A pioneer for women in motorsports, Lyn St. James racked up numerous firsts and records for speed over the course of her 20 years as a professional driver. She appeared in more than 100 races, competing in the Indianapolis 500 and top endurance races in the U.S. and Europe. She is the first female recipient of the “Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year” award presented in honor of her spectacular debut in 1992, the first of her seven starts in the series. She also appeared behind the wheel more than 50 times each in both SCCA Trans-Am and IMSA GT races. With her victory in the Serengeti 500 race at Watkins Glen in 1985, she remains the only woman to win an IMSA GT race as a solo driver. She held 31 national and international closed-circuit speed records, clocking 225.722 mph in her qualifying race for the 1995 Indy 500. She established her own race team in 1996. Sports Illustrated for Women honored St. James as one of the “Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century” in 2000. She was inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Sebring Hall of Fame in 2020. In May, she was honored with the Spirit of Ford award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Equally recognized for her many contributions off the track, Lyn St. James received numerous awards for distinguished service to racing, driver education, the automotive industry, and as an advocate for women’s participation in sports. She served as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation from 1990 to 1993. In 1993, she founded the Lyn St. James Foundation (later the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation) to provide support for women’s participation in automotive fields, establishing a driver development academy, automotive safety training programs, and scholarships for women in racing and engineering. She served as ambassador for the RMP Foundation (2014-2020). Currently, she is part of NASCAR’s Diversity Council, the A.C.C.U.S. North American Representative on FIA Women in Motorsports Commission, and part of the A.C.C.U.S. Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Panel.
Lyn St. James is the subject of books for children and adults in addition to serving as an author in her own right with two autobiographical works, Ride of Your Life: A Racecar Driver’s Journey (2002) and Lyn St. James: An Incredible Journey (2010), to her credit. She has also served as a sports commentator and a motivational speaker.