Photo Credit: IronDames.Racing
Black and pink Ferrari 488 GTE. Cockpits made of carbon fiber and rebar steel. Four aspiring — athletic women. The Iron Dames is one of just three all-female teams in the world that competes head-to-head with men.
The International Federation of the Automobile (FIA), the global governing body for motor racing, has praised them as a “sign of progress” in this male-dominated sport.
“We fight, we want to win, we want to go for the podiums. ... And when you do that, and you get [to] those podiums, people they don't question anymore why you're there,” Michelle Gatting, Iron Dame pilot.
What is GT Endurance Racing?
GT (Grand Touring) endurance racing is like marathon running — replaced by sports cars. Teams speed around winding circuits for hours at a time, battling for up to 2,000 miles, dependent on the race.
Endurance racing is a form of motorsport racing to test the durability of equipment and endurance of teams. Races can run for 2,000 miles, 12 hours, or even 24 hours.
The 89th edition of the biggest race in endurance racing, 24 Hours of Le Mans, will take place on August 21-22.
The Iron Dames – Determined, Strong-Willed Women
In 2019, the Iron Dames became the first ever, all-female team to begin and finish the legendary 24-hour of Le Mans. Team members take turns driving one car for a full day and a full night. They pause only for seconds at a time to switch tires or pilots.
Now in 2021, the Iron Dames are going for the ultimate prize of reaching the podium — at least top three — which would be the ultimate game changer.
“That would be fantastic, a dream come true,” stated Deborah Mayer, Iron Dames’ founder and leader. She continued, “It’s not a question of strength, it’s skills, it's hard work, you have to improve and work on your technique. You have to have the right strategy, and, above all, you have to work as a team."
Who is this dynamic Iron Dame team? Deborah Mayer, Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey make up the original Iron Dames team. This year, British pilot Katherine Legge also joined the all-female line-up.
This year, the Iron Dames have 30 races to continue making their mark and pushing for change. When women achieve a spot on the podium, sponsors take notice — and grand opportunities open for more ferocious and fast girls in the sport.