Richard Mille Racing team ceases operations – Sportscar365

Photo: MPS Agency

The Richard Mille Racing Team has announced that it will cease operations after three years of competing in the LMP2 category.

The French team, led by the Signatech team and financed by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, was founded in late 2019 as a platform to provide opportunities for female racing drivers.

It entered the 2020 European Le Mans Series and the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship with all-female crews before transforming to a mixed-gender lineup for its WEC program this year.

Most notably, the team raced eight-time FIA ​​World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and also supported one-make Alpine graduate Lilou Wadoux who tested a Toyota GR010 Hybrid. in the recent postseason rookie tryout.

Richard Mille Racing Team’s last race was the season finale of the WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain, where he finished eighth with Wadoux, Paul-Loup Chatin and Charles Milesi.

“Our initial goal in creating the Richard Mille Racing Team was to have a strong impact and highlight the lack of opportunities for women drivers,” said Amanda Mille, Richard Mille Racing Team project manager.

“With an all-female lineup, the goal was to take them to the highest level of motorsport.

“Our approach and performance, in no way inferior to that of our male counterparts, defied prejudice. Little by little, we developed the project by listening to our drivers.

“They all told us that they would have made it in this world the day the men asked to team up with them.

“We were successful this year with excellent and enthusiastic drivers around our project: Lilou Wadoux, who was joined later by Charles Milesi, Sebastien Ogier and Paul-Loup Chatin.”

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Signatech is set to operate two Oreca 07 Gibsons in the LMP2 class next year for Alpine, which will spend a season in the second-tier class to close the gap between its ineligible Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 car and its debuting ORECA-based LMDh. in 2024.

Signatech team boss Philippe Sinault told Sportscar365 earlier this month that his team wanted to continue with the Richard Mille project, but was in talks at the time about whether to use two or three cars next year.

“We would like to sincerely thank Richard Mille and all his teams for their confidence in this venture,” Sinault said.

“It was a fantastic opportunity, both from a sporting and human point of view, and we are honored to have been able to participate.

“The place of women in our sport is no longer in doubt. As our Deputy CEO Giuseppe Bizzoca likes to remind us, some drivers refused to replace Katherine Legge after her injury in 2020. Today, some of them are calling us to join the program.

“It shows that women are finally being recognized as full-fledged runners, as they always should have been.

“Lastly, we are proud to have seen our protégés improve in their careers, as was Lilou, who went from the Alpine A110 Cup to the Hypercar class in rookie testing in just one year.

“It is a strong message and reinforces the fact that we have provided them with a superior environment thanks to the courage and determination of Richard Mille and his teams.”

Richard Mille Racing Team finished tenth in the ELMS standings during its debut season, which also included its best finish of fifth at round one at Paul Ricard.

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During the same year, it became the first team to field an all-female driver line-up in the LMP2 class at Le Mans with Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser.

Richard Mille Racing Team then moved up to the WEC with the same lineup and finished 9th in LMP2 points.

He achieved the same position this year in a larger field of cars and with a new driver line-up that includes rally star Ogier and European Le Mans Series champion Milesi.

The highlight of the season was a 9th place finish at Le Mans, after which Ogier left the program and was replaced by Chatin.

“We have reached a new level every year,” reflected Mille.

“Our performances allowed us to try many things. We have been lucky to have the support of like-minded people who see the potential in female drivers, and we have received more and more requests to join us.

“We owe this success to Signatech and to all the drivers, engineers, technicians and mechanics.”

daniel lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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