Talent, beauty, brains and competitiveness are just a few of the adjectives that can be used to describe race car driver Milka Duno - one of the most successful female race car drivers in the world today. Milka has competed in more types of race cars in more different racing series than any other current female driver – and has eight major motorsport wins to her credit.
When Milka won the Rolex Series Miami Grand Prix she became the first woman in history to win a major international race in the USA.
Milka also earned the highest finish ever by a female driver, 2nd place, in the now 52-year history of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona.
In 2007, Duno was also the first Hispanic female driver, in the now 103-year history of the race, to qualify for and compete in the world famous Indianapolis 500. Duno competed in the Indianapolis 500 for three consecutive seasons and in the IndyCar Series for four consecutive seasons – running partial schedules in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and a full schedule in 2010.
Milka is now making another historical transition – from IndyCar to stock car racing – and in 2013 competed in her first full stock car racing season in the ARCA Racing Series. She finished the season 7th in the Driver Point Standings and became the 2nd highest finishing female driver in ARCA's 62-year history.
During the 21-race season Milka earned the ARCA Series pole at Talladega Superspeedway and generated two top-10 and thirteen top-15 finishes. In the 2013 ARCA Series season open at Daytona Milka qualified 2nd and took the lead on the first lap.
Milka is the first Hispanic woman to compete in stock car racing on a national level in the United States.
In 2014 Milka became the first Hispanic female driver to compete in a NASCAR national series in the USA in their 67-year history. She also became the first Hispanic female driver in history to compete in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series in the USA. When she led race laps at Talladega Superspeedway she became the first Hispanic female driver to lead race laps in a NASCAR national series in the USA in their 67-year history.
These are just a few of her many historic and record-breaking achievements on the race track.
In addition to being the most successful female sportscar racer in history, Milka is also a qualified Naval Engineer with four master's degrees - in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Aquaculture and Maritime Business – earning the last three degrees simultaneously.
Milka's racing career to date has generated remarkable and historical results –some of which include:
• First Hispanic female driver to compete in a NASCAR national series in the USA in their 67-year history.
• First Hispanic female driver in history to compete in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series in the USA.
• First Hispanic female driver to lead race laps in a NASCAR national series in the USA in their 67-year history.
• First Hispanic woman to compete in the ARCA Racing Series in its 62-year history.
• Earned the highest finish for a Venezuelan driver in the ARCA Racing Series in its 62-year history.
• 2nd highest finishing woman in the ARCA Racing Series driver point standings in its 62-year history.
• Earned pole position in the 2013 ARCA Racing Series race at Talladega Superspeedway becoming only the 4th woman in history to win an ARCA Racing Series pole and the first Venezuelan to earn an ARCA Racing Series pole in the 62 year history of the ARCA Racing Series and only the 2nd woman to earn a ARCA Racing Series pole at Talladega Superspeedway in 25 years.
• First woman in history to win a major international race in the United States.
• Eight professional career race wins at top levels. Numerous wins at minor levels.
• During her time in the ARCA, IndyCar, Rolex and American Le Mans Series has earned 8 wins, 13 podium appearances, 16 top-5 finishes and 26 top-10 finishes.
• First Hispanic woman, in the 103-year history of the race, to compete in the Indy 500.
• First Hispanic woman to compete in the IndyCar Series.
• First Hispanic woman to lead an IndyCar Series race.
• Historic 2nd place finish and highest finish ever by a female driver in the 24 Hours of Daytona in its now 52-year history.
• Three wins in the Rolex Grand American Series.
• Five wins in the American Le Mans Series.
• First woman to win at Petit Le Mans – has won twice.
• In only 2nd year of racing named "Venezuelan Auto Racing Driver of the Year"
• In only 2nd year of racing won first racing championship – Panoz GT Series.
• Crowned Vice-Champion Driver in American Le Mans LMP 675 Championship.
• First woman to reach the podium in GTS Class of American Le Mans Series.
• First woman to drive LMP 900 – fastest car in American Le Mans Series.
• First woman to drive Daytona Prototype – fastest car in Rolex Series.
• Twice competing at legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, France.
• Invited by Porsche AG to be VIP Porsche Supercup Driver at F1 GP of Spain.
• First woman to drive the fastest car in Europe's World Series by Nissan.
• First woman to score points in Europe's World Series Light by Nissan.
• First woman to win a Ferrari Challenge race in the USA.
Milka’s passion and determination to succeed on the track is equaled by her passion and desire to “give back” off the track. It is Milka’s way. It is who she is.
“I’ve been given many wonderful opportunities and I feel that it is a responsibility to make the most out of each and every one of them. I feel an obligation and a desire to give back – to let others know that they too can achieve all of their dreams and to help in any way I can to motivate and inspire them – to take advantage of every opportunity and to make their dreams come true!”
In 2004, Milka created the “Milka Way” Program - whose mission it is to inspire children and students to “Aim for the Stars” and achieve academic excellence. Milka Way visits inspire and motivate students to focus on their education by helping them understand that a strong academic background will benefit them for their entire life – in all aspects of their life – and in any career they choose.
Milka has taken this message to children, students, parents and teachers at all school levels around the world – including her home country of Venezuela, Malaysia, Canada, Japan, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and all across the United States.
Go, Milka, Go! - a bilingual book about Milka’s life and racing career, was awarded the Best Young Adult Sports/Recreation Book of 2009 at the 11th Annual International Latino Book Awards. The prestigious awards honor literary excellence within the Latino community in a variety of categories.
In 2007 Milka was chosen to play “Kellie Gearbox” in the 2008 Warner Bros. live-action movie “Speed Racer” - which is based on the classic anime series of the 1960’s. Milka traveled to Berlin, Germany to film her part in August of 2007. “Speed Racer” follows the adventures of the young race car driver Speed in his quest for glory in his thundering Mach 5.
Milka is featured in artist María María Acha-Kutscher’s new 2014 series Hecha en Latinoamérica (Made in Latin America) as part of the Women Working for Woman project. The series consists of digital portraits of Latin American women who have managed to create their own space in professional fields traditionally dominated by men. The portraits appear in the advertising spaces of the Public Transport System of the City of Mexico-Metro and in the Network Passenger Transport in DF (Mexico City) from November 1 to December 31, 2014 in collaboration with the Government of the Federal District of Mexico, Women's Institute of Mexico City and Antimuseo.
CNN International, who previously featured Duno in their Leading Women series, invited her to be part of their celebration of International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2014 and Ada Lovelace Day on October 14, 2014.
Milka is arguably one of the leading female athletes of her generation due to her history-making achievements as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated sport and for her many “firsts” as an Hispanic female in motorsports. She has been profiled in documentaries that have aired on A&E’s Biography Channel, CNN, FOX en Espanol and the Discovery Channel, and has appeared on scores of magazine covers and in hundreds of magazine articles, and in thousands of newspapers and television programs all over the world.