Richard Mille announces full-female ELMS program in LMP2
The news is out: Sophia Floersch will join Katherine Legge and Tatiana Calderon in ELMS, as team Signatech will partner Richard Mille in an all-female stars LMP2 crew.
German upcoming star Sophia Floersch revealed her 2020 plans in conjunction with the launch of an all-female LMP2 entry in the European Le Mans Series: the Signatech team, making its return to the European-based endurance championship, announced a program branded Richard Mille Racing and supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport that will bring together three of the highest-profile female drivers in international motorsport: Floersch will be joined by Brit Katherine Legge and Colombian Tatiana Calderon at the wheel of the Oreca 07 - Gibson #50.
Floersch, who was strongly hinted to a FIA Formula 3 drive with her long-time partner HWA Racelab, thus makes the switch to the equally competitive scene of endurance racing. After competing in the Macau Grand Prix last November for the German team, the 18-year old tested the Signatech Alpine LMP2 prototype in Bahrain, as her F3 race seat did not materialize.
"Really happy to finally announce that I will be doing the ELMS in LMP2 together with Katherine Legge and Tatiana Calderon this year!!" - said Floersch on her social medias.
Katherine Legge makes her surprise debut in ELMS and will combine the previously announced program in the IMSA GTD class, together with another female trio: the GEAR Racing team, in fact, made its racing debut at the Rolex 24H of Daytona, where the experienced racer shared a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo with Calderon, Frey and Nielsen.
Legge, one of the most accomplished female drivers in motor racing, adds the European Le Mans Championship to her resumé, in a career that spans from the DTM, IndyCar, ChampCar, Formula E, F1 test drives and a IMSA vice-champion title.
"Really excited to be able to tell you that I together with Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Floersch we will race for Richard Mille Official in ELMS!" - echoed Legge.
Tatiana Calderon will have a very busy 2020 as well, as the first female F2 racer is also set to compete full time in the Japan-based Super Formula championship. The Alfa Romeo F1 Team development driver drove her first endurance race in January at Daytona and is quickly gathering diversified experiences after many years in single seaters.
“Having the opportunity to race in a program like this with a team as professional as Signatech and with the support of Richard Mille is incredible." - explained the Colombian driver. "I am very grateful to them for selecting me for the team and to provide us with a top-team. It will be a great year, with many trips, but I will be driving more than ever before. As a driver, this is what you want the most and this year venturing into the races with a car as fast as the LMP2 will be a great challenge."
"After my experience at Daytona, sharing a seat with Katherine will be very good because of how well we understand each other. I am eager to start working with the team.” - concluded Tatiana.
Signatech, LMP2 reigning champions in the World Endurance Championship, will return to ELMS after their 2014 winning campaign.
With ELMS prototypes also awarding FIA Super Licence points, it might not be a farewell to Sophia Floersch's F1 dream after all. But her target for 2020 will certainly be the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the Signatech-led squad won the LMP2 honor at last year's edition.
It is the second team supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport program, after the GTE-AM entry line-up by Kessel Racing: "Iron Dames" Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner and Rahel Frey battled for podium positions in the 2019 ELMS season and ultimately went on to finish 9th in the big race of La Sarthe. Their entry has been confirmed as well, under the banner of Italian "Iron Lynx".
ELMS features a six events calendar, with the first 4-hours race getting underway in Barcelona, Spain, on 5th April.
Full 2020 ELMS Schedule:
5 April - Barcelona, Spain
10 May - Monza, Italy
19 July - Le Castellet, France
5 September - Silverstone, UK
20 September - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
18 October - Portimao, Portugal
In Sophia's words:
"Really happy to finally announce that i will be doing the ELMS in LMP2 together with Katherine Legge and Tatiana Calderon this year!!"
Ph Credits: Antonin Vincent / Alpine