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Iron Dames season review

LM GTE - 30/11/2019 - Sophie LIGER

The Iron Dames trio, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Manuela Gostner were the very first 100% female lineup in European Le Mans Series history.

Driving the distinctive blue and pink n°83 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, they scored two second positions, one in Le Castellet for the opening round of the season and one in Silverstone. They finished fourth overall with 68 points after fighting with the best GT drivers all season long. Here is the season review of our three Iron Dames.

Q : What are your feelings about this first season in European Le Mans Series?

Rahel Frey: “It was a great pleasure to join the ELMS as there is always a nice atmosphere in the paddock. Unfortunately, we had a lot of up and downs, so it feels that we couldn’t show 100% of our potential – meaning that we have to get even stronger for 2020!”

Michelle Gatting: “Our first season in ELMS was very positive in many ways. The calendar is absolutely stunning with some great racetracks around Europe, if not the best. Besides that, I think our progress during the season was very positive, and it was nice to get those two podiums that we had. “

Manuela Gostner: “This has been an unbelievable first season in the European Le Mans Series for me. I started to race just in 2015 in the Ferrari Challenge Series and one season in GT4. As you can imagine, going to compete in one of the most important championships has been a big step and a difficult challenge for me.”

Q: What are your ups and downs of this 2019 season?

Rahel: “Our highlight was the season opening in Le Castellet showing a really strong pace with clean fights and closing the race as runner-up - this was the best motivation for the entire crew. On the other hand, our low blow was the last race in Portimão. We were able to fight for the 2nd position in the championship throughout the season but then we were taken out of the last race before it really started - this was a really sad moment as we always keep fighting and usually never ever give up!”

Michelle: “Well there is no doubt that our biggest disappointment was being involved in the accident in Portimão which destroyed our championship, our possible entry to Le Mans 2020, and the race itself. That was very sad.  We also had some strong races, where we came on the podium. But for me personally the best race was in Silverstone. And the first one in Le Castellet, our “victory” was due to great teamwork on track and in the box. “

Manuela: “The races of Le Castellet and Silverstone were certainly the most beautiful moments of this season. Climbing on the podium has been a huge satisfaction and confirmed the importance and quality of our Iron Dames project. Barcelona and Spa has been our most difficult races because we were not as fast as we expected.”

Q: What did you think of the GTE field?
Rahel: “We had a competitive field - I wish to see the same number of competitive cars in 2020 - this would be amazing.”

Michelle: “Honestly speaking I see good and bad things with our field. Obviously in my opinion the field is not big enough, and it’s not often that you have some nice fights due to not enough cars. But then when you have the fights you know you are competing against some of the best GT drivers in Europe!”

Manuela: “The GTE field in the European Le Mans Series has been massively competitive and really tough. It has been great to drive with such experienced drivers.”

Q: What are your plans for the 2020 season?

Rahel: “To get back even stronger!”

Michelle: “Hopefully we will be back, fighting for more podiums. “

Manuela: “I am super happy that we will do the same program as in 2019 with the Iron Dames: European Le Mans Series and hopefully the 24 Hours of Le Mans!”

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