However, Scots driver Susie Wolff yesterday plunged into the fast lane of Formula One as a "development driver" for the Williams racing team.
The Oban-born racer who has progressed through the ranks of motorsport, starting off in karting 16 years ago, will test for the famous name whose past drivers have included greats such as Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost.
It leaves Wolff in line to become the first woman in 20 years to get behind the wheel in a Grand Prix.
Even the sport's ringmaster, Bernie Ecclestone, who once claimed "women should be all dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances", hailed her arrival by saying: "If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team."
He added: "On top of that she is very intelligent. I am really looking forward to having her in F1."
The 29-year-old who will continue to compete in this year's highly competitive German touring car championship where she has driven for the past six years with competitors such as former F1 stars David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.
Williams' decision was approved by their board, of which Wolff's husband Toto is a member, although he recused himself from the process.
Wolff's father, John Stoddart, who owns a motorcycle dealership in Oban and competitively raced bikes, told The Herald: "It's a great news because she has worked so hard over the years to get to this position and it is fantastic she has achieved her dream. There was a woman racing in F1 a number of years ago but there hasn't been one for some time."
The last woman to drive at a Grand Prix weekend was Italy's Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for three races for Brabham in 1992.
Five women have entered F1 races in the past, the most prolific being Italian Lella Lombardi, who started 12 Grands Prix in the 1970s and scoring half-a-point.
Asked if her daughter could break the mould, Mr Stoddart said she had "certainly put in the work for it".
"She's already competing in the German touring car championship which I would say is one level below F1 and she shows well in that series."
Wolff revealed she hoped to be given her big break in an interview for The Herald Magazine in February. She said then she was "not dreaming of a F1 career, to be F1 champion". She said: "I just want to have a test. There have been many opportunities to do it before as a marketing and publicity stunt and I've always turned it down. I've got where I am by being a racer, not by being a female."
Wolff, who lives with her husband in the Swiss town of Ermatingen on the banks of Lake Constance and speaks fluent German, said: "F1 is the ultimate challenge for any racing driver and it offers me the chance both to apply and to improve the skills I have. I hope also to demonstrate women can play a role at the highest levels of motorsport."
She has become the second woman in recent weeks to join a F1 team as a development driver. Marussia recently appointed 32-year-old Spaniard Maria de Villota as a test driver.
Williams team principal Frank Williams said: "Susie is a talented, successful and highly professional racing driver who competes in one of the world's most fiercely-contested series."
Wolff still has some way to match the exploits of the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, Danica Patrick.
The Wisconsin driver is the only woman to win in the IndyCar Series as well as finishing third in the classic Indianapolis 500, the highest finish by a woman there.