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Eliška Junková 120th Birthday谷歌标志涂鸦
16 November 2020

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 120th birthday of Czech racecar driver Eliška Junková, a pioneer in the history of motor racing. Known as the “Queen of the Steering Wheel,” Junková competed during the 1920s against Europe’s top drivers, and in 1927 became the first woman ever to win a Grand Prix race.

Alžběta “Eliška” Junková was born on this day in 1900 in the Austro-Hungarian town Olomouc, today part of the Czech Republic. She took an interest in racing cars early on in high school, alongside her then-boyfriend and eventual husband Vincenc "Čeněk" Junek.” With her passion ignited, she took driving lessons in Prague and became one of the first women in the newly-formed Czechoslovakia to receive a driver's license. When her husband kicked off his career as a car racer, Junková sat beside him as his racing mechanic and co-pilot. However, it wasn’t long before she took the wheel herself.

Eliška Junková rose to fame racing her trademark Bugatti across Europe’s most difficult courses. She even developed a close personal friendship with the car’s maker, Ettore Bugatti. Junková was not only technically adept, she also earned a reputation as one of the first drivers to do walk-through’s of courses like Italy’s famous Targa Florio prior to races in order to commit landmarks and turns to memory.

Junková retired from racing in 1928, but her legacy was immortalized by Czech composer, Jaroslav Ježek's, classic jazz composition "Bugatti Step,” as well as by Junková’s personal autobiography, “My Memory is Bugatti.”

Happy birthday to a trailblazer who paved the way for women drivers across the world.
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