Skip to content

Pioneer, Trailblazer, Racing Driver: Ewy Rosqvist Passes Away Aged 94

Mercedes-Benz works racing driver Baroness Ewy von Korff-Rosqvist has passed away, aged 94.

Ewy Rosqvist was a star behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz rally cars in the 1960s and remained closely connected to the three-pointed star until her death on 4, July 2024.

“Mercedes-Benz will always remember this extraordinary woman and her achievements and honour her memory,” said Marcus Breitschwerdt, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Heritage GmbH.

“She has done a lot for motorsport – and at the same time she shaped the image of women in motorsport, especially as an overall winner against the strongest of her time.”

Born Ewy Jensson on 3 August, 1929 Stora Herrestad (Ystad, southern Sweden), she was one of five children and lived on the farm her parents ran.

After attending high school and agricultural college, she studied veterinary medicine in Stockholm.

Responsible for a district with farms that were spread far and wide, her father bought her a Mercedes-Benz 170 S (W136), with which she travelled 150-200km a day, up and down narrow dirt tracks. Her love for driving quickly and safely on difficult terrain uncovered.

In her autobiography “Driving through hell”, she writes: “After two years, I was driving so well that I often finished for the day one and a half to two hours before my female colleagues despite all my stops at the farms.”

She married Yngve Rosqvist in 1954, with whom she participated in the Midnight Sun Rally in the same year, and also had her chance behind the wheel: “I was allowed to drive on some of the intermediate stages and that was so much fun that I decided to take part in a rally myself, or as a co-driver, as soon as possible”, she later recalled.

In 1956, she took part in a rally by herself for the first time.

She won the Women’s Cup four times at the 1,000 Lakes Rally in Finland and also topped the female rankings at numerous other rallies across Europe.

In 1959, she won the European Women’s Cup in a Volvo ahead of Pat Moss, the sister of Stirling. She was presented the trophy at the Monte Carlo Rally ceremony by Princess Grace of Monaco in 1960 – a trophy she won again the following year.

She also received the Women’s Cup in international rallying (Coupe des Dames) in 1959 and 1961. In 1960, she became a works driver for Volvo.

Life As a Mercedes Works Driver

Mercedes-Benz brought the successful rally driver into the works team together with her co-driver Ursula Wirth in 1962.

In a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W111), the women’s team won the Women’s Cup at the four-day Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun in ’62, followed by a sixth-place finish place at the 22nd Raid Polski and 12th place at the Liège-Sofia-Liège Rally in the same year.

On 4 November 1962, together with co-driver Wirth, Ewy phenomenally won the VI Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix. The women’s team won in all six stages of the 4,626km race and set a new record – increasing the average speed of the winning team of the previous year from 121.234 km/h to 126.872 km/h.

In the following years, Ewy was successful again and again at renowned rallies and long-distance races, including the 1963 win of the Women’s Cup at the Monte Carlo Rally, the win in the up to 2,500cc displacement class at a six-hour race at the Nürburgring, as well as third place at the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix.

In 1964, together with Eva Maria Falk, she was able to win in the up to 2,500cc displacement class at the Monte Carlo Rally, finish fifth at the International Acropolis Rally and secure third place at the Spa–Sofia–Liège Rally.

Ewy ended her racing career at the 1964 Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix, where she finished third. In June of the same year, she married the then Director of Motorsport Activities at Mercedes-Benz, Baron Alexander von Korff, in the chapel of the old castle in Stuttgart.

She would later move back to Sweden after the death of her husband in 1977 but remained – and will always remain – closely associated with the brand and as an ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic.