The Iron Dames Show What Women Have Always Known: That We’re Good at Racing

The Women Of Iron Lynx Celebrate A Record-Breaking Victory At The 24 Hours Of Spa

Have you ever wondered what you and your girlfriends could do behind the wheel? Iron Dames is the race team for you.

Formed in 2018, Iron Dames is an all-woman team that competes in endurance racing — or, essentially, races that last multiple hours (often anywhere from four to 24). That means these four women all share the same car as they fight to be the fastest on track — and it means that everyone shares in the same victory.

This team is designed to show just what all women have always known: we can do anything.

Related: What Drives Her: How Charlie Martin Is Racing Toward a More Inclusive Future for Motorsport

A Dream for All Women

Iron Dames is an all-female subset of the overarching Iron Lynx “Motorsport Labs.” In essence, that means this is a team that’s willing to experiment and push the boundaries of racing. It’s founded by Deborah Meyer, who is not only a driver and entrepreneur herself but who also serves as president of the Women in Motorsport Commission; if you see women taking on international racing, Meyer might have had something to do with that.

Women have traditionally had a tough time in motorsport, not due to anything regarding skill but rather because it’s an arena steeped in tradition. Women have always competed in motorsport, but shifting sociopolitical tides have meant that women have been regularly banned or barred from racing at different times in history. As a result, it’s still very rare to see women competing at all — and an all-female team is even rarer.

But women around the world know that we’re just as equipped to get behind the wheel as the men in our lives. That’s just what we’re seeing come to life with the Iron Dames, who are proving that they can compete against — and beat — the men on a race field.

Related: What Drives Her: Sabré Cook Is Here to Make Motorsport Better for Women

Rom Left To Right: Michelle Gatting, Doriane Pin, Rahel Frey, And Sarah Bovy In 2022. They'Re Members Of The Iron Dames Endurance Racing Team.

From left to right: Michelle Gatting, Doriane Pin, Rahel Frey, and Sarah Bovy in 2022. Photo: Iron Lynx

The Women at the Wheel

An endurance racing team consists of multiple drivers who share the same vehicle — anywhere from two to four, depending on the length of the race. This year, the Iron Dames team boasts four drivers:

  • Rahel Frey (Switzerland): At 36 years old, Frey is one of the most experienced active women in motorsport, with 19 race wins and 358 race entries in her career.
  • Michelle Gatting (Denmark): First woman to win Ferrari Challenge Europe Trofeo Pirelli Championship. Fourteen wins at 29 years old.
  • Sarah Bovy (Belgium): 33-year-old touring car racer with four career wins.
  • Doriane Pin (France): Sports car driver and winner of 2022 Ferrari Challenge Europe Trofeo Pirelli Champion; nine-time race winner at 19 years old.

Related: Motorsports and Women: the Inside Scoop from Fiat Chrysler

Iron Lynx Have Proved That Women In Motorsport Are Unstoppable.

Iron Lynx have proved that women in motorsport are unstoppable. Photo: Iron Lynx Website

How the Iron Dames Are Doing

After a few years in motorsport, the Iron Dame have found their stride. Their successes in the past few years are truly impressive for any newer team in motorsport:

  • First-ever all-female podium in the World Endurance Championship
  • First-ever all-female victory at 24 Hours of Spa
  • First-ever all-female victory in the European Le Mans Series
  • First all-female pole positions in European Le Mans Series and the World Endurance Championship
  • 51 top-three finishes in 2021 and 2022
  • 17 pole position (or, setting the fastest lap in order to start the race in first place) in 2021 and 2022

All-Women Teams in History

The Iron Dames market themselves as the first all-woman team in endurance racing, and that’s absolutely true in the modern era — but women have been partnering with their friends and colleagues in motorsport for ages. 

In rallying, a form of racing that includes driving over natural terrain and not on a closed-course race circuit, there was Team Aseptogyl. The distinctive pink-and-red cars sponsored by a dentist and his toothpaste brand aimed to do something unique in the motorsport world: He hired only women. That team then branched out into other disciplines, like endurance racing.

In the past, races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans were frequently contested with female partnerships. In 1930, for example, French drivers Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse competed under the latter’s name. At least one all-female team has competed at the iconic race for 20 different events, with four all-female teams appearing in 1935. In more recent years, Iron Dames competed on the same track as Richard Mille Racing, which featured its own all-female lineup, albeit in a prototype class (where drivers race cars that are purpose-built for racing) as opposed to a GT class like Iron Dames (which features a production car modified for racing).

Out of all the all-women teams, though, Iron Dames has evidenced its staying power and its success in ways that have legitimized all women in motorsport around the world.

I'm Elizabeth Blackstock, managing editor of AGGTC, blogger, journalist, novelist, editor, MA/MFA graduate student, wife, motorsport fanatic, and bearer... More about Elizabeth Blackstock