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Who are Iron Dames?: The all-women team making their mark in motorsport history

Written by Alis Manriquez, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri 

“We are much more than women in sport”, the Iron Dames team presents itself to the world and seeks to position their diversity of great female talents at the top of the motorsport categories.

Image Credit - Iron Dames

In 2018, a distinguished French woman Deborah Mayer, former President of the Women in Motor Sports Commission, co-founder Iron Lynx Motorsport Lab and previously a competitor in GT3, founded the Iron Dames project that aims to promote and support women within various categories. 

Since then, this project has had historic achievements as an all-female team in high-level categories. 

Pole position in the 6 Hours of Spa, inclusion of the current F1 Academy Champion Marta García on their FRECA debut, and becoming the first all-female team to win a race in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2023 are just of the outstanding achievements of this innovative project, growing ever stronger into their sixth year of racing. 

Iron Dames at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

One can agree on the 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans being one of the most awaited events this year. It was Ferrari once again at the centre of attention, for their incredible race that led them directly to victory. 

However, very little has been said about the Lamborghini Huracán LMGT3 Evo 2, driven by the only three women among the 186 drivers taking part in the event. 

Image Credit - Iron Dames

The core values followed by the Iron Dames team are expressed right from their car. With the characteristic magenta colour used by the team, and the body of the car surrounded by abundant drawings made by the children of a school in Le Mans. The decoration alludes to the recent charity project called 'Every Dream Matters'.

The qualifying session before the race was somewhat tough, Michelle Gatting at the wheel in search of hyperpole, however, after an arduous drive, she placed ninth, they would start from there. 

The team had to face some difficulties, including losing their star driver Doriane Pin, who suffered a broken rib that would cost her several important races such as Le Mans. However the talented Rahel Frey filled in, taking her place on the team for Le Mans.

It was a rainy day, and the Lamborghini Huracán with the number 85 was beginning to move forward. During Rahel Frey's first hours in charge, she took the car to the top three places on the grid.

The problem came when, after the first driver change, Sarah Bovy was hit by the #4 Penske Porsche, which induced a spin, costing them approximately a minute. But hopes did not end, as night fell it was Michelle's turn at the wheel who endured the Safety Car for a long time due to the rain that was abundant on the track before handing the car to Rahel.

During the next day, a spell of excellent racing by Gatting and Frey raised hopes of a podium, the pink Lamborghini running third in the later stages. Despite efforts in the rain, Iron Dames took fifth place in LMGT3 after 24 hours.

This concludes the impeccable race of Iron Dames in Le Mans, which, despite having been its sixth consecutive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was the first time competing in the LMGT3 category, achieving outstanding moments, and their second consecutive top five. 

Remarkable performance so far in the 2024 season

Le Mans isn't the only extraordinary participation of Iron Dames this year. The team's racers have achieved more feats this year: Célia Martin and Karen Gaillard took pole position, finishing second in only their second race of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. 

In F1 Academy, the outstanding Doriane Pin, a junior driver for Iron Dames and Mercedes-AMG, achieved two podiums in the aforementioned championship. 

Sarah and Julie Amblard finished in the top 10 of the French Gravel Rally Championship. Not to forget the team’s maiden pole position in the WEC, during the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

Image Credit - Iron Dames

And finally, the Iron Dames team principal Deborah Mayer was honoured for defending the values ​​of resistance through the team, before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a significant achievement in becoming the first woman to receive the trophy Spirit of Le Mans.

This is only further evidence of the important mark that Iron Dames, women driven by dreams, are leaving in the motorsports industry, to the next generation of female racers. 

The team are expanding the opportunities for racers and promoting equity within all types of sports, demonstrating that talent is totally unrelated to gender, not only through speeches, but also through their active presence within high categories of motor sport,  as they continue to break barriers, cross goals, climb onto podiums, lift trophies and compete on equal terms with male drivers in motorsport.

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Jun 20

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