Meet the First Women of Trucks!
Giulia, Stella, Giselle or Jasmine – these are some of the names well known to FIA European Truck Racing Championship paddock insiders.
Yet, these are not simply the wives or partners of truck racing drivers. On the contrary, these are the trucks themselves!
Interestingly, there’s a long-standing tradition in the sport of baptising race trucks, usually with female names.
Jochen Hahn, who currently leads the FIA ETRC standings, calls his Team Hahn Racing IVECO truck “Giulia”. Why? “Because I’m a big Alfa Romeo Giulia fan,” says the man himself simply.
Two-time title winner, Hungarian racer Norbert Kiss competes aboard a Mercedes-Benz truck called “Giselle”. “It was christened the same in 2016 when it was built. “It is named after the Giselle of Hungary, the first Hungarian Queen, wife of Stephen I of Hungary,” explains Kiss.
Sascha Lenz, who scored his breakthrough win earlier his year, drives a MAN called “Stella”.
The name is originated from a Greek word ‘Stelios’, meaning a ‘strong column’. The SL Trucksport outfit is based on many strong columns and the distinctive all-yellow race truck is one of them. Hence the name.
There are more “ladies” in the paddock; among others, Steffen Faas drives “Bella”, Ryan Smith – “Jasmine” and Andre Kursim – “Maggie”.
Czech Truck Racing Team’s all-white virginal MAN used to be called “Snow Flake”, standing out from the multitude of female names, but recently (after the fire at Misano and the following herculean task to bring the truck back to a race-ready state) more often it is now being titled “Feniks”, referring to the legend of Phoenix, a mythical bird that was reborn from the ashes.
What is also interesting, is that one of the most decorated drivers on the grid, Antonio Albacete, has decided not to give his truck a nickname. According to Ivan Cruz, who has been working with Albacete for years now in a variety of marketing and commercial roles says that this is because “in Spanish language trucks are more masculine.”
Although it has zero influence on performance, the tradition of baptising race trucks is an interesting fun fact and yet another thing that add colour to an already very vibrant championship.
It is this inclusion which sees many women have significant roles in the FIA ETRC, including of course Steffi Halm a multiple race winner and front-running driver, and also mechanics, engineers, administrators and marshals.