Italian racing team, Iron Lynx, visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the first time with their Iron Dames trio of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, and Rahel Frey putting in hill laps in their Ferrari 488 GTE. The Iron Dames is a project to support and encourage more female competitors into motorsport and their appearance at the prestigious event shone a light on female inclusivity in racing. We caught up with Michelle Gatting at Goodwood to tell us more about the Motul-backed Iron Dames squad.
Michelle, have you been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed before?
No, it’s my first time. It’s amazing. So many cars and people, it’s an absolute honour to be here as a driver, but also as a spectator and a tourist. We’re just walking around enjoying it. There are lots of people we know, and it shows you how small the motorsport world actually is. It’s an honour to be here.
You’re coming to Goodwood more or less straight from the Le Mans 24 Hours. How was that?
It was our fourth Le Mans together as the Iron Dames. We finished seventh this year, but honestly speaking we expected more, there should be no doubt about that. But we had a tough start. During the first lap we had a puncture, and went down to dead last, way behind the second last car, so basically, we were fighting for 24 hours just to gain position after position. In the end, we finished seventh, but the best-case scenario without the puncture could have been to finish fourth. Our aim was to be on the podium this year and we didn’t manage it, but we will keep fighting.
When’s your next race?
After Goodwood, we’re in Monza for the third round of the European Le Mans Series, then we stay on for the WEC the weekend after. Then we have the 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July.
The Iron Dames project has been going for a few years now. Where’s it all leading to?
We just want to keep going and growing. It was important to show we’re not a one-off, just there for one year and disappear. Deborah Mayer, the project founder’s, aim for this project was that we keep growing, getting bigger and bigger, getting more and more girls into programmes from a young age and then developing them over the years. We also want to get involved in different kinds of series. It’s not just about GT cars. We have girls racing in Formula 4, and we want to get the girls from karts into GT cars, touring, rally, maybe two wheels. There are a lot of goals with this project and, knowing Deborah, she will keep going. As drivers, we have to help to get the right drivers into the programme because we also have to welcome the new generation.
Motul is proud to support the programme and hopefully the partnership is beneficial to the Iron Dames?
Absolutely, we’re very happy to have Motul onboard. For us, it’s just amazing to have good brands on the cars and that’s what’s important.