Denise McCluggage | Advantage GPS

Denise McCluggage

In honor of Women’s History month, we at Advantage Automotive Analytics would like offer a tribute to some of the outstanding talent and success of women in the automotive industry

Denise McCluggage (born 1927) is an American auto racing driver, journalist, author and photographer. McCluggage was a pioneer of equality for women in the U.S., both in motorsports as well as in journalism. She spent her childhood in Kansas and then graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills College in the Oakland, California. She began her career as a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle. In early 1950s she met Briggs Cunningham, the builder of the first American cars to race at Le Mans. She bought her first MG TC sports car and began racing at small club events.
Denise McCluggage - Women Leaders - Advantage Automotive Analytics

She drove Porsches, Maserati’s and other racing cars of many marques, often with her compatriot Pinkie Rollo. She ended her racing career in the late 1960s and eventually became founding editor of the U.S. automotive magazine AutoWeek. Among her racing accomplishments:

  • During the 1950s and 1960s, McCluggage raced against such competitors as Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney, the Rodriguez brothers, and Juan Manuel Fangio.
  • Winner of the Nassau Ladies Race 1 on December 8, 1956 in a Porsche 550
  • Winner of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Ladies Race September 20, 1957 in a Porsche 550.
  • Earned 1st place in the GT category at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1961, driving a Ferrari 250. She placed in 10th in the overall standings.
  • Inducted into the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Hall of Fame in 2006.


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