced a GTV6, but she's better known as the only woman to have scored points in Formula One. She competed from 1974 to 1976 and scored half a point in 1975. She also raced in four editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished 20th overall and second in her class in a Lancia Stratos.
Colombian pilot Tatiana Calderon joined the Sauber Formula One team as a development driver in 2017 after a successful career racing karts. In 2018, she became a test driver for Alfa Romeo's Formula One team. She doesn't line up on the starting grid (at least not yet) but she plays a big part in creating the company's top-level race cars.
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