From a five-year-old girl racing 60mph micro-midgets in South Africa, to
a Formula One driver in the British Championship during her first full
year of racing in the UK, and on to becoming the first and only woman
ever to win a Formula One race, Desiré Wilson was a winner bested by
very few of her male rivals.
The story of the driver rated by many as the best woman ever to race
cars, and the most capable ever to have driven in Formula One. Her
50-year career began at the age of five in South Africa, moving to
Holland and England and then the USA, before gaining renewed life at the
famous Goodwood Revival historic race events. This fascinating story
shows that a woman can, and did, fight her way to the top of motorsport.
But single-seater racing was just the start of Desiré’s ascent in
motorsport. She won two FIA World Championship Sports Car Endurance
races in 1980, and went on to compete in well over 120 types of race car
at more than 100 race tracks around the world. Always competitive, she
earned a reputation for an intense, no-nonsense approach to racing,
shrugging off the media glamour to focus on the hard grind of staying
competitive in one of the world’s toughest sporting arenas.
Moving to the male-dominated world of North American racing, Desiré
became a pioneer for women racing in the harsh world of Indy Cars,
facing discrimination, financial problems, and other obstacles ranging
from tragedy to farce. Her career is unique in the world of racing,
encompassing everything from club racing to Formula One and World
Championship sports cars, to the evil monsters of the IndyCar World
Series – the world’s fastest race cars. Hers is a story of hardships,
fun, tragedy, perseverance, injury, and the amazing behind-the-scenes
world masked by the public face and glamour of racing. It tells, too, of
the consequences of politics and discrimination in the male world of
professional auto racing.