the Iron Dames, the voice of women in motorsport

the Iron Dames, the voice of women in motorsport

2023-06-10 04:00:05

Between their overalls and their fluorescent pink Porsche, they will not go unnoticed among the sixty-two cars and crews of the GTE Am event (the Grand Touring Endurance class reserved for amateurs), Saturday June 10, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. An assumed choice explains Rahel Frey, one of the pilots of the Iron Dames: “We wear this color proudly, it’s a way to get our message across. »

His team is not only surprising by his stylistic choices: his collective is entirely composed of women, a rare thing in an environment still predominantly male. Of the 186 pilots at the start of GTE Am, only five are women – including three in the Iron Dames.

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Deborah Mayer was inspired by her professional experience in finance and banking to launch this collective. This “highly competitive, man-made environment” resonates with that of the automobile, a passion she shares with her companion, Claudio Schiavoni. Together, these driving enthusiasts follow courses organized by Ferrari, pass their competition license, then embark on the circuits in 2016. Two years later, Iron Dames is born within the Italian team Iron Lynx.

“I found myself faced with all the elements that allowed me to make this project worksays the Frenchwoman. It was important for me to create a solid base for it to last. » An ambition that convinced Rahel Frey to join him: “I had to be part of it, I wanted to try to help”recalls the 37-year-old driver, one of the first members of the team, which now has twenty-eight.

Offer possibilities in different functions

The Swiss made her first laps at Le Mans more than ten years ago. The most capped of the group does not hesitate to share her experience with the seven other drivers of the collective. “Being an Iron Dame also means being an example for other women, supporting themshe insists. We are stronger together and that is the very essence of the project. » Their latest signing, Natalia Granada, is only 14 years old. “It’s a huge opportunity for me to represent them in karting, they inspire me to become better”develops the Spanish teenager.

The team is not content to put women behind the wheel, it also promotes their place in different functions, from sports director to mechanic or even engineer. “We want to offer opportunities to the youngest as well as the oldest and experienced, at different levels and in different professions”argues Deborah Mayer.

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