The Iron Dames programme will have quite a different look, compared to what was previously announced for the 2021 season.
The outfit, which is a part of the Iron Lynx team, did reveal their driver line-up just over a month ago, but has opted to shake things up a bit shortly before the season start.
The original plan was to have the previous ELMS driving team of Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey and Manuela Gostner move up to FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2021 season, but that is going to be Frey, Gostner, and Katherine Legge, who will race the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo #85.
Legge was new to the team a month ago, and was originally scheduled to race in the European Le Mans Series alongside Frey and Gostner.
The ELMS team will instead consist of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, and Esmee Hawkey.
23-year-old Hawkey is a British racing driver, with quite some racing experience on her CV. She started out in the Ginetta Junior Championship, doing a couple of seasons, before moving into Porsche racers, running in GT4 and Carrera Cup for four seasons. She was selected to run in the W Series, where she competed in 2019.
Her 2020 season finished with the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain Pro-Am title. Despite winning that Championship, she keeps her Bronze driver racing, which could be a huge advantage for Frey and Gatting, who showed impressive pace in the previous seasons. That could potentially make car #83 a bit of a dark horse in the 2021 ELMS championship, if Hawkey gets up to speed in the Ferrari car, and the new tracks.
Gatting will also be running in Ferrari Challenge Europe, where she had a couple of guest starts during the 2020 season.
Manuela Gostner will still be part of the ELMS race weekends, by competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Gostner will be teamed up with Doriane Pin. Pin is a 17-year-old female French racing driver, who is part of the FIA Girls On Track – Rising Stars, which intends to promote female racers in motorsport.
The change of plans for Katherine Legge could potentially give a bit of an issue for her. She is scheduled to do a full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, where she shares a Porsche with Christina Nielsen at Team Hardpoint EBM. With the current schedules in place, there is a clash between FIA WEC in Fuji in Japan, and an IMSA race in Long Beach on the same September weekend. It’s not yet announced which of those two programmes has her priority.
The European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup start with test sessions and races at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in one and a half weeks’ time, while the FIA World Endurance Championship season starts at Spa Francorchamps on the final week of April.