Iron Dames has become the first all-female racing team to take a class podium position in a World Endurance Championship (WEC) event after a second-place finish at the Six Hours of Monza yesterday (July 10).
The team of three, comprising Swiss driver Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting from Denmark and Sarah Bovy of Belgium, started from pole position in the LMGTE Am category with their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, which was also an all-female team first.
“I’m out of words,” said Bovy to her followers and fans on Instagram, having taken the Ferrari to pole. “Thanks a lot for all your messages and support — today I was not alone in the car, I was carried by my team, my teammates and all of you.”
Bovy led the GTE Am class from the start before handing the car over to Gatting who continued the pace. Despite the Iron Dames having led their class for much of the race, however, following a late pitstop under a Full Course Yellow to clear track debris, the Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Harry Tincknell, Sebastian Priaulx and Christian Ried just pipped the Iron Dames car, then being driven by Rahel Frey, to the class win.
Iron Dames, a sister team to Iron Lynx, which also competes in the GTE Am class, was founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and GT3 racer Deborah Mayer with the aim of supporting and providing inspiration to women in motorsport.
Mayer was earlier this year appointed head of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, succeeding eighties rally legend Michele Mouton in the post.
The Iron Dames team first competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2020 but only joined the World Endurance Championship series in 2021. The Bovy-Gatting-Frey line-up scored a seventh-in-class position at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As well as the WEC, Iron Dames has competed in the European Le Mans series, Michelin Le Mans Cup and Ferrari Challenge.
Following their podium finish at Monza, the team now lies sixth in the WEC GTE Am standings.
Overall victory in the 2022 Six Hours of Monza went to the Alpine Elf team of Frenchmen Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Brazilian Andre Negrao competing in the Hypercar class, extending all three drivers’ lead in the Driver’s Championship.
Alpine’s victory was hard-won with the battle for first place seeing a collision with the Toyota GR010 hybrid hypercar then being driven by Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi. The Toyota came off worst, being damaged, punctured and forced to limp back to the pits, while the Alpine was relatively unscathed and able to continue on to victory.
The damaged Toyota would eventually finish third, behind its Toyota Gazoo teammate driven by the trio of Swiss driver Sébastian Buemi, Kiwi Brendon Harley and Japan’s Ryo Hirakawa. Toyota Racing is, at present, 22 points ahead of Alpine Elf in the WEC championship standings.
Despite starting from pole and some extremely competitive laps by Romain Dumas, the American Glickenhaus team failed to finish following penalties, an inopportune safety car appearance and, eventually, an expired turbocharger.
In the GTE Pro class, the Corvette Racing team (driving, as the name suggests, a Chevrolet Corvette) of Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy denied Ferrari a home victory, with the aforementioned Dempsey-Proton Porsche taking the GTE Am win ahead of the Iron Dames.
The next and penultimate race in this year’s WEC calendar, the Six Hours of Fuji, takes place at the Fuji Speedway in Japan on September 11 before the final race, the 8 Hours of Bahrain at Sakhir on November 12.
- If you were interested in Iron Dames becoming the first all-female team to take a podium in the WEC, you might also like to see our list of 10 inspirational female racing and rally drivers
- Also take a look at our interview with Ellie Norman, F1’s first female executive
- And here’s The Sunday Times’s Me and My Motor from 2017 with Claire Williams, then-boss of the Williams Formula One team
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