For the first time in its history an all female driver line up will enter the European Le Mans Series as a full season entry. Manuela Gostner (Italy), Rahel Frey (Switzerland) and Michelle Gatting (Denmark) will race at the wheel of the n°83 Kessel Racing F488 GTE in 2019 starting at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet in April.
The trio finished 6th overall during the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi, and finished on the GT3 Pro/Am podium with a credible 2nd place in class at the wheel of the Kessel Racing Ferrari F488 GT3. This result has demonstrated how strong this line-up will be in the ELMS LMGTE category and there is no doubt that they will be fighting for the top step of the podium at each of the six rounds on the 2019 calendar.
The three women are well known in endurance racing. Manuela Gostner raced several years in the Ferrari Challenge Coppa World Championship, where she finished as one of the ten best drivers. In 2017 and 2018 she entered the European GT4 Championship, driving a Maserati Gran Turismo run by Villorba Corse. Finally, last season, she made her debut in Michelin Le Mans Cup in Portimão, driving the n°83 Kessel Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 alongside Giorgio Sernagiotto.
Rahel Frey is an official Audi Sport driver and the highly rated Swiss racer has competed in several championships such as the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the DTM and the ADAC GT Masters. In 2010 she made her 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with Matech Competition in the LMGT1 category, joining Natacha Gachnang and Cyndie Allemann to form the last all female line-up seen in Le Mans.
Michelle Gatting is used to the Danish tracks where she competed in the Formula Ford Denmark, the OK Mobil 1 Danish Supertourisme Turbo and the MASCOT Danish Thundersport Championship. At 25-years-old Michelle is the youngest member of the Kessel Racing driver line-up.
The aim of the team will be, of course, to fight at the front and finish at the top of the ELMS LMGTE class. Participating at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is also part of the Kessel Racing project. The ACO will announce the names of the teams for the remaining places on the 2019 entry list at the beginning of March and the Swiss team hope that they will receive an entry for their all female squad.
The team’s participation in the 2019 European Le Mans Series is supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport programme that aims to help promote the participation of women in all aspects of the Motorsport.
Michèle Mouton, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission: “After a great first outing together at the Gulf 12 Hour race in Abu Dhabi last year, Manuela, Rahel and Michelle have been given a well-deserved opportunity to compete in the full ELMS season. Being given that chance by Kessel Racing, which fields top-class racing cars, really goes to show that female racers are more than capable of fighting at the front when they are given the right opportunities. A really big thank you to Kessel Racing, to the ELMS and the ACO for their support. Naturally we will be following their results with great interest.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO European Le Mans Series: “We are really proud to welcome Manuela, Rahel and Michelle to the ELMS paddock and with the FIA and the ACO we will support them in their ambition to compete at the very top of endurance racing, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The ELMS has always been supportive of women taking part in our sport, whether as a team manager, engineer, mechanic or as driver. We hope that this 100% female line-up will become a source of inspiration for the next generation of competitors.”