STYLE Edit: How Richard Mille is empowering women in motorsport at historic endurance races Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona
For luxury watchmaker Richard Mille, which proudly declares its turbocharged technical timepieces to be “racing machines on the wrist”, the world of automotive racing is one with which it has a natural affinity.
More recently, however, the brand has also turned its sights onto five young female drivers, all of whom the brand has brought into the Richard Mille racing family.
The trio of Tatiana Calderón, Beitske Visser and Sophia Flörsch make up the Richard Mille Racing Team, while Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen will be joining Team Hardpoint EBM.
The Richard Mille Racing Team was created to promote the best female racing talent at the highest level of motorsport racing. Last year, the team had a strong showing that earned them a top-10 spot at the European Le Mans Series – in its rookie season, no less. This year, the team is looking to better their performance, hitting the track for the FIA World Endurance Championship.
While the team may be young, they are no slouches. Calderón, 27, is the Alfa Romeo F1 test driver and races in the ultra-competitive Japanese Super Formula Championship, while 20-year-old Flörsch has also built a solid racing reputation of her own. Finally, 25-year-old Visser is a GT race winner and placed second in the women-only W Series. Each of them is a force to be reckoned with. Plus, their racing partner – a state-of-the-art Oreca 07 car powered by a Gibson engine – stands them in good stead.
The team’s six-leg schedule will have them speed through the United States and Belgium before heading to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, as well as 6 Hours of Monza in Italy, before switching Europe for Japan and Bahrain for the final two legs of the championship.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue with the Richard Mille Racing Team,” says Calderón. “To race in the FIA World Endurance Championship against the best drivers in the world will definitely be another milestone in our careers.”
Over in the US, Legge and Nielsen have joined Team Hardpoint EBM and are racing alongside team co-owners Rob Ferriol and Earl Bamber. The coed team, which is sponsored by Richard Mille, made its debut in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the 24 Hours of Daytona at the famed Daytona International Speedway in late January. The team managed a midfield finish which they will aim to build on in their Porsche 911 GT3R through the season.
Legge is no stranger to IMSA, with four race wins in all, and a second at Daytona in 2018, the year she finished championship runner-up. “My legs are 100 per cent race ready and I am chomping at the bit to get back in a racing car,” said Legge, ahead of Daytona. “I am very grateful to the team for this opportunity, and for helping in my quest to showcase female talent. I believe we will be the first ever equally diverse team to have competed at Daytona 24.”
Nielsen is also one to watch, having been the first woman to win a major full-season professional sports car championship in North America with an IMSA series title in 2016 – a win she repeated the next year. “I am grateful for partners like Richard Mille who have given us the opportunity to showcase that motorsport truly is an equal playing field for men and women.”
- Richard Mille has long supported motorsports, including fostering partnerships with Formula One legends Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
- In 2021 the luxury watchmaker is taking the all-female Richard Mille Racing Team to Le Mans and sponsoring Team Hardpoint EBM at America’s IMSA championships