Flörsch, Visser and Calderón Make History at Le Mans 2020
The trio made a strong debut at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours Endurance Race.
Sophia Flörsch, Beitske Visser and Tatiana Calderón made history this weekend by becoming the first all female team to debut in the LMP2 Category at Le Mans. After 24 hours of solid endurance racing, the team managed to finish 9th in their category and 13th overall out of the 59 competitors that started the race on Saturday afternoon.
Women have been racing in Le Mans since 1930 but this is the first time that an all female team has been able to have enough pace to keep up with the top of the field. This has been due to Richard Mille backing the team as part of the FIA’s pioneering Women in Motorsport Commission. This team-up gave the women an incredibly powerful car for the race - the 600HP Oreca 07 Signatech Alpine LMP2.
The team went through some tough times earlier in the year when veteran racing driver - and initially, lead driver of the team - Katherine Legge suffered a huge crash at the team's first test in Paul Ricard, breaking her leg and foot. Legge was to take up a place in the team from the pitwall but needed replacing.
This is when Beitske (second place finisher in the 2019 W-Series Championship) came onboard the team. Not long after, Tatiana Calderón (Alfa Romeo F1 test driver and Super Formula Racer) joined to round out the team. Flörsch (the first female Formula 3 driver fresh out of her first season in the category) was already part of the team beforehand. Being one of two teams that Alpine were entering into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they were on the backfoot a little but this didn't dissuade them in any way.
When the event finally arrived, the team were able to avoid any shunts or technical mishaps that could have easily put them out of the race and were able to bring the car home in thirteenth place overall - not bad at all.
Hopefully, this will now help put to bed some of the ludicrous theories still flying about that women aren't good enough to compete in motor racing. With excellent drives from Flörsch, Vesser and Calderón, hopefully more teams and racing series will take note of this and give them - and other eager female racers - a chance to advance within the world of motorsport. I know I was quite over the moon when I saw Car #50 overtaking to gain 13th place in the closing stages of the race. Having started down in 20th place, it was awesome to see them advance so far up the field. They were all rookies in the world famous race this year and I'm sure this won't be the last time that all three compete in it - hopefully at least one of them will get to win it one day, maybe they'll all win it together. Which would also be quite awesome.
What do you think of their performance in Le Mans this year? Let me know in the comments below.