Motorsports Legend Michèle Mouton Set to Retire from FIA

michele mouton
Michèle Mouton Retiring as FIA Safety Delegatepicture alliance - Getty Images

Whether it's her four victories in Group B rallying behind the wheel of an Audi Quattro to being the first president of the FIA's Women & Motor Sport Commission, Michèle Mouton's decades-long career epitomizes motorsports excellence. Her name long being synonymous with stage-rally speed — her success inspired Fast & Furious director Justin Lin to bigin work on a biopic of her — Mouton's legacy has only grown since she hung up her racing suit, in no small part a result of her continued presence in the motorsports world.

Now, however, Mouton is stepping back into retirement at 72 years old, leaving her current position as FIA's safety delegate. For several years now, Mouton continued to play a vital role in rallying in this role — riding through and observing the stages before the official start of the race. Not only does this serve as a final check of the course, but marks potential spectator danger points as well.

Following her official racing retirement in 1986, Mouton later occupied several positions within the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile: first as president of the FIA's Women & Motor Sport Commission in 2010; then, in 2011, as the FIA's manager in the World Rally Championship. In her role as president of the FIA's Women & Motor Sport Commission Mouton helped develop programs to advance female participation on and off the track, a cause Mouton has been notably involved with even outside of this appointed position.


Mouton has always been quick to point out that she was not the first woman to race in rally, but she was, in fact, the first to win. Indeed, Mouton very nearly won the 1982 WRC championship, sitting a mere seven points behind Walter Röhrl ahead of the second to last race of the series — only to be foiled by a botched gearbox change. Mouton also excelled at the track, winning her class in the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans. Simply put, Mouton's grand impact on motorsports will continue to have lasting effects long after this retirement.

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