The Iron Dames driver spoke with us about her feelings just a few days before the 24 Hours of Daytona, her dreams driven by strong ambitions and her connection with the project born from the mind of Deborah Mayer, which is now a more than a solid reality.
Do you feel ready for the upcoming 24 Hours of Daytona, the first race of your 2024 season?
«We had a very nice winter break. I was at home in Switzerland with the family and this helps me always to disconnect completely, to recharge my batteries and I feel absolutely ready for the new season. Last week we had a beautiful time in San Moritz as a team building and as a fitness camp, so we are really well prepared and now we can’t wait to start again racing here in Daytona».
Last week ROAR and the qualifying took place. How is the feeling with the car after that event, looking forward to the race?
«As you can imagine from 2022 to 2023, we had a quite big change within Iron Lynx and Iron Dames. We changed brand, switching from Ferrari to Lamborghini, but we received the car very late. We had a very short period to know the car. The 24 Hours of Daytona last year was a very big challenge. Now we had a full season to know the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 and to make some development, that was clearly needed. We had some problems during the last years season, nut now I’m really positive. All the steps we made during this winter time were in the right direction. We feel good in the car. We had a very consistent week, also in performance. We hadn’t any issues, so on that side we really go positive in race week. As we know ROAR is a very unpredictable event and the BoP still has to be done. Everybody was not using the full potential, instead we were working on the race approach and when it comes down to the race start, we’ll see where we are and what we have achieved. If we’ll still have to work or we can go for full pull, but the feeling is positive, we have a very strong line up and we are ready to challenge what’s coming in 2024».
I think the harmony is clear between all of you. Is that a key point for the team?
«I would say more consistency is the key. We know each other really well and we work together since every year. We are also with Doriane, that for us is a big plus. Now she moved mainly to the single seaters for the 2024. She has great talent and she’ll have a great career. She can help us a lot also in GTI and I think is something we can take profit from. I believe that we have a very strong line up».
Taking a step back. What did the victory of last year in Bahrain in the LMGTE class of FIA WEC mean for you and the whole team?
«For me and the team was a big release, because we worked for this for a long time. Basically, from the beginning of Iron Dames project. It took us five years, which show also that hard work and dedication are needed to fulfil the dreams. We really loved the Porsche 911 RSR as a team and to win at the last race with that car was very special. I think we did everything right in that weekend. We were consistent on track and we didn’t make mistakes. We felt positive as for this upcoming race, so we’ll see what will happened»
Last year you were competitive, but you never reached the victory until the last race. What was the biggest difficulty for you?
«Our adventure with the Porsche in WEC 2023 was with a completely new team. It was a German team not directly Iron Lynx, but it was under the flag of Iron Lynx and Iron Dames. We had to know new engineers, new mechanics and this need time to grow together. For this reason, I think we lack of consistency at the beginning of the year. We made mistakes, me personally made a big one in Sebring. In the end we are human and we all make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from that and I think that we are now prepared for this 2024 season».
Iron Dames cheers the victory in WEC LMGTE in Bahrain (2023) - credits to Iron Dames
You are with Iron Dames from day one. Which moment you lived has been the best for you and the team?
«I have a lot of moments I remember with a smile. I can’t name one single event, because our project is a continuous growth. We are part of a movement and as a part of there are many more events that are coming. I feel happy every day. We had a lot of emotional moments: the first race in the 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi, the first time we brought the project to its start, and be part of it felt very proud. When we went to Le Mans the first time all together with Manuel Gostner and Michelle Gatting. Our first win at Portimão in ELMS. We had two Championship wins in the Ferrari Challenge with Michelle and Doriane. The first pole position of Sarah Bovy in WEC. There are so many moments. We are growing a lot, having Iron Dames in go kart or in horse riding is really beautiful. I would not limit to only one happy moment».
Your new slogan is “Women Driven By Dreams”. What’s your dreams or which would be your biggest achievement?
«I fully supported our new slogan. When I started in go karting, I always dreamt to be a Formula 1 driver. I think is really important to have big dreams, because bigger we dream, bigger ambitions we have. I hope this slogan can inspire a lot of women around the world. Even if I reached a lot and I spent half of my life in motorsport, but I still have big dreams. I’d love to race in America, to win a race or a big championship. I’m happy and ready to support the project for what I can do. I’ll take more responsibilities for the young ones; I feel to be a role model and I want to help them and making young people know how to achieve their dreams. When I was young it was completely different, now we have such a big movement and the girls have to take profit of it. They need to fully focus and I strongly believe we can achieve our goals together. This is the main target of Iron Dames. In the long term the goal is to bring a woman at the elite of motorsport, and this means in Formula 1. Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time».
As an Iron Dames, at what point do you think id the female movement in motorsport?
«Honestly speaking being part of Iron Dames project I’m convinced that we are part of the movement. I see much more female realities compared to 10 or 5 years ago. Seeing what we achieved last year, made me be very positive for the future. Having this sport attitude and identity I strongly believe that if we dream big, we can bring a woman to the top level. With this belief we keep motivating others but to dream you need the hard work. We have a very strong team on management side, on PR side, in all departments, and having also young drivers like Doriane or Natalia helps a lot to look forward and being motivated about the future».
About your passion for motorsport. When it started?
«We grew up in family business. We owned a car dealership, so we were always around cars. Papa was a big motorsport fan; mama was more about education and school instead. We had to find a compromise. As a kid I always dreamt to be a pilot. I wanted to go to the Swiss army, being a helicopter pilot and then go to bigger planes. Our father brought us to a go kart track, just for fun, and I immediately linked to it. I love the speed and then I wanted only racing in go kart and my dream changed: I aimed to be a F1 driver and not more a pilot. Obviously for me it was never easy. You need the financial support and to find the right teams, but I was always lucky to be in the right place in the right moment. I had good performances and good results. If I look back, I’m really proud of what I achieved».
At the end of this season, you’d be happy if…?
«If we keep growing strong. This is basically what we need. Keeping the discipline, working hard on ourselves together as the team. For me it’s just a matter of time for the improvements to come. So, the first target is to stay committed and the rest is a natural outcome. We aim for more podiums and wins in every class».
Rahel Frey in the Iron Dames box. She is a key person in the whole project - credits to Iron Dames