A look back at the Centenary: women in the trenches

A look back at the Centenary: women in the trenches

Women have always played a crucial role at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, transcending gender barriers in motorsport. The day before the Centenary running of the race, female team managers, engineers, mechanics, drivers and more gathered to share their experiences.

There are no gender roles at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Women have worked at every level and in every capacity at the race, fully contributing to the success and influence of the Le Mans classic since its creation. To honour their achievements, the day before the Centenary, female team managers, drivers, mechanics, engineers, promoters and more answered an invitation given by FIA Women in Motorsport President Deborah Mayer to share their past experiences and vision for the future of women in motorsport.

Five female drivers took the start in the Centenary: Dorian Pin (#63 ORECA 07-Gibson of Prema Racing), Lilou Wadoux (#83 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of AF Corse), and Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey (#85 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Iron Dames). This trio finished fourth in LMGTE Am after battling for the win.

In terms of female representation, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been ahead of its time. As early as 1935, 10 women took the start, and since 1923, 65 female drivers have participated in the race. Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse emerged as pioneers as they took their places on the grid in 1930. In 2021, two all-female driver line-ups took part in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the first time in its history. The following year, two mixed crews competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as an all-female trio. Lilou Wadoux joined forces with eight-time World Rally champion Sébastien Ogier. 

This commitment to parity goes beyond the framework of competition. The ACO is a signatory to the corporate agreement relating to professional equality between women and men. In 2020, its index was 99/100.

The photo

Female drivers, engineers, mechanics, promoters and more involved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary met in the Village to exchange stories and share their experiences. They more than demonstrated the contribution of women to the greatest endurance race in the world.

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