Belgian racing star Sarah Bovy has won the "Driver of the Year" award of the Belgian Federation RACB, becoming the first woman to receive the accolade.
Iron Dame Sarah Bovy has been presented with the 2023 Driver of the Year Award at the annual RACB Awards ceremony, the Royal Automotive Club of Belgium gala.
She is the first ever woman to receive the most prestigious recognition for a Belgian driver and succeeded 2022 winner Stoffel Vandoorne, triumphing over fellow nominees and motorsport heavyweights Thierry Neuville, Laurens and Dries Vanthoor, Maxime Martin.
The Award wraps up a stellar season for Bovy, who joined Irond Dames in 2021 and has since then been an integral part and a pillar of the all-female team, taking victories in GT World Challenge Europe, European Le Mans Series and, finally, FIA World Endurance Championship.
As per tradition, the RACB Awards ceremony was held on Thursday 21 December at the Brussels Exhibition Centre, in front of hundreds of Belgian motorsport stakeholders, drivers, organizers, Federation officials and journalists.
After an opening speech by François Cornélis, President of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, on the creation of a motorsport facility in Nivelles, the ceremony continued with the assignment of the prestigious awards. Among the recipients of the prizes was also young Eva Dorrestijn, 14, for her karting season in the IAME Series Benelux.
The most coveted trophy went to Sarah Bovy, whose contribution to motorsport was recognized by the whole industry professionals.
Bovy started her car racing career in Formula Renault 1.6 Belgium, before soon moving into GT and touring car territory. While she often had to battle against a lack of funding throughout her career, she continued to be a consistent presence at the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps. She raced in the Renault Sport Trophy, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, as well as a one-off appearance in Asian Le Mans Series before being selected for the inaugural season of the all-female W Series championship, where she returned to single seaters in a reserve driver role.
Bovy contested two races in W Series and almost made it into the points at debut at Misano; but the moment that would change her racing career would be in 2021, when she joined the groundbreaking all-female sportscar team Iron Dames for the Le Mans Cup season. Partnering Doriane Pin, Bovy impressed so much that she became part of the main line up midway through the season, joining Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting at the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GTE. In her first ever GTE outings, Sarah continued to be one of the drivers to beat and entered her first Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing sixth in class.
In a historic 2022, Bovy was again part of the Iron Dames line up in FIA WEC, ELMS, GT World Challenge Europe. She claimed the team's first pole position in WEC at Monza, was part of the winning team that made history at the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps by taking victory in the Gold class and secured another pole position and the team's first ever win in ELMS at Portimao.
A move from Ferrari to Lamborghini machinery in 2023 meant that the trio switched to the Porsche 911 RSR-19 for the final season of the GTE class in WEC, while the adapting to the new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 for their first campaign in IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup as well as GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup.
Bovy was once again instrumental in the team's successes and carried momentum in WEC, where she conquered three pole positions out of seven races, securing two podiums, a win and the vice-champion title. She signed the final pole position of the GTE era in Bahrain, as well as the team's first WEC victory.
Together with a class pole in GTWC and the team's best of fourth at Le Mans, these outstanding achievements wrote Bovy's name in the history books of Belgian motorsport, gaining her the prestigious accolade at the RACB Awards ceremony.