Iron Dames show their metal at Le Mans

by Petrol Mum

After showing early promise during practice and qualifying at the Le Mans 2021 event both all-female driver lineups suffered issues in the grueling 24 hour endurance race. The Iron Dames team focused on its endurance pace during testing so were unworried about lining up in 17th place in the #85 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo for the start, which was held under an extended safety car period due to heavy rain minutes before the flag fell.

The Iron Dames car of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Le Mans debutant Sarah Bovy made up positions fast, running as high as third in the first hour, but their race was one of misfortune and determined recovery, as the car suffered two punctures and a damper issue, dropping to sixteenth before battling back into ninth place after 24 hours in the LMGTE Am class.

The Iron Dames team are part of Iron Lynx, a motorsport lab that was created in 2017 in Cesena (Italy) from the meeting of minds namely Sergio Pianezzola, Andrea Piccini, Claudio Schiavoni and Deborah Mayer. They came to reality built on a desire to become a professional racing team filled with an extraordinary passion of its drivers combined with a special bond with Ferrari. This has seen Iron Lynx sign an agreement with Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) and the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission to support the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme.

Regardless their achievements, trophies and placements, the Iron Dames are at the same time women and athletes with solid goals in life. Being an Iron Dame means working hard with enthusiasm, fearlessness and courage always focused on the goal. This is the secret to accomplish an amazing feat!

Meanwhile Tatiana Calderón and her Richard Mille Racing team came away empty-handed in their second outing in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race. Hopes were high for the Colombian and her teammates, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser, aboard the #1 Richard Mille Oreca 07 of bettering the ninth-place finish they scored in the super-competitive LMP2 class on the team’s Le Mans debut last year.

Unfortunately, those ambitions were dashed in the sixth hour of the race when Sophia was caught up in an incident not of her making at the Porsche Curves, also involving the #26 G-Drive Racing and the #74 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier. Thankfully, Sophia was unhurt.

Tatiana had been at the wheel of the #1 machine for the start of the race, starting in 22nd place but making up considerable ground in the wet conditions as numerous other drivers – including some of the top-class Hypercar runners – were caught out on the slippery track.

Tatiana stayed at the wheel for the first two hours and 13 minutes of the race, completing 32 laps and setting what proved to be the car’s fastest lap of the race before pitting to hand over to Visser. In that time, she had moved up to 10th in class, up 12 places. At around the four-and-a-half hour mark, it was Floersch’s turn to drive, but the team was able to go no further after the car was terminally damaged in the crash in the sixth hour.

“Unfortunately our second time here at Le Mans was cut short. There’s nothing Sophia could have done to avoid the crash, it was not her mistake at all. But that’s racing sometimes and it can be cruel. But to take the positives, I had a lot of fun doing the first three stints, and especially the first one in the wet in such tricky conditions but not making any mistakes and gaining positions. I think we showed some really good pace in the dry as well, which I think is the result of all the amazing work the team has done in the last two weeks and all the preparation beforehand. It’s not the result we wanted, I think we could have been pretty high up without the incident, but I really cannot wait to come back to this place next year because it’s just amazing and it keeps surprising me,” said Tatiana.

The 2021 WEC season will conclude after a two-month break with two races held back-to-back in Bahrain on October 30 and November 6.

Iron Dames photographs Copyright © 2021, IRONLYNX, All rights reserved and Richard Mille Racing photographs by DPPI.

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