Here is the biography of Desiré Wilson, the former motorsports racing driver

Here is the biography of Desiré Wilson, the former motorsports racing driver

Grace Waruguru
updated at December 6, 2023 at 8:09 PM

Desiré Wilson is one of her generation's few female race car drivers whose legacy has outlived her even years after retirement. The South African athlete was active for 58 years, participating in top competitions. Here is her biography and exciting details of her life.

Desiré Wilson
Desiré Wilson is a retired South African professional race car driver. Photo: @ThabisoMosia, @_F1_Retro (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Did Desiré Wilson win an F1 race? Wilson made history when she became the first and only woman to win a Formula 1 Race. The achievement opened several other opportunities for her, building a lasting legacy in the sport. What is her story? Read on and find out the former motorsports racing driver's biography.

Desiré Wilson's profile summary

Full name

Desiré Randall Wilson


70 years old (As of 2023)

Date of birth

November 26th, 1963

Zodiac sign




Place of birth

Brakpan, Transvaal, South Africa






Charlie Randall

Marital status



Alan Wilson

Hair colour


Eye colour



Former race car driver

How old is Desiré Wilson?

Desiré Wilson (aged 70 years old as of November 2023) was born on November 26th, 1963. She is recognized as the most accomplished female race car driver globally and the fastest in her home country.

What is Desiré Wilson's nationality?

Desiré was born in Brakpan, Transvaal, in South Africa. She started her career in her home country but later relocated to the United Kingdom to pursue her professional career.

Desiré Wilson nationality
Desiré Wilson is the only woman to ever win a Formula 1 competition. Photo: @zaraneely (Modified by author)
Source: Twitter

What is known about Desiré Wilson's parents?

Desire grew up in an engine-loving family. Her father was Charlie Randall, a national motorcycle champion. Unfortunately, her mom's details are not public, and it is not clear whether she grew up alongside any siblings.

Is Desiré Wilson married?

Desiré's husband, Alan Wilson, is a road course architect. The couple has lived a quiet life away from the limelight. Similarly, the details of their children, if any, are not public.

Desiré Wilson career achievements
Desiré Wilson started racing GP Karting vehicles at five years old. Photo: @MilioJD, @raceliefhebber (Modified by author)
Source: Twitter

Desiré's career

The F1 female driver started racing at five, participating in Go-karting before proceeding to various car championships. In 1967, at 12, Wilson finished second in the South African nationals driving midget cars. Her full racing debut was in 1972 at the South African Formula Vee competition.

In 1975, she participated in the Formula Ford race in South Africa and claimed first position. The following year, she participated in the South African FF1600, becoming the first woman to win a national racing championship in South Africa.

1980 was a significant year for her because she relocated to the United Kingdom, competed, and won the British Formula 1 Championship at Brands Hatch. Desiré has a grandstand at Brands Hatch named after her, thanks to this accomplishment.

Her win made her one of only five women to compete in a Formula 1 race of any kind. The retired race care driver also took part in Formula 3, Formula 2, and other non-championship races. In 1984, Desiré became the first woman to test a Formula 1 vehicle designed by Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Career achievements

Desiré retired in the late 1980s after a prosperous 58-year career and became a race drive coach and motorsport commentator. Here are some of her achievements:

  • She won the South African Formula Ford Championship in 1975 and 1976.
  • Bagged the Driver to Europe award in 1976.
  • Together with Alain de Cadenet, she won the Monza 1000km and the Silverstone 6 Hours races in 1980.
  • She is the only woman licensed to drive in a CART Indycars event and hold a FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) Super Licence.

What is Desiré Wilson's net worth?

The female race car driver's achievements and accomplishments have earned her a comfortable lifestyle. According to online sources, Desiré's net worth ranges between $1 and $5 million. The details of her assets and investments are not public. However, her earnings are primarily from her professional career. Despite retiring several years ago, she still races occasionally at the Goodwill Festival of Speed.

Wilson's husband, Alan, wrote a book telling his wife's story of her experience on the track, failures, achievements, and struggles. The book Driven by Desiré likely earned her a significant fortune in sales.

Final word

Desiré Wilson was inducted into the South African Hall of Fame in 2019. Her achievements are no mean feat and prove that women are as gifted in motorsports as their male counterparts. Her adventurous career saw her experience the highs and lows of speed car racing, completing her career with over 100 Formula 1 races.

READ MORE: Ranking the richest Formula 1 drivers

Sports Brief listed the wealthiest F1 drivers. These athletes have mastered the art of speed and have built profitable careers in the process. The top earners are retired, while others are still active. Who are some of the individuals on the list?

Michael Schumacher and Eddie Jordan, retired athletes, top the list with a net worth of $600 million. Don Schumacher also makes it to the list, worth $300 million. He started racing in the 60s. Check out the top Formula 1 race car drivers.

Grace Waruguru photo
Grace Waruguru
Grace has over 4 years of experience in article writing and digital media content creation for various local and global brands. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication (Public Relations) from Daystar University, Kenya.