The British sportswoman Divina Galica has a special place in the history of sport not just as one of the rare female drivers to participate in Formula One Grand Prix events but also as a woman who participated four times in the Olympic Games, representing the United Kingdom in skiing.
Her racing career was marked by three unsuccessful qualifying attempts in Formula 1 World Championship in 1976 and 1978. Besides those DNQs, she raced successfully in British F1 or Shellsport International Series, even scoring several podiums.
Four-time participant of the Olympic Games
Divina Mary Galica was born on August 13, 1944 in Bushey Heath near Watford, in Hertfordshire, but as a girl, she never planned on making a career in motorsport.
However, she was a very successful athlete, competing in various skiing disciplines. Galica participated in four Winter Olympic Games – Innsbruck 1964, Grenoble 1968, Sapporo 1972 and Albertville 1992, when she returned from retirement.
Divina Galica was a successful skier
Accidental start of the racing career
Her racing career began by accident when she accepted an invitation to take a part in the celebrities Ford Escort race at Oulton Park. Her driving skills surprised and impressed many, especially John Webb, the boss of Brands Hatch circuit, who persuaded Galica to attend some racing school before she enters some minor racing events. Soon, racing became her second sport and over the years she had some notable appearances.
Unsuccessful attempts to race in F1
Galica raced mostly at the national level but also had many appearances at the very high international level. One of them was her Formula 1 debut in 1976. She was given a chance to drive for Shellsport/Whiting team in the British Grand Prix but failed to qualify for the race. Other well-known names like Lella Lombardi and Jacky Ickx also couldn’t qualify for the race. Two years later, Galica had another chance to test herself in Formula 1 but again failed to qualify for the races in Argentina and Brazil, this time with Hesketh Racing team.
Driving a Surtees TS16 - Ford Cosworth, 1976
Return to the racing at home soil
Somewhat disappointed with the failure of the most prominent racing series, Galica returned to the racing in the British Formula 1 Championship in which she was pretty successful, despite the fact she was driving an underperforming car of the team with the poor financial backing.
Divina Galica also raced in European Formula 2 Championship between 1977 and 1980. During four races, she entered a total of eight races, driving a Chevron B39/Ford, March 782/BMW, and March 792/Hart but any of those appearances weren’t impressive. Galica’s best result in F2 was 11th place at Silverstone in 1979.
Divina Galica had an interesting career
Galica also raced in karting and the various sports cars categories and, interestingly, truck racing, and had some notable results. Over the years, motorsport became her main occupation. She worked as an instructor in the famous Skip Barber Racing School and later Divina was promoted to senior vice-president of Skip Barber Racing. In 2005, she left that job to become one of the directors in iRacing.com, the world's largest on-line race simulator service.
Divina Galica posing with Lola race car, 1975
Now and then, Divina still takes a part in some historic car racing events. As a most successful British lady skier of all time, Galica was introduced as a member of the Order of British Empire.