A 79-year-old woman behind the wheel of a vehicle with 800 horsepower? You bet. Rosemary Smith, an Irish rally car driver, has become the oldest person to ever drive a Formula One car.
The former seamstress, dress shop owner and thrill-seeker got her start in racing when one of her clients invited her to take on navigation duties in a rally car.
However, it transpired that Rosemary was the better driver. So they agreed Rosemary would navigate for the first couple of miles; they would then swap places, with Rosemary driving. Shortly before the end of the race, they would again change places. “This went on for years,” says Rosemary, “and we kept on winning.” (Independent.ie)
Smith beat women’s team and men’s teams to become one of the best rally car drivers in the world, and even opened her own driving school.
So, when Renault Sport UK offered her the chance to sit behind the wheel of one of their cars, a high-powered vehicle she’s never driven before, she couldn’t back down.
“The older you get, and you sort of think, well, time is sort of running out, so I’ve got to make the most of every moment,” she said.
Renault driver, Jolyon Palmer, gave Smith some instruction as she did her best to try and bat away the nerves.
“Think about it. At my age, I should be sitting at home doing my knitting,” she said.
But, once she sat in the driver’s seat and revved the engine, her passion for speed overpowered her anxiety, and she threw down on the track.
Take a look:
More proof that anything is possible at any given age.