Doriane Pin claims top-5 at WEC season finale, is awarded "Revelation of the Year"
Doriane Pin completed a stellar rookie season in FIA World Endurance Championship with her third top five in LMP2 at the 8 Hours of Bahrain - and was then presented with the "Revelation of the Year" award at the prizegiving ceremony, becoming the first woman to receive the acknowledgement.
Doriane Pin completed her rookie season at the wheel of a LMP2 prototype with her third top-five finish of the year at the FIA WEC season finale in Bahrain, where the young Iron Dame shared the #63 Oreca with Mirko Bortolotti and Daniil Kvyat. Widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in sports car racing, Pin has been the protagonist of a stellar season in the World Endurance Championship, claiming a podium at debut and often battling for the class victory. The young Frenchwoman, 19, graduated to prototype racing in January after racing part time in the European Le Mans Series with the main Iron Dames line up, having claimed the title in dominant fashion in Ferrari Challenge Europe. Alongside Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting, she took the team's first victory in ELMS at Portimao - once again showing her outstanding potential at the top of international sports car racing. Having driven the LMP2 Oreca for the first time in a testing program for sister team Prema Racing - and she would make her debut at Sebring - immediately establishing herself as one of the top drivers in class, alongside some experienced gold and platinum-rated drivers, which consolidated her reputation as one of the brightest talents of the next generation. Throughout the season, Doriane continued to impress and became the first woman to stand on the LMP2 podium, as well as the first woman to start from pole position in that class. While the team navigated through a series of difficulties that often prevented her from battling for the win, Pin progressed at impressive pace and most of the times showed speed comparable to her platinum teammates. At the season finale in Bahrain, the Prema squad soon proved to have what it takes to run at the front, having completed promising practice sessions in the top five. In qualifying, Mirko Bortolotti set the eighth fastest time in LMP2 with a 1:53.191, nine tenths behind the pole winning United Autosport driven by Tom Blomqvist.
Pin was the elected driver to take the start in Saturday's 8 hour race at Sakhir International Circuit and a extremely hectic first couple of corners saw several LMP2 and Hypercars making contact: unfortunately, Doriane was caught in the melee and picked up front bodywork damage, which would cause the #63 Prema Oreca to recover from the back. Nevertheless, Doriane ran seventh after the first stages of the race, as the Vector Sport of Gabriel Aubry led in class followed by the #9 Prema of Ugran - in a very compact LMP2 field. The Frenchwoman pitted for the first time almost 40 minutes into the race and remained behind the wheel after the car had a nose change as well as refuelling. "The start was unfortunate, I couldn't do anything as a lot of cars were spinning around and it was impossible to avoid them, plus somebody pushed me from behind as well", Doriane summed up. "The positive thing is that we were able to regain some of the time we lost when we changed the front bodywork at the first pit stop." At the end of her double stint, Pin pitted on lap 40 and handed over to Daniil Kvyat, who was up to sixth as the race approached the two hours. Kvyat had to defend from the #41 WRT Oreca driven by Robert Kubica - who found a way past after a long duel for fourth. Pin was then back in the #63 Prema Oreca at the fourth LMP2 pit stop; she immediately topped Kvyat's best lap by three tenths of a second - in what was the second fastest lap of the race at that point. Fifth after the round of pit stops, Doriane really had a strong pace and hunted down Team WRT's Rui Andrade. A couple of tenths at a time, Pin gained 5 seconds and caught Andrade and passed him for third on lap 99. After a very strong stint for the Frenchwoman, Mirko Bortolotti was up next in the #63 machine: the platinum driver took over from third and cycled back to fourth. The sun went down and the night embraced the Sakhir International Circuit; 40 minutes into his stint, Bortolotti found great speed and set the fastest lap of the race in 1:54.705, as he kept chasing WRT's Robin Frijns throughout the fifth hour. When the LMP2 class leader received a 90 second stop and go penalty, the #63 Prema moved up to third with 3 hours to go, as the sister car of Viscaal took over the top spot. Mirko Bortolotti continued to climb the order and moved into the race lead on lap 162, having passed Ferdinand Habsburg before the seventh pit stop of the day - where Kvyat re-took the helm of the #63 Oreca. The former F1 racer settled in third place - then closed in on the sister car before his next pit stop. Bortolotti was then back in for the final hour of racing, but the Italian struggled more in the final stages, as he also battled some issues that cost several seconds at the pit stops. "The potential was there, and the pace was there, which pleases me a lot", Bortolotti explained. "I'm also happy with my performance. The whole team did a good job to prepare the race. At the end of the day, we had some little issues at every pit stop that cost us five to six seconds each time. If we sum them up, that would have put us in a much better position. There is always something you can learn and improve for the future." Having rejoined fifth, Bortolotti, Kvyat and Pin secured their third top five of the WEC season, rounding out a positive season on a high at the 8 Hours of Bahrain, having recovered from the rough start.
"The start was really tough with the conditions, the heat, and the tyre degradation but we managed it well", Pin continued. "The second stint was very quick too, but we still missed something to get to the podium. I want to thank everyone on the team as we did a good job this year. It was a pleasure to work with PREMA." "I learned a lot by working with an experienced team and experienced teammates. I'm happy about this season and I wish all the team members the best of luck for the future." At the end of her remarkable debut season, Doriane Pin was awarded with the Revelation of the Year honour at the FIA WEC prize-giving ceremony in Bahrain. She is the first woman to receive the award that acknowledges outstanding newcomers and celebrates their dedication, perseverance, and potential in the highest spheres of endurance racing. "I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award", Doriane stated. "Being crowned Revelation of the Year in such a prestigious and competitive championship as FIA WEC means the world to me. It reflects all the work that I have done this year." "I want to thank those who gave me this opportunity and put their trust in me; the Iron Dames project and PREMA Racing and each of you guys in the team, it’s been a real pleasure to work with all of you. I have developed a lot as a driver and as a person. I will remember this year for a long time, my first season in FIA WEC representing the Iron Dames project, my first podium at Sebring and my first Le Mans 24 Hours. I take this award as an extra motivation to continue learning and pushing my limits to make my dreams come true."