Duno becomes first woman to race Prototype class

Duno is first woman to race big prototype in American Le Mans Series. will compete at Sears Point May 19. SONOMA, Calif. (May 7, 2002) ¯ Milka Duno of Venezuela, co-winner of last year's Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Foster's Lager at ...

Duno is first woman to race big prototype in American Le Mans Series. will compete at Sears Point May 19.

SONOMA, Calif. (May 7, 2002) ¯ Milka Duno of Venezuela, co-winner of last year's Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Foster's Lager at Sears Point Raceway, has changed racing gears for the 2002 season. She will be at this year's event on May 19 in one of the fastest and most exotic racing cars in the world.

Duno is the first woman to compete in the LMP 900 (Prototype) class of the American Le Mans Series and will compete in all 10 races on the series for the newly-formed MBD Sportscar team from Canada. In addition to being the only female, she is also the only Hispanic driver to regularly compete in the sports car racing series.

Duno drove for Dick Barbour Racing in the 2001 season and was part of the winning team in four ALMS races in the LMP 675 class for smaller, less-powerful Prototypes. The Barbour team won the class championship and her teammate, Didier de Radigues, won the class driving title.

A competitor in 1999 and 2000 in the former Women's Global GT Series, Duno made her ALMS debut late in the 2000 season, competing in three races for Chamberlain Motorsports in a Dodge Viper in the GTS class.

The MBD Sportscar team is racing Panoz LMP07 machines powered by Mugen engines, the first venture into the ALMS for the famed Japanese builder of racing engines. In addition to Belgium's de Radigues, Duno's teammates include Canadians John Graham and Scott Maxwell.

In her first two seasons of competition on the ALMS, the 29-year-old Duno has become a fan favorite. She possesses five Master's degrees, earning them in naval engineering, business organization, marine business, naval architecture and marine biology. She has helped to design oil recovery ships. Her website, www.milkaduno.com, has also become popular since being launched late last year.

Duno has raced for the past three years with the mentoring of former racing star Vic Elford, a standout in Formula One, endurance sports cars and rallying in his fabled career. Duno and Elford met when he traveled to Venezuela a few years ago to teach a racing course and Duno was one of his students.

Duno is the first woman from Venezuela to start a career in professional motorsports at the international level. Last year, she was named "Driver of the Year" by the Venezuelan motorsports media.

In her first year of racing, she finished fourth in the Porsche Super Cup championship in Venezuela in 1998. The next season, she raced on the Women's Global GT Series and finished third in points while also winning her first race and championship in the winter Panoz Series in 2000. That same year, she won a Ferrari Challenge race at Road Atlanta, becoming the first woman to do so in the United States and only the second in the world.

In her first season of ALMS competition, she scored her first podium finish in the 2000 season finale at Adelaide, Australia, co-driving a GTS Dodge Viper to third place. She made her debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 while driving for Barbour and will compete in the famed French classic again this year.

Ticket information for the Grand Prix of Sonoma is available online at www.searspoint.com, www.tickets.com or by calling the Sears Point Raceway ticket office at 1-800-870-RACE.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Milka Duno , Didier de Radigues , Vic Elford , John Graham , Scott Maxwell , Dick Barbour