Two all-female teams have made the cut and will line up to take the green flag at the 2020 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s been 43 years since the last time more than one of such teams contested the endurance event, which makes this year a pretty special deal.
All-female teams have been a recent rarity for Le Mans when compared to certain parts of its history. In the 1930s, for example, 11 different all-female teams competed in the event, with Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse appearing as the first of such teams in 1930. In fact, four all-female teams—the most in the history of the race—lined up to take the start in 1935.
But it’s been a while since the last time more than one all-female team competed. In 1977, Inaltera fielded Lella Lombardi and Christine Beckers, who finished 11th overall, or fourth in class. That same year, Team Esso Aseptogyl hired Christine Dacremont and Marianne Hoepfner, who didn’t finish.
Since then, all-female teams have only contested four other 24 Hours of Le Mans events: once in 1978, 1991, 2010, and 2019.
Car: Oreca 07 - Gibson
Drivers: Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch, Beitske Visser
This crew is composed of some of the most promising names in the junior ranks of motorsport, with Visser a late addition after originally scheduled driver Katherine Legge was injured in a crash. They’re competing in the European Le Mans series this year and are currently sitting sixth in class out of 15 entries.
Calderon is currently competing in both ELMS and the Super Formula open wheel series with her best overall series finish of second in MRF Challenge Formula 2000. Floersch’s career has thus far been composed of open-wheel racing, with her current focus being on Formula 3. Finally, Visser has competed in everything from GT cars to open-wheel machines, finishing second in the inaugural W Series championship.
Class: LM GTE Am
Car: Ferrari 488 GTE EVO
Drivers: Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting
They call themselves Iron Dames but are entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as Iron Lynx—but whatever the case, this EMS crew has competed together before in last year’s event, where they finished 39th overall and ninth in class.
The Gostner family name is one that has adorned the doors of Ferraris for years, with Manuela taking home two third place overall finishes in the Ferrari Challenge series. Frey has competed in DTM, ELMS, and IMSA since 2010. Gatting got her start with a third place overall finish in Formula Ford Denmark in 2011, since moving onto touring car and endurance racing.
If you’re in America, all 24 hours of the race will be aired live on MotorTrend TV starting at 7:30am EST on September 19, 2020.
The full entry list is available here.