A record number of nine women are slated to drive in the 62nd Rolex 24 at Daytona, including two all- or nearly all-woman teams. The GTD-class No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 roster consists of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Doriane Pin. Katherine Legge, Sheena Monk and Tatiana Calderon will pilot the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo 22 in GTD (main image), with Stevan McAleer joining for the Rolex. Ashton Harrison is joining the No. 45 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Lamborghini in GTD, and Lilou Wadoux is part of the Richard Mille AF Corse squad in LMP2 driving the No. 88 ORECA.
“I think it’s an indication of the times that we’re living in now, and the opportunities we’re getting,” says Legge. “2007 was my first Rolex. I was the only [woman] and then I was the only one again in 2013, and ’14. Since then, we’ve tried to integrate as many women as we could into the race program just to showcase female talent to get more and more interested. And we had the Caterpillar car, we had Christina [Nielsen] and then Rahel, and Tatiana, and we tried to put everybody together and kind of snowball it. And now it seems to be working. We’ve got two pretty much all-female cars, and some others sprinkled in there too. So hopefully, my hard work is paying off and and it starts to snowball down the mountain from there.”
Legge has three starts in the Indianapolis 500. Frey has a class win in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Bovy was Ben Keating’s biggest threat for pole in last year’s World Endurance Championship GTE-Am competition as she, Frey and Gatting finished second in the championship. Gatting and Pin are both Ferrari Challenge Europe champions, and 20-year-old Pin is proving herself in Formula 4 championships.
“Numbers are great, but we have nine strong women running in this race, which is really, really good,” said Lyn St. James, founder of Women in Motorsports North America with Beth Paretta, as well as a two-time class winner in the 24 Hours of Daytona. “It’s showing the depth and the strength of the talent, and each one of stories is unique. I think of somebody like Ashton Harrison who has really developed over the years into being a serious competitor. And Katherine, who is just an ace in whatever she gets in and now it seems like maybe they got a car under her that can show some better stuff. So it’s exciting, not just for the numbers, but for the quality of the talent that’s in those seats.”
In addition to those participating in the Rolex, two-time Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR champion Taylor Hagler is once again competing for Bryan Herta Autosport in a Hyundai Elantra N TCR in the BMW M Endurance Challenge. The Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup races included two women as well, Heather Hadley and Sally Mott.