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The End Of an Era: Iron Dames Make History

Written By Jeremy Pineda, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credits - FIA WEC

The 8 Hours of Bahrain would be the final race of the 2023 World Endurance Championship, however, it was the last ever for the ever-popular GTE Am class of sportscars on the field. The sports cars will be replaced by the newer LMGT3 class, as the attention turns towards bringing more manufacturers onboard this fantastic racing series.

The weekend also marked a special milestone for the persistent Iron Dames team, who marked the end of the GTE Am class on a high, becoming the first-ever all-woman team to win a race in the World Endurance Championship. The trio of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey, and Michelle Gatting were the history makers on the day, piloting the pink #85 Porsche to victory under the lights at Bahrain.

Bovy secured pole position for the 2023 8 hours of Bahrain in the FIA WEC season finale. Having set the fastest lap in qualifying (A 1:58.692) at the wheel of the pink #85 Porsche 911 RSR-19, the Belgian driver took pole, and marked her third pole position of the season, in the GTE Am category.

The Iron Dames trio of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting set themselves up for history in the championship, the trio having held second in the championship, and should they retain this position until after the race, it would be a historic and groundbreaking moment for the all-female crew in WEC history.

Deborah Maryor, Founder of the Iron Dames Project, was incredibly thrilled with Saturday’s showing:

We are incredibly thrilled with Sarah’s pole position in Bahrain. Achieving a third pole position during the season is a testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of the whole Iron Dames team.”

Adding to that, she also stated “Their pursuit of second position in the FIA World Endurance Championship in class is not only significant for the Iron Dames project but also for the sport. The beauty of motorsport is that it allows women and men to compete on equal terms.”

Sarah Bovy went on to state “I want to dedicate this one to Deborah Mayer, for all the confidence and power she gives us. She is the reason why I’m here. I’m super happy I can take that last GTE pole position, which was extremely difficult.”

Credit - Porsche Motorsport

Under 24 hours later, Michelle Gatting rounded the final corner, to take the chequered flag in the last LMGTE Am race, at the finale of the FIA WEC season in the 8 Hours of Bahrain. After securing pole position during qualifying yesterday (11/3/23) The #85 Iron Dames became the first all-female trio/crew to make history around the track, as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship Season, marking their maiden victory in the last outing for the GTE cars.

With this victory, the Iron Dames Team will go down in history books as the final LMGTE AM winners. Deborah Mayer, Iron Dames Project Founder said in a statement “ What an incredible day for the Iron Dames! It’s hard to put into words so much joy and emotion.”

This first victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship is a very special moment to me because it gives full vindication to the project itself and to the passion, the dedication, the hard work of all the people within the team, both trackside and behind the scenes. I’d like to pay tribute to each and every one of them.

Mayer also went on to make an inspiring statement, “They are proving that dreams have no barriers if you give yourself the means to make them come true. May this day inspire other women around the world to never give up on what they believe in”.

Image Credit - Motorsport Images

Sarah Bovy, who started on pole said “I think the whole crew did a good job and I’m so proud of everybody. We’ve been working really hard for this, and it’s finally here – our first win in FIA WEC. The wait was long, but we are all super happy to be here tonight.” Michelle Gatting who took the chequered flag stated “To be honest, I just enjoyed the last ride in this car.”

Finally getting this win is something we’ve wanted to achieve for a long time, and it’s quite emotional for all of us. This is exactly what we want to achieve; we want to prove that we can compete on exactly the same terms as everybody else and we are here to win races." Rahel Fray said in a statement “I think today, the whole GTE field put on a great display, and this is what we all want to see, so thanks very much to all our competitors to keep us busy and to keep the pressure high.

The pole-sitter from the previous day went on to state, “To see that we can win races with the Iron Dames in the highest level in GT racing makes me very proud. I also hope this experience is seen by the younger generation. We have younger Iron Dames coming up, this is a project I am so heavily involved in, and this makes me very proud.” Nevertheless, I’m still a racer, I love to race, and I love to continue racing and do more to keep fighting for more wins.

This is very exciting in the world of motorsport, as not only did Iron Dames get their first win, but by becoming the first all-female team to come out victorious, they also set a new standard in the world of motorsport. It was also the best way to sign off the final race of a whole class of race cars on a high.


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