The award-winning American motoring writer, sports car racer and skiing enthusiast, Denise McCluggage, has died. She was 88.
Her racing career began in the early ‘50s after a chance meeting with Briggs Cunningham and, following a move to New York after becoming the sports correspondent at the New York Herald Tribune, she exchanged her MG TC for a Jaguar XK140 and began to race professionally.
McCluggage quickly found herself at the head of the pack, not just in the ‘Ladies Races’ – where she finished first at Nassau and was awarded the Copa de Damas at the Grand Prix of Venezuela – but also at the very forefront of sports car competition, coming first at the SCCA National Road America 500 in 1960 and winning the GT class at the 12 Hours of Sebring the following year.
Her trophy cabinet also contained a class win at the 1964 Rallye Monte-Carlo, which she achieved at the wheel of a Ford Falcon.
In addition to her talent on the track, she had a natural gift for bringing to life the action through the written word, becoming the founding editor of Competition Press (which became AutoWeek) and the only journalist to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. She went on to win the Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, as well as the Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award for her writing.