Excerpted from Racer.com, Lyn St. James highlights some of the significant drivers who influenced her careeer:
The very first sports car race I saw was the 24 Hours of Daytona in the early 1970s, and besides seeing superstars like Mark Donahue, Mario Andretti, Pedro Rodriguez, and Roger Penske, I remember seeing this incredible Inaltera-sponsored racing car being driven by women racers Christine Beckers from Belgium and Lella Lombardi from Italy.
This left an indelible impression on me. When I watched the “Battle of the Sexes” on television when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in 1973, it really influenced my thought process that it would be OK for me to pursue racing. Then in 1983, while racing in the SCCA Trans Am Series (the series was sponsored by Budweiser), I was invited to the Women’s Sports Foundation dinner in New York. After meeting Billie – she was the founder – she made me realize the importance of knowing the history of women who competed in my sport. She said that we were the most powerful while we were competing, and that we needed to know whose shoulders we stood on.
In 1974 I started racing in the Sports Car Club of America at the very bottom of the ladder, in a Showroom Stock Pinto, and while I was often the only woman racing at the tracks during those years, drag racer Shirley Muldowney was the woman racer getting a lot of attention, and I went to the Gatornationals to try to meet her…