Women in motorsport are still a curio. But in the '60 years we had one in the Netherlands that almost ended up in Formula 1. Almost…
If it happened in a movie, you wouldn't believe it: Liane Engeman's motorsport career started when she was waiting for the bus, but was offered a ride by a friendly man. Name of the man in question: Rob Slotemaker. He gave the Haarlem person a lift to Zandvoort. Not much later she was at the slip school, another week later at the Rensport school. She had long had experience with driving a car, she says in the episode of Other Sport Times which will be aired this weekend: when she was 14, 15 for a year, she regularly drove a regular customer in one of her father's company taxis.
In recent years, Liane Engeman has almost forgotten - partly because she holds back almost every form of publicity. In front of Other Sport Times she made an exception, but she has not been seen anywhere else for years. In the jubilee book that appeared in 1983 when Circuit Zandvoort 35 year existed, she was a lot more frank than lately. She explains how she started on the circuit: "Already in 1965 I could occasionally do some laps in sports cars, because the track was then still open to the public and you could practice fine for one guilder!"
However, the first private car with which she drove was by no means a sports car. "I was in contact with the DAF factory," she writes, "because I also wanted to ride rallies, but finally it started with a small Mini. Sponsors were scattered very thinly at the time and someone who wanted to go racing had to make the necessary money themselves. "
The ravishing Engeman knew all eyes on them during her racing career. In old fragments we hear her say that she is not flirting with other drivers, because that only distracts while racing; you should catch up with each other. She did not want to get married either, because that would only lead to children and once you have them, you will not give yourself 100 percent. In the end she got married, and inadvertently she got pregnant - just as she was negotiating to drive Formula 1.
Her career in motorsport lasted from 1965 to 1973. In 1980 she moved with her family to Spain. "There will always be room for young women who are also caught by motor sport," she wrote in 1983. They are indeed occasional, but not nearly as many as you might think. In that regard, Liane Engeman is still an exception.
Other Sport Times
Liane Engeman: the blond fright of motor sport
Sunday 4 June, 22.10 hour, NPO 1
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