Richard Mille Racing Team Set To Step Up In 2021
Richard Mille Racing Team Set To Step Up In 2021
New season, new challenges for the Richard Mille Racing Team! After a promising rookie campaign that earned them a top-10 spot in the European Le Mans Series, the all-female trio sponsored by the watch manufacture will now take on the FIA World Endurance Championship.
A striking revelation of 2020, thanks to strong performances in one of the world’s most competitive championships, as well as its excellent showing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Richard Mille Racing Team is making ready to hit the track again in 2021!
Ever looking to promote the best female talent at the highest level, supported by the FIA, the Richard Mille Racing Team will this year renew its confidence in Beitske Visser, Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderón.
The three drivers are among today’s most promising hopefuls, having honed their skills in the world of single-seaters. A member of the initiative since day one, Tatiana Calderón and Sophia Flörsch have demonstrated their fighting spirit everywhere they have raced. The 27-year-old Colombian is the Alfa Romeo F1 test driver and participates in the ultra-competitive Japanese Super Formula championship, while the 20-year-old German, Flörsh, has built herself a solid reputation, standing out in every category she has entered. Rounding out the trio is 25-year-old Beitske Visser from the Netherlands, a GT race winner and runner-up in the all-female W Series.
Teamed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the 4 Hours of Monza and Portimão, the crew proved that they are not about to take a back seat to the established names of endurance racing. Still in the LMP2 class, reserved exclusively for private teams, the Richard Mille Racing Team will take a step forward by leaving the European scene for the world stage.
‘I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue with the Richard Mille Racing Team,’ says Tatiana Calderón. ‘To race in the FIA World Endurance Championship against the best drivers in the world will definitely be another milestone in our careers.’
‘I am really looking forward to continuing with the Richard Mille Racing Team in 2021’, adds Beitske Visser. ‘Last year was pretty crazy, between Covid-19 and the fact that I stepped in late during the season, but I really enjoyed working with everyone in the team. I hope we can build on this experience as we move up to the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.’
Beitske Visser, Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderón will once again share a state-of-the-art mechanical partner, an Oreca 07 powered by a Gibson engine, a package they amply got to know last season. All three, however, must expect some differences compared to their first prototype due to the rule changes introduced during the winter.
‘This year will bring new challenges’, says Tatiana Calderón. ‘The car will have a bit less power and will run on Goodyear tyres. We will have to explore the car in testing as soon as possible, but the experience we gained last year will benefit us no matter what.’
‘The changes are mainly about the engine power and tyres, which we will have to get used to,’ explains Beitske Visser. ‘I am sure the team will help us to understand and get the most out of these tyres as quickly as possible to experience a good season!’
As in 2020, technical support of the #1 Oreca-Gibson is entrusted to Philippe Sinault’s Signatech team, which has won two LMP2 world titles as well as bringing home three victories in the last five editions of the calendar’s crown jewel: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
‘We are really pleased to continue the Richard Mille Racing Team adventure! It’s an extremely motivating project as it transcends the sporting dimension by generating a lot of emotion and enthusiasm,’ says Philippe Sinault, director of Signatech Automobiles. ‘We are taking a step forward in joining the FIA World Endurance Championship, but we are confident, given the skills and the learning curve of our three drivers. There will be some new things to figure out, notably with a new package and an operating balance different from last year’s, given the rule changes in LMP2, but we have great ambitions. We’ve all seen that a great dynamic is developing within the team and that motivates us all the more to go for the best possible results.’
‘Having a team like Signatech, with experienced engineers and mechanics behind us is incredible’, add Sophia Flörsch. ‘It made it a lot easier for us, as endurance rookies, during our first season. We all got along really well and enjoyed it a lot, especially at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We are now about to begin our second year of the project and I’m really happy to be part of the Richard Mille Racing Team again as we forge ahead. We will have incredible events lined up, and the highlight of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I really hope that we will see some spectators this year and we are looking forward to starting the season.’
The six-leg calendar will see the Richard Mille Racing Team begin its campaign at Sebring FL, stateside, before returning to Europe for three events on legendary tracks with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Monza. The all-female trio will then head to Asia for the 6 Hours of Fuji in early autumn, before competing in the season finale, the 8 Hours of Bahrain.
‘I hope we can build on our experience this year in the FIA World Endurance Championship’, says Beitske Visser. ‘We will be going to new tracks, which is a good thing as I have always liked to discover new ones, but we will also return to Monza and especially to the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is going to be really cool!’
‘We already got to know the car and some tracks’, concludes Tatiana Calderón. ‘However, we will also have to travel outside Europe more often, which will be a challenge of its own, given the situation the world is going through. Hopefully we can continue to improve, build a strong bond with the team and deliver results. I’m already looking forward to it!’
2021 FIA World Endurance Championship Calendar
13-14 March: Prologue – Sebring (United States)
19 March: 1,000 Miles of Sebring (United States)
1 May : Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
12-13 June: 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
18 July: 6 Hours of Monza (Italy)
26 September: 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)
20 November: 8 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)
(Images © Richard Mille)