Liz Halliday takes on Le Mans for a third year!
This weekend 165 drivers will be racing in the Le Mans that is held in France. Out of those 165 racers one of them is a woman. Her name is Liz Halliday. She's 28 years old from California, however she is currently based in the UK. This will be Liz's third year entering the le mans race.
“I feel really privileged to be able to do Le Mans three years running” says Liz. “Its always been a special race for me and my family and it has such a long, illustrious history behind it. The whole week is just incredible and I don’t think there is another motor race on the planet that can compare with it right now. This really is the big one and it is definitely the highlight of my year.”
Liz has two mighty ambitions: to become the first female driver to win the famous Le Mans 24-hour race and to claim a place on the US Olympic equestrian team.
This extraordinary sportswoman has already taken the first few steps towards one of these goals with her rapid and impressive ascent up the motor racing ladder. In just two full seasons of international racing, Liz has become the most successful female driver ever in the history of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), America’s most prestigious sports car racing series.
From humble beginnings in historic racing with a vintage Datsun 510, Liz graduated to the Kumho BMW Championship for the start of the new millennium and was named ‘Driver of the Year’ in 2002 before claiming her first win, at Croft in England, in 2003, breaking the track record in the process.
The same year she added to her growing reputation by making her sports car debut, becoming the first female driver ever to win a round of the British GT Championship, as well as competing in the famous Bathurst 24 Hours in Australia and the Spa 1000kms in Belgium.
2004 saw Liz return to the USA to race in the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series, taking a podium at Homestead, Miami, whilst she also made her ALMS debut, entering the Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca in a Porsche 911 GT3 and took part in her first round-the-clock event, the Spa 24 Hours.
Perhaps even more exciting for Liz in 2005 was her debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite leading the P2 class for nearly half the race and edging closer to one of her personal goals, the race ultimately ended in disappointment, after engine problems forced an early retirement approximately eleven hours in.
2006 saw Liz continue her run of success, taking three more wins and seven further podiums in the American Le Mans Series, to finish as runner-up in the P2 driver’s championship. These results made her the most successful female driver ever in ALMS history, whilst she also finished her first Le Mans 24 Hours, although gearbox and engine problems meant the car just missed a podium placing, finishing fourth in class.
The 2007 season saw Liz become the first woman to race the Aston Martin DBR9 on the international scene, securing a class podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a fourth place finish at Monza. For the Le Mans 24 Hours however she returns to the LMP2 class at the wheel of Del Bello Racing’s Courage LC75-AER.
On the equestrian front meanwhile, Liz’s drive to mount the top step in the Olympics will also be helped or hindered by ‘horsepower’.
Liz currently has three horses which she feels will help her get closer to her ultimate Olympic goal with the right training regime and the luck that every sporting star needs. Despite the challenge of competing in both sports simultaneously, Liz is equally determined to succeed as a driver and equestrian, and is prepared to work hard and make sacrifices to reach her ultimate goals...
As Liz herself says: "Everyone tells me that I am mad to have this twin sporting focus in my life, but I find that one complements the other. The cars demand focus, accuracy, and strength. In Eventing it’s the same but the horses, as well as the rider, must possess these attributes in order for the two to work as a successful partnership."
JUST A LITTLE ABOUT LE MANS
The Le Mans is a famous sports car endurance race that has been held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is run on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant to not only test a car and driver's ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.