The first usage of promotional models in motor races was during the late 1960s when model Rosa Ogawa (小川ローザ,Ogawa Rōza?) was brought in to represent the race winners. It was then that the term race queen was coined. Prior to that, women in motor races were mostly wives and girlfriends of drivers and staff, with the exception of some who were drivers. In 1983, the sun tan lotion company Hawaiian Tropic sponsored the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The company brought its models over from the United States to appear on the racetrack before the race began. These models wore bikinis bearing the company's name. A year later, that practice was imported over to Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours motorcycle race.
The official job of a race queen is to hold an umbrella over the driver while his car is being worked on. They generally wear some sort of revealing costume. In Japan, race queens are often regarded as idols varying only by the motor sport event they appear in. The average age for these girls is late teens to early twenties and demand for them wanes with age. It is not unusual for some of them to have a background in or a sideline career as a gravure idol. Race queens who operate in prestigious events and with a large fanbase can also be found at automobile shows purely to draw crowds where they are nearly as important an attraction as the cars or electronics products that they are promoting. There is a magazine dedicated to them called Gals Paradise.