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July 4, 1903 – The first female race car driver
This Day

July 4, 1903 – The first female race car driver

On this day in 1903 Dorothy Levitt became the first British woman reported in the press to compete in an automobile motor race. Driving a 12 horsepower Gladiator, Levitt took first place in her class at the Southport Speed Trials, but there is more to her initiation to auto racing than meets the eye. Her entry into the race was billed as a publicity stunt arranged by her boss at Napier Car Company. He had taught his Levitt, who was his secretary, to drive an automobile just before entering her in the race, knowing her appearance would draw interest in his cars. Turns out his stunt led to her discovering a natural ability behind as a driver, as well as a speed boat racer and airplane pilot. Levitt in a 12 HP Gladiator Levitt set a number of early records, including the "longest d...

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