Pioneering Prudence

Prudence Marie Blake Fawcett grew up loving cars, which her uncle Percy, a Bugatti enthusiast, encouraged her to do.

Following her education, she decided to spend time in Genoa, where she was introduced to Alfa Romeo.

The Alfa in question was a 1750, which she raced and immediately fell in love with, so much so that she and her friends Lance and Charlotte Prideaux-Brune became official UK importers.

In 1937, she was invited to visit the 24 Hours of Le Mans, travelling on the Duke of Kent’s private plane; her life would never be the same again.

During the 1930s, women in motor racing faced significant challenges due to male domination and societal attitudes.

Enthused by the determination and success of other women drivers of the time, including Kay Petre, the glamorous Hellé Nice, Gwenda Stewart, Odette Siko, Elsie Wisdom, and Joan Richmond.

In 1938, Prudence and her co-driver Geoffrey White entered their first 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Morgan 4/4 and finished 13th overall.

In 1939, as a female team owner with Dick Anthony and Geoffrey White driving a Morgan and a steely determination, she submitted her entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. World War II intervened, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans was cancelled.

Throughout her career, she was a groundbreaker and, importantly, a role model for women whose abilities had been questioned by their male counterparts.

To date, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there have been 66 female drivers representing 15 countries who have started the race a total of 155 times.

‘Shifting gears and shattering stereotypes at Le Mans’