Women driven by dreams: these are the Iron Dames, behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 number #83, coloured hot pink like the racing suits that set them apart in the paddock in their mission to “Race to inspire”.
Created in 2018 by Deborah Mayer – entrepreneur, race driver, and president of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission (WIM) – Iron Dames is a project aimed at supporting women in motorsport at all levels, from drivers through to mechanics, engineers and managers. The formidable team is comprised of four female drivers with a razor sharp determination: “We’ve proven that we can win against everyone,” they say in unison. “We are strong and we are fighters. And slowly but surely, we’re changing the mentality of this sport.”
From the youngest, Doriane Pin (19), to the oldest, Rahel Frey (36), they share one vision: “We wear a pink suit, it’s true. But when we put our helmets on, we’re drivers who want to win. And nothing more.”
Iron Dames is a project run by Iron Lynx, the Italian racing stable chosen by Lamborghini Squadra Corse as the operating team for the IMSA Endurance Cup 2023, which will participate as an official team in the FIA WEC with the Lamborghini LMDh from 2024. The partnership in both GT3 and LMDh competitions in Europe and the United States was announced last November: “Ever since we announced our intention to race in the LMDh category, it was clear to us that Iron Lynx was the right partner,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “Over the years, Iron Lynx has proven to be a fast, strong and successful entity, just like Lamborghini’s motorsport division.”
“The Iron Dames project is made up of motivated women with a strong passion and motivation, pushing the racing world beyond limits and gender barriers,” said Deborah Mayer, Chairwoman of DC Racing Solutions and Project Founder of the Iron Dames. “We race to inspire women to follow their dreams and take the first step into motorsport, because we have proven that anything is truly possible.”
Racing head-to-head with their male colleagues, following the debut in January at Daytona aboard the #83 Huracán GT3 EVO2, in March the Iron Dames will be competing in the IMSA Endurance Cup at Sebring for the second round of the championship after Daytona.
The four team members, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Doriane Pin swap places in the cockpit of the car during the very long hours of endurance races. “We’re like sisters born to different mothers,” they say, emphasizing the close harmony of the team.
Rahel Frey is 36 and was the first woman to win a Formula 3 race, in Germany. A professional driver since 2011, she is considered among the strongest in the field, with 71 podiums, 19 victories, seven pole positions, and 22 records for the fastest lap. She describes herself as “a silent worker”, committed to using her 20 years of experience “to grow the role of women in motorsport.” She is not only a driver but also a project manager for the Iron Dames, overseeing their growth, their physical and mental training and testing program. “In the racing world, I don’t like to think in terms of ‘man-woman’ dualism. We get in the car and we want to be the fastest, just like the others,” Frey contends.
Michelle Gatting was born in Denmark twenty-nine years ago and already counts a wealth of achievements in both karts and single-seaters: so far in her career, 14 race wins, 61 podiums, and 8 pole positions. She deeply loves her homeland, where she returns whenever she can for nature hikes with her dog Lasso. And she’s a “proud and stubborn” (her words) lightning bolt on the track. “Since my beginnings, things have changed. Now I walk in the paddock, greet my male opponents, and feel their respect. We’ve proven that we know how to win.”
Sarah Bovy was born in Belgium thirty-three years ago, loves food to the point of calling herself a “gourmand”, and is inspired on the track by the great race drivers. “When I was 13, I was already on a go-kart and I told my father on the way home, ‘someday I’m going to become a race driver.’” Hers is a visceral, all-encompassing passion for racing. “I love everything about this environment: the smell, the noise, the strategy. And most of all, I love the battle.” As the Touring Car champion in 2013 and the first woman on a World Series podium, she’s in her third season with the Iron Dames. “A downside of being a woman on the track? The fact that certain colleagues, when they’re in the process of overtaking, go hard on us with their maneuvers. I think for some, being beaten by a woman is still seen as a bruise to the ego.”
Doriane Pin shows exciting promise for the future: French, 19 years old, and many times on the podium of the GT3 Michelin Le Mans cup. Out of 30 races in her career she’s achieved six wins, 12 podiums, and four pole positions. “I started when I was nine years old, thanks to my dad. In 2019, I was already a champion in France,” she says. She loves to spend her free time playing the piano and enjoying cycling and tennis. “The important values in my life? Believing in myself, always learning, and enjoying every moment.”
Four women. Four stories. One voice: “Men and women can compete face to face in the same competitions.”