Speed records may or may not be broken next weekend at Le Mans. Stereotypes, on the other hand, definitely will! The Richard Mille Racing Team, an all-female driver line-up is revving up this, the 88th edition of the world’s most famous motor race.
As President of the FIA Endurance Commission, Richard Mille has long since fought to make motorsport more accessible to women, not only as drivers but also as engineers, mechanics and strategists. Headed jointly by Michèle Mouton, the ground-breaking French champion, the organization has spent 10 years promoting women in the sport at the very highest levels.
The Team, chosen after a rigorous selection process, comprises of Colombian national Tatiana Calderón, (currently the highest-ranked woman in single-seaters), the young German Sophia Floersch who earned her spurs in Formula 3, together with Dutch newcomer Beitske Visser, a BMW Motorsport junior making her prototype début in the 2020 European Le Mans Series. The team captain, Katherine Legge, unfortunately injured at le Castellet last July, will be sorely missed.
‘I’m really disappointed I won’t be able to drive this year, but I feel we made the right decision together as a team and with the doctors. I am walking now – which I will never take for granted again – albeit slowly and still with pain. I am cleared to drive, but repeated stints over 24 hours might do more harm than good to my recovery and put unnecessary stress on the team. They have been cheering me on through my recovery, just as I will be cheering them on for the big race! I can’t wait to get back in the car.’ – Katherine Legge
‘I’m very excited and grateful for this incredible opportunity’, states Tatiana who has already claimed two top-six finishes in this year’s ELMS races. ‘To do Le Mans is a dream for every driver and to be able to do it representing Richard Mille and the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission is a huge honour. We have been progressing in ELMS, but Le Mans will be the first time the three of us will race together, it will be very intense, and a huge challenge: three rookie drivers in a very condensed schedule without the usual previous testing. I think we are all starting to understand how endurance races work, how you need to approach them as a team while sharing a car. The only sad part is we won’t get the full Le Mans experience without the fans being there, but I hope they can cheer us from home. We are ready for the challenge.’- Tatiana Calderón
In the LMP2 class, the team will be fielding a fiery red #50 ORECA 07, Gibson-powered race car run by Philippe Sinault’s Signatech team. The Richard Mille logo will be proudly emblazoned, together with the one of the Paris Brain Institute. Active member of the Board of this world-leading research hub, Richard Mille is always keen to develop promotional activities to fund some of its state-of-the-art research into the very origins of mobility deep within our brain.
‘I would like to warmly thank Richard Mille for his renewed support to the Paris Brain Institute through his first participation in the 24 Heures du Mans with an all-female team. This unique sporting competition embodies values of combativeness, perseverance and excellence that the Paris Brain Institute fully shares. Richard Mille’s commitment at our side represents a great strength for us, as it allows us to further develop the means of our ambitions, to increase the visibility of our commitment to an essential public health cause and gives our researchers the opportunity to go even further in their research work at the service of patients’. – Professor Gérard Saillant, President of the Paris Brain Institute.
We will run for victory on the Le Mans track but also for victory in Research. At the Paris Brain Institute, 700 experts, 42 nationalities, from around the world work together to discover, develop, and fast-track innovative treatment to help patients. Researchers question and challenge long-held ideas to explore new pathways in research and to reach new frontiers in helping treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, ALS, strokes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders and more. The Richard Mille brand will dedicate this race to all these men and women, doing their best to improve people’s lives.
‘Since the creation of this institute in Paris some 10 years ago it has grown to become one of the leading research centres for brain and spinal illnesses that can touch each and every one of us by the sheer magnitude of all those affected. This institute is the 2nd largest in the world dedicated to this cause and gathers very experienced researchers from all corners of the globe. My friendship towards Professor Gérard Saillant and Jean Todt only strengthens my commitment to this cause and to bring it to the attention of all those close to the brand so that as many people as possible are aware of this institute and its quest to cure the multiple diseases linked to the brain,’ explains Richard Mille.
Next weekend’s race from 19th-20th September is gearing up as one of the most unusual and innovative. The spectator experience will, of course, be totally different, as the event is taking place behind closed doors. No roar of the crowd. Following via digital platforms, however, viewers will be offered an exclusive insight into the ambiance in the pits and also behind the scenes.
Our team’s objectives are to push limits in endurance racing, notably in terms of tyre management and fuel consumption. All in all, the Richard Mille Racing Team will be going full throttle towards the podium at Le Mans, reminding everyone that “victory can be feminine!” comments Amanda Mille, Clientele Marketing Director at Richard Mille.
About Paris Brain Institute
Created in 2010, the Paris Brain Institute is a scientific and medical research centre of international excellence, located in Paris in the heart of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. Its innovative model brings together patients, doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs in one place with a common goal: to understand the brain and accelerate the discovery of new treatments for diseases of the nervous system. The Institute thus includes a network of more than 700 researchers and clinicians, 10 cutting-edge technological platforms, 1 clinical investigation centre and more than 1,000m2 for the incubation of start-ups. Since 2017, it has also been Station F’s health partner, giving it a competitive advantage in the field of connected healthcare. This year, the Paris Brain Institute celebrates its tenth anniversary.