Richard Mille Unveils Their All-Women’s LMP2 Team For The 24 Hours of Le Mans
While the 24 Hours of Le Mans may be delayed to later this year, the new Richard Mille team is hitting the track virtually this weekend.
In just two decades, Richard Mille and his eponymous brand have firmly established roots in motorsports. From sponsoring, not one but three, Formula 1 teams – Alfa Romeo, McLaren, and Haas (read more HERE) – to IndyCar with RM ambassadors Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud. The brand has also been quite active in endurance racing, which is only natural given Mr. Mille’s role as the President of the FIA Endurance Commission.
Involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
For the first time, the Richard Mille Racing Team will field an all-women LMP2 entry in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Occurring September 19-20, the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will serve as the midway point for the 2020 ELMS Championship, which will kick off July 9th at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France.
And while the actual 24 Hours of Le Mans is a few months away, the team is hitting the virtual track this weekend (June 13-14) with the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the age of COVID, virtual racing has proven to be a welcome distraction from the news cycle. Plus, with its technical partnership with Signatech, the team will be well prepared to hit the virtual track.
In both the real and virtual race, Richard Mille's LMP2 ORECA 07-Gibson car will be driven by Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon, and Sophia Floersch. Joining the team for the virtual race will be the Australian Emily Jones, a well-regarded SimRacer.
During a Zoom press conference, Amanda Mille, Clientele Marketing Director at Richard Mille, said, “We are really excited! Finally, we managed to create this amazing racing team. The best drivers, the best technical people, and the best support of the FIA Women in Motorsports commission, everyone is with us, and we're pleased and believe in this team."
Michèle Mouton, President of FIA's Women in Motorsport Commission, added, "We worked closely together with the WEC (World Endurance Championship) to promote women in motorsports from the grassroots level to the uppermost categories. Our common goal with this project was to bring women to the podium in Le Mans and started this project in 2018 to find the best drivers.”
Talking with the Racers
During the press conference, Watchonista had the opportunity to participate in the Q&A with the team’s three drivers. This dynamic lineup of racers runs the gamut from 19-year-old Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch to the accomplished Katherine Legge, who is the Captain of the Richard Mille LMP2 Racing Team.
Legge says of her involvement, "I'm super proud to be part of this amazing team. I'm very grateful to Amanda and the FIA for putting this together. To have the team and the support to be able to go out and win races. We've never had the equipment to perform at this level, and now for the first time, we do. We have all the tools we need to succeed, and I think we're going to have a fantastic season. I’m excited to get back on track in Le Castellet to represent this amazing brand.”
Alfa Romeo Formula 1 test driver Tatiana Calderon added, “For any driver to do Le Mans is a dream, so while we’ll do it virtually this weekend, I can’t wait for the real thing. I've done Daytona (24 Hours of Daytona) with Katherine (in 2019), so I'm excited. I’ve also worked with Signatech in Formula 3, and I've been impressed with their work ethic. I'm glad to finally have the tools we've been fighting for."
Floersch concluded, "I'm happy to be a part of this team. In 2018, we had the FIA test with 15 women in Spain, and I was there for two days, and I was never expecting that 1 ½ year later, to have this opportunity. It's a dream come true for a racing driver to do Le Mans, but LMP2 is incredible. The virtual race this weekend will be something completely different. But for our team spirit and the work with the engineers, it's good preparation for the real thing."
Hitting the Track Virtually
The Richard Mille Racing team LMP2 ORECA car is a 600hp prototype class endurance car with performance and agility, whether on a physical or a virtual track. I’m personally excited to see this all-female team dominate at Le Mans.
(Images provided by Richard Mille)