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Karen Gaillard and Célia Martin join Iron Dames for Le Mans Cup

Iron Dames return to Michelin Le Mans Cup - with two new Dames: Karen Gaillard and Célia Martin will pilot the #83 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 in the six-event calendar.

#83 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, Karen Gaillard, Célia Martin, Michelin Le Mans Cup
Photo credits: Iron Dames

Groundbreaking all-female team Iron Dames will return to Michelin Le Mans Cup after last entering the ELMS support series in 2021 - and will do so with two new Dames: French racer Célia Martin and Swiss young talent Karen Gaillard.

Gaillard and Martin will share the #83 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 in the freshly-announced 42-car field which includes 13 entries in the GT3 class. The grid of the main stepping stone to European Le Mans Series has therefore expanded and will see 5 manufacturers, new teams and new drivers battling in the 6 rounds of the 2024 calendar.

In 2021, Iron Dames finished third in the GT3 category following five podium finishes out of seven races by Doriane Pin, Sarah Bovy and Manuela Gostner - as the latter joined the line up from the Le Mans round onwards once Bovy was promoted to the main line up.

They were second at Le Castellet, Monza and Le Mans, and completed the season with third place finishes at the second Le Mans race and Spa Francorchamps, only missing out on points at Barcelona and Portimao due to DNFs.

Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Doriane Pin all climbed the ladder to their current seats after racing in Le Mans Cup.

Newly-announced Dames Gaillard and Martin are in fact among the most promising female talents in sports car racing, and this deal represents an important step for their careers.

Célia Martin, ADAC GT4 Germany 2023
Photo credits: Axel Weichert

A Nordschleife specialist, Célia Martin became the first Frenchwoman to race at the track in 2014. She moved to Germany to pursue a professional career in motorsport in 2017 and mostly drove in the NLS series until 2019, where she made a full-time appearance in the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy. In the all-electric series, she was fourth in ProAm with five podiums and one fastest lap to her name.

As part of the Girls Only by WS Racing squad, she took pole position and class victory in 2021 in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, then added another podium the following year in the same class. Having collected experience in GT4 machinery at the Nürburgring, Martin had her first single seater outing in the 2022 Indian Racing League, before making her ADAC GT4 debut in 2023. In the highly competitive German series, Martin - who teamed up with Fabienne Wohlwend in another all-female squad - contested her first full-time campaign in a sprint race format and is now set to graduate to GT3.

Karen Gaillard, Ultimate Cup 2023
Photo credits: Pro-Photos-Sport

Young Swiss driver Karen Gaillard, 22, has shaped her racing career around her dream of racing one day at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. She won the Young Driver Challenge initiative in 2019 and graduated from the Filière Endurance in 2020, with the goal of climbing the ladder of endurance racing. She joined team Vortex in the 24H Series, where she collected podium finishes and contested her first 24-hour races in 2021.

In the same season, she continued to collect experience as well as silverware in the Ultimate Cup, before switching to the French Mitjet 2L series in 2022, contesting her first season of sprint races. Among almost 60 entries, she had a best finish of sixth.

In 2023, Gaillard returned to endurance and made her prototype racing debut in Ultimate Cup, at the wheel of the new Nova Proto NP02, with performance almost comparable to LMP3 machinery.

Karen had a remarkable debut season and took four class podiums - including a second place at her first race - over six rounds, eventually finishing runner-up in the championship. Gaillard proved to be one of the brightest up-and-coming talents and will now make her GT3 debut with Iron Dames.

The season will start with the test and the first race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in April; round 2 will be held at Circuit Paul Ricard, before the flagship event on the full 13.6km La Sarthe circuit supporting the 24 Hours of Le Mans: at the Road to Le Mans events, the series will host a double header with two 55 minute contests, instead of the traditional 2 hour races. Spa Francorchamps hosts the fourth round in August, before the first appearance of Mugello on the calendar in September. The season finale is scheduled at Portimao, Portugal, on 19th October.



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