It’s the return of the public to full gauge at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after two very disturbed editions. At the start, there will be 186 pilots, including five women. Sarah Bovy, a 33-year-old Belgian driver, has been racing for fifteen years. It carries a small steering wheel attached to a bracelet on the handle. It’s not just coquetry. Motorsport is his great passion.
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“To make it a job, it must first be a passion. It’s a very tough environment, very demanding. The stakes are always enormousexplains the young woman. It’s something that has to take you by the guts otherwise you can’t survive in it.”
“It took me when I was 15, I tried out a little kart on a fairground one night on a weekend and I knew right away that was what I wanted to do. And that has been my whole life ever since.”Sarah Bovy, Belgian pilot
Sarah Bovy is with two companions the only 100% female crew of the race, that of the Iron Dames stable (Iron Ladies). One of her two teammates is the Swiss Rahel Frey, who is taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fourth time. Since the start of her career, she has endeavored to pass on her passion to the young girls who interview her. “It’s important to have a dream. The young girls have to keep working hard and try to contact us because we are there to create possibilities, to help in karting or in Formula. You have to stay motivated!” she advises.
Before the race, all the women in the 24 Hours paddock got together for lunch. Pilots, mechanics, engineers… They were nearly sixty. “These are things that change little by little. You can’t propel drivers to the highest level overnight, says Sarah Bovy. If ever they are not ready, it is not good for her, not good for the image of women. What we want is to help pilots, engineers to build themselves, to help at the base of the pyramid to have more and more female presence so that we can gradually climb the ladder, as would eventually male pilots!”
Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and the third driver, the Danish Michelle Gatting achieved the sixth qualifying time in their category. Their car, number 85, is completely painted pink. It’s a Ferrari 488 GTE clocked at more than 300 kilometers per hour on the Mulsanne Straight.
At their side this weekend, there will also be the young French Lilou Wadoux21, teammate of the eight-time world rally champion, Sébastien Ogier, and the German Sophia Flörsch who will start alongside two male teammates with Algarve Pro Racing.
Five women entered in the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans – Guillaume Battin makes the introductions.