PVGP to Honor Donna Mae Mims
Schenley Park Vintage Races – Saturday, July 23, 2022
July 1, 2022 – The PVGP is hosting a Sprite/Midget (“Spridget”) Race pitting Austin Healey Sprites against their close relatives, MG Midgets. This is part of the Vintage Sports Car Driver’s Association’s Sprite-Midget Racing Series.
The Pittsburgh version of this series is named in honor of Donna Mae Mims, of Pittsburgh. Known as the “Pink Lady” of racing, she was the first woman to win a Sports Car Club of America road racing National Championship, in 1963. Though she was a Chevrolet “fanatic,” a Corvette autocrosser, and a founding member of the Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania, she won the national title in her pink Austin-Healey “Bugeye” Sprite. It was a car that had once belonged to Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines while a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Donna Mae graduated from Dormont High School in 1945, and worked at racer and racecar builder Don Yenko’s Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, home of the legendary Yenko Chevrolet Hi-Performance team in the 1960s and 1970s. Donna Mae won her first SCCA race in a Corvette in 1961 at Cumberland, MD. She became a driving instructor, a member of the Board of the Steel Cities Region, SCCA, and a dedicated PVGP volunteer. Inducted into both the Corvette and the SCCA Halls of Fame, Donna Mae Mims had established herself as a formidable competitor in sports car racing, and an active participant in SCCA activities and leadership.
She was a licensed grid worker, editor of the Region’s award-winning magazine, “The Drift,” and a freelance writer for several car magazines, including Corvette News and Sports Car Graphic.
Easy to spot in her pink driving suit, pink helmet and pink wig, with “Think Pink” emblazoned on the back of her race car, Mims also competed (with Suzy Dietrich and Janet Guthrie) in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Donna Mae also competed with an all-female team in the 1972 running of Brock Yates’ Cannonball cross-country event, memorialized in the 1981 film, “Cannonball Run,” in which her character was played by actress Adrienne Barbeau.
A warm and generous person who touched many lives, Donna passed away in 2009 at the age of 82. She is sorely missed.
Dan DelBianco (412) 559-3500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernie Martin (412) 996-5700 email@example.com
Susan Gera (724) 396-9372 firstname.lastname@example.org
About the PVGP
Begun in 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is entering its 40-year and features two weekends of racing action. The first weekend is the PVGP Historics at Pitt Race. The second weekend is racing on a 2.33-mile road course set on the streets of Schenley Park, a city park adjacent to the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh campuses. Between the race weekends there are car shows, parties, car shows road rallies, and more. PVGP is a volunteer-run event with 1,200 volunteers. The PVGP is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a charity mission and has raised $6 million for the Autism-Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.