Though underrepresented in motorsport, women have played an important role in Le Mans history. Find out more about that history and the women behind it here.
While many of motorsport's top series and iconic events are overwhelmingly male-dominated, the Le Mans 24 Hours is far more diverse. Women drivers are far more common, and have played an important role in the race's history and progression.
This weekend will see two all-women teams take to the track for the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since 1977, furthering the impact of women at the prestigious race.
How many women have driven in the Le Mans 24 Hours?
59 women have taken part across the 88 editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with a total of 132 starts and 68 finishes from female drivers. A record ten women took part in the 1935 race, which saw 124 total drivers enter.
France has the most female drivers with 22, followed by the UK on 16 and the US and Switzerland with four each, though women from 13 countries in total have entered the prestigious race.
Which female driver has the most entries in the Le Mans 24 Hours?
The woman with the most entries to the Le Mans 24 Hours is Anne-Charlotte Verney, who took part in 10 consecutive Le Mans races from 1974 to 1983. She and co-drivers Xavier Lapeyre and François Servanin took a class win in 1978 in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, while her best overall finish - sixth place - came behind the wheel of a Porsche 935 K3 in 1981.
How well have women done at the Le Mans 24 Hours?
Female drivers are far less common than their male counterparts, however the lack of representation hasn't hampered their ability to secure results.
The best finish for a woman is an overall fourth place and class win, which was taken in 1932 by Odette Siko in an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750. In more recent times Vanina Ickx, daughter of former Formula 1 driver and six-time Le Mans winner Jacky, came in seventh in the 2011 race behind the wheel of a Lola-Aston Martin B09/60.
Of the 4,298 crews that have participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours 23 have been all-female. Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse, both French, have the record for the best result for an all-female crew, having taken their Bugatti T40 to seventh place in 1930.
There have been ten female class winners, including Odette Siko, Anne-Charlotte Verney and Michéle Mouton, while Lella Lombardi finished second in class in 1976.
Who are the women racing in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours?
There are six women racing in the 2020 edition, with two teams sporting women-only line ups.
Richard Mille Racing is fielding an LMP2 car being driven by Formula 3 driver Sophia Florsch, Alfa Romeo F1 test driver Tatiana Calderon and W Series driver Beitske Visser. The other women-only team, Iron Lynx, is taking part in the GTE-Am category, with a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo being driven by ELMS drivers Michelle Gatting and Manuela Gostner, and IMSA driver Rahel Frey.
British driver Katherine Legge was due to take part in the 2020 race, however had to drop out after a crash at the Paul Ricard circuit in July left her with a broken leg and foot. She's been replaced by Visser, who only announced her entrance eleven days before the race.
How many women participated in the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours?
The Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours saw one all-female team take part, made up of Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Florsch and Esports driver Emily Jones.
The team raced an Oreca 07 in the LMP class, finishing 19th of the 30 LMP entrants and ten laps down on the winners Louis Deletraz, Raffaele Marciello, Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinski. This was ahead of both the Team Redline car, driven by F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, and the Team Penske car, driven by former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud.
How have women been involved in the Le Mans 24 Hours besides driving?
Women are involved in all aspects of Le Mans, whether it's in the driver's seat, on the pitwall, in the garage or in any other capacity, though Leena Gade is arguably the most successful.
In 2011 Gade became the first woman in Le Mans history to be the race engineer of a winning team, when Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer took their Audi R18 to victory. She repeated the feat in 2012 and again in 2014, and is currently working as an engineer in the IMSA series.