VIR to honor woman racers

Diverse Group of Women Racers to be Honored at VIR Gold Cup Historic Races Alton, Va. (May 26) - As part of the Tribute to Women in Racing during the 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled for the weekend of...

Diverse Group of Women Racers to be Honored at VIR Gold Cup Historic Races

Alton, Va. (May 26) - As part of the Tribute to Women in Racing during the 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled for the weekend of June 11-13, a diverse group of pioneering women racers will be honored.

Among these women will be Suzy Dietrich. Like many lady racers, Dietrich got involved in the sport through her husband, well-known sports car racer Chuck Dietrich. The Toledo, Ohio, native got her start in a supercharged MG TC in the mid-1950s once the SCCA started holding ladies' races. This was in the era when many races were held at Strategic Air Command races, thanks to the efforts of the legendary Gen. Curtis Le May. Dietrich raced at many of the SAC base races, as well as at Elkhart Lake, Cumberland, Watkins Glen, Nassau, Daytona and Sebring. She raced at VIR in 1963, driving a Cooper Formula Junior. In addition to her seat time in MGs, she also raced a Porsche 550 Spyder. She is also the only person to have raced every model of Elva. Late in her racing career, she shared a Sunbeam Tiger in the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona with Donna Mae Mims and Janet Guthrie, and returned the following year to share an ASA prototype with Mims.

Her trophy cabinet includes approximately 20 first-place awards, and mementos of numeous podium finishes. Dietrich now lives in Sandusky, Ohio.

Another of the honorees will be Divina Galica, a British-born woman who was a four-time Olympic skier, two-time captain of the British Women's Olympic Ski Team, holder of the downhill skiing speed record (125 mph) and honored by Queen Elizabeth as a Member of the British Empire, before discovering racing.

Galica parlayed an invitation to a celebrity auto race into a three-decades-long career as one of the most accomplished female racers on the planet. She has raced everything from go-karts to Formula 1 cars, including 10-liter European (semi) Trucks. Other series that she has competed in include the World Sportscar Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Formula Renault, Formula Vauxhall Lotus, Formula 2, Sports 2000 and the Women's Global GT Series.

Today Divina works as senior vice president of racing for Skip Barber Racing Schools, and still poses a formidable challenge for anyone in whose rear-view mirror she happens to appear.

Also appearing at the Gold Cup Historic Races will be Audrey Zavodsky. Some people have a hidden talent, and spend a lifetime without discovering it. Zavodsky, of New Berlin, Mich., is not one of those people. After completing her Ph.D in Human and Organizational Systems, having already earned a Bachelors Degree in Nursing and a Masters Degree in Administration, Audrey received a Bob Bondurant racing school as a graduation present from her husband.

Although racing had been a secret dream, she discovered that she was really, really good at it. The Bondurant instructors advised her to go racing as soon as possible, and she did. She's been racing eight years now, and has won in the Women's Global GT Series, Panoz Pro Series and the Panoz GT Series, as well as numerous regional SCCA wins and a Divisional Championship in Pro Spec Racer Ford.

This grandmother of two works as a corporate nurse for Ford Motor Co., and also serves as a motivational speaker. She continues to race wherever and whenever possible, and would like to move on to Trans-Am or prototype racing.

The Tribute to Women in Racing will be sponsored by Vintage Motorsport magazine, and will include an all-women's race. Other highlights of the Gold Cup Historic Races will be a large gathering of Triumphs, which will be the featured marque, as well as the third annual Moss Motors Gold Cup Car Show and the G&W Motorsports Pinewood Derby

The Triumph marque played a significant role in the growth of the sports car enthusiast market in the United States following World War II. The TR series of sports cars began in 1952, and the TR2, TR3, TR4, TR6, TR7 and TR8 models were all very popular in this country. Triumphs were a common site on the highways and byways of America from the 1950s through the '70s, as well as on its racetracks.

The Gold Cup Historic Races, VIR's signature vintage racing event, is independently sanctioned with competition groups and eligibility being overseen by race chair Peter Krause, a longtime racing instructor and vintage racer. The event has drawn rave reviews in its first four years for its close but friendly competition and laid-back atmosphere, with the emphasis on "reviving the vintage spirit."

Advance tickets for the Gold Cup Historic Races will be available through June 3 from a number of VIR ticket outlets. Advance ticket prices range from $30 for a three-day Super Ticket and program to $15 for single-day tickets for Saturday and Sunday. Visit the track's website at www.virclub.com for ticket outlet information. At the gate, prices will be $40 for the three-day Super Ticket with program, $20 for single-day Saturday and Sunday tickets and $10 for single-day Friday tickets. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.

VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and the VIR Euro Rally and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and a Tuff Terrain" course. Future plans include the VIR Gallery, a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars, and resort lodging.

VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.

For more information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR toll-free at 888-RACE099.

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Series OPENWHEEL , ROADRACING , SCCA , VINTAGE