Historic victory for Lilou Wadoux at Spa
At her first year in GTE machinery and as a Ferrari factory driver, Lilou Wadoux drove from fourth to the lead in her stint and, with a historic victory at the 6H of Spa Francorchamps, she became the first ever woman to win in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Lilou Wadoux has become the first female driver to win a race in the World Endurance
Championship after taking a commanding victory at Spa-Francorchamps. Teaming up in the #83 Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE with Luis Perez Companc and Alessio Rovera, Lilou drove an exceptional middle stint in which she drove from fourth to the lead in just her third ever start in the GTE-Am class. The Twenty-Two-Year-Old Frenchwoman has now written her name into the history books ahead of the next event on the calendar, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Arriving into the weekend, Lilou had fond memories of Spa since it was a circuit at which she had stood on the podium in the Alpine Europa Cup in 2021 and achieved her joint best WEC LMP2 finish at last season. From the first practice session of the weekend, her speed was impressive, clocking the fifth fastest GTE time overall while also being the quickest silver rated driver in that session.
Unfortunately due to a number of red flags during the second session, Lilou was not able to
complete a flying lap, however Alessio Rovera put the #83 Richard Mille AF Corse inside the top-5 for the second consecutive session.
The third and final practice session on Friday morning was held in mixed conditions, with all teams running the wet weather tyre to begin the session. Lilou jumped in halfway through the session and had an unfortunate incident as she spun into the gravel at turn nine. With little damage to the car, she was able to continue following a period of full course yellow, remaining in the car until the end of the session. The #83 Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari finished third fastest, ending all practice session within the top-5. As the bronze rated driver in the team, Luis Perez Companc took charge of the car in qualifying and continued the top-5 record, qualifying the car in fifth, with his best lap time taken away for track limits which would’ve put the team on the front row.
As the bronze rated driver within the team, Perez Companc also took the start of the race in
extremely difficult conditions with a cold and damp track greeting the drivers. The Argentine did a superb job in the opening two hours of the race, holding down fourth position while also handing over to Wadoux as the second highest bronze rated driver.
Lilou began her first stint in fourth position and immediately dealt with the challenges associated with new tyres which were unable to be heated in tyre blankets as per new regulations for 2023. This made the opening portion of her stint even more crucial, a test she dealt with superbly by moving into second place as the pit cycle was completed. Wadoux was then involved in a brilliant four-way fight for the lead where she quickly made inroads on leader Zacharie Robichon. Hunting down the Canadian, Lilou took the lead on lap 62 and extended the gap to second place to six seconds by the halfway point of the race.
After making a pitstop and remaining onboard the #83 Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari, Wadoux found herself behind Robichon but once again rose to the challenge. Setting a number of personal best lap times, she reeled in the #88 Porsche and re-took the lead in the GTE-Am class. A safety car was brought out at the conclusion of her stint which negated any gap she had built, however it was a magnificent performance from a driver with very little experience driving the Ferrari 488 GTE.
Lilou handed the car to Alessio Rovera for the final stint, with the Italian driver holding the lead in the pit cycle. After building up an impressive 30 second lead in his opening stint, a safety car once again undone the hard work from the #83 crew. Nonetheless, Rovera quickly built up the lead, taking the checkered flag with an advantage of over 18 seconds on their nearest competitors.
“It was a good day for us” – commented Lilou. “Luis did an amazing job and gave me the car in P5, and very close to the other cars. After, I had a difficult first stint, but the second one was better and the car was very fast. The strategy from the team was very good and we had a safety car at the right moment. I thank the team for the amazing car and my teammates for the amazing job”.
This meant Lilou became the first ever female driver to win a race in the World Endurance Championship and signified her first victory as a Ferrari factory driver.
“I’m very proud of that”, Wadoux added. “But also it’s very good points for the championship, and I hope we will be back as strong at Le Mans and for the rest of the season”.
Following Spa, the #83 Richard Mille AF Corse team have jumped to second in the GTE-Am standings, an impressive achievement following an early retirement in the first event at Sebring. Lilou has been a central part of this rise, consistently being one of the fastest silver rated drivers while making vital overtakes in the process. Momentum is fully behind Wadoux and her teammates as they head into the most prestigious race on the motorsport calendar, Lilou’s home event of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.