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To many, an all-female team tackling Le Mans may seem like a novel idea, but in fact the concept goes back a long way.
To the s in fact, when Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse became the first women to enter the race in a Bugatti T In total, 25 all-female teams have entered the French classic, and two of them have secured class wins. These triumphs came during a time when women were rarely seen as serious competition in the male-dominated field.
Ahead of the edition of the famous race, that aged aspect of the sport is continuing to be expunged from society as well as on the track. Indeed, until recently there was meant to be another all-female line-up. The idea of fielding an all-female team came via the FIA Endurance Commission president Richard Mille himself, and it was clear that he wanted atech team boss Philippe Sinault to oversee the project.
The main reason of this has to prioritise the sporting side, with a little focus on the marketing, so this is why I said yes immediately.
The deal done, Sinault then set about getting the right drivers. But as bad luck would have it, Legge will not be participating at Le Mans this time after breaking her leg in a heavy testing accident at Paul Ricard on the eve of the European Le Mans Series season opener. Nevertheless, the impact and influence of having someone like Legge in an all-female team cannot be underestimated. Vastly experienced in a mix of touring cars, single-seaters, Formula E and latterly sportscars courtesy of her time in the GTD category of the IMSA Sportscar Championship, Legge is also no stranger to all-female programmes.
For Tatiana Calderon, who also partnered Legge and Christina Nielsen in an all-female Lamborghini line-up at the Daytona 24 Hours this year, Le Mans is the perfect opportunity to put women in the spotlight and to promote future change. The third cog in the Richard Mille entry, Sophia Floersch has been an ardent opponent of the female-only W Series in the past but is revelling in this all-female line-up amid a predominantly male-dominated field.
Role models, which were few and far between when she was growing up. While the pillar of the team Legge will not be present on track, Sinault believes there is a silver lining for his group ready to tackle Le Mans this weekend.
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The other all-female driver line-up competing at Le Mans this year has something that Richard Mille does not. That is continuity from — as the team was run by its parent operation Iron Lynx in collaboration with Kessel Racing. She also has two seasons of the DTM under her belt. It might have taken 10 years, but we are now at that point.
Richard mille: “it has to be a real project and not just a marketing tool”
For someone like Frey, who has spent the majority of her career competing against men and succeeding, the rise of women in high-level GT racing is proof of fresh momentum for change. So that means the preparation of the car, the refuelling, the timekeeping, the management, everything.
We have fast drivers, experienced engineers with the know-how and willingness to improve the team. That is fantastic to see.
All-female teams may be somewhat under the radar compared to the burgeoning W Series, but their influence in executing change in the motorsport world should not be underestimated. Watch the race in full.
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