4 women, 24 hours and a legendary race: Giti Tire 'Girls only' team returns to the Nürburgring
Updated: Jun 5, 2021
Here's the highlight of the year: for four days, the Green Hell becomes the capital of motor racing. Carrie Schreiner, Célia Martin, Pippa Mann and Christina Nielsen are ready for the all-female Giti Tire 'Girls Only' team's third assault of the legendary race.
The "Girls Only" team – a project launched three years ago by WS Racing – made headlines for becoming the first-fully female team, including racing drivers, engineers, mechanics and team management, at the Green Hell. The German outfit, which has been supported by tyre manufacturer Giti Tire since its inception, has extended its presence in endurance racing in 2021 and switched from TCR to GT4 machinery – bringing a truly special line up this year. There are Ring veterans like Carrie Schreiner and Célia Martin, but also new team members like Indy500 star Pippa Mann and IMSA champion Christina Nielsen, who will share the new Audi R8 LMS GT4.
The "Girls Only" Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing made history 2019, when they could finish their biggest endurance challenge to date after a long repair work due to engine issues. Last year, the team composed by Carrie, Célia and Laura Kraihamer also hit trouble when Martin made contact with a rival. The team worked hard to bring the car back out on track and ultimately succeeded to complete the trying race in P82 overall – and P3 in SP 3T class – also setting the fastest lap in the race.
The three women had more luck in the 2019 final round of VLN, as they took class victory in their VW Golf VII GTI TCR car. The result was the crowning achievement following a very solid VLN season, consistently in the front-runners positions.
Having raced with the Volkswagen Golf VII GTI TCR in 2019 and 2020, the Girls Only team switched to the Audi R8 LMS – always with the striking black and yellow colours of Giti Tire Motorsport, which will supply the GitiCompete GTR1 competition tyres this season.
With four cars on track, the team has brought close to 800 tyres – slicks, wet-weather tyres and cut slicks for mixed conditions. You can learn more about the preparation and the importance of the tyre on such a demanding racetrack here.
At the qualifying race two weeks ago, the team recorded a best lap time of 9.27.349 minutes and an overall average speed of 148.888kph, ultimately qualifying 34th overall.
Let's get to know the 2021 Drivers:
Carrie Schreiner comes from a karting background and was the most successful woman in national German kart racing. She moved up to ADAC Formula 4, where she drove for US Racing. She also competed in the British MSA Formula 4 and further showed her potential in the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo in Asia and Middle East as well.
After making her debut in the German premier GT3 championship two years ago – where she also claimed a podium – she returned to ADAC GT Masters in 2020 and combined a double-program with the newly-rebranded Nürburgring Langstrecken Series. This year, she joined the Italian GT championship, but will also maintain her commitments in NLS plus a partial compaign in the brand-new BMW M2 Competition.
Célia Martin was an early fan of motorsport, but couldn't fully focus on her passion due to budget constraints. Fortunately, she managed to connect with fellow racing drivers and started to move her first steps around a racetrack.
In 2014, Célia drove at the Nürburgring for the first time and became the first French woman to compete at the track. In 2017, she left France to move to Germany – where she is mostly driving in the NLS series, but has also made a full-time appearance in the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy and showed great progress in the Pro-Am category, before coming back to the Green Hell, where she now focuses on the Girls Only program.
Pippa Mann started her racing career in European karting before stepping up to single seaters in the 2003 UK-based Formula Renault. In 2009, she crossed the Atlantic and moved Stateside, where she competed in IndyLights. In the premier american feeder series, Mann won her first race in 2010 at Kentucky Speedway, with a gap of over 6 seconds to the closest competitor – an impressive margin in an oval race. Pippa is only one of two female drivers to have won a race in IndyLights to this day.
Since then, Mann entered her first Indianapolis 500 race – one of the crown jewels of motor racing – in 2011 and has competed at the Speedway six more times thereafter. She is one of the most highly-ranked female racing drivers worldwide and a true ambassador for women in the sport.
Christina Nielsen moved her first steps in motor racing in 2007. From karting, whe would switch to single-seaters in the ADAC Formula Masters in 2010. But it was with GT cars that she would really make a name for herself globally: in 2012, Nielsen competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup and achieved two victories in the B-rankings, with a ninth place in the overall standings. She would finish as the best woman in the championship.
The Danish ace became the first woman to start the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, where she achieved a victory in the second night race in Qatar – a result that gained the her the Michelin Silver Trophy and the "Man of the Race" award.
Her international breakthrough came in 2016, when Nielsen became the first ever woman to win a major sportscar championship in North America: with 2 victories and 7 podiums, she became IMSA champion in a Ferrari 488 GT3. Adding one more race win and seven more podiums to her name, Nielsen secured another IMSA title one year later.
"Giti Enjoy Driving Challenge"
To celebrate their fifth start at the biggest GT race in the world – and third with the 'Girls Only' project – sponsor Giti Tire launched a new fun feature: the"Giti Enjoy Driving Challenge" is a mobile game that will bring you "behind the wheel" of a truck, ATV and racecar to collect coins and win prizes. It is designed for all skill-levels and backgrounds, and introduces an interactive factor that allows to learn more about the importance of tyres.
The feature will be available all around the globe and will be promoted not only through the upcoming 24-hour race, but also for truck racing, Formula DRIFT USA and more. Additionally, Giti Tire will also step up its multimadia presence with a fully-24 hour coverage: a series of new mini-movies will be launched from the first practice on Thursday to the race conclusion on Sunday.
Short facts about the 24 Hours of Nürburgring
The longest distance was covered in the 2014 edition, with 159 laps and 4035.1 kilometres completed by Haase, Mamerow, Rast and Winkelhock.
The fastest lap in the race history was a 8:17,340, achieved by the #912 Manthey-Porsche in 2018.
The shortest race remains the 1992 edition, with just 76 laps logged due to a red flag interruption for rain.
The first woman to win the Nürburgring 24 Hours was Sabine Schmitz, who claimed victories in 1996 and 1997. The 2021 running will be the first edition since Schmitz's passing.
Other women competing in the race
Nr. 9: GetSpeed - Janine Shoffner
Nr. 60: Teichmann Racing - Laura Kraihamer
Nr. 81: Hofor Racing - Chantal Prinz
Nr. 142: rent2Drive-FAMILIA-racing - Sophia Gachot
Nr. 167: GITI TIRE MOTORSPORT BY WS RACING - Fabienne Wohlwend
Nr. 333: Max Kruse Racing - Jasmin Preisig