A Sensational Le Mans 24 Hours For The Richard Mille Racing Team And Sébastien Buemi

Press Release

A Sensational Le Mans 24 Hours For The Richard Mille Racing Team And Sébastien Buemi

The latest 24 Hours of Le Mans was an electrifying event in the world of Richard Mille motorsport partners. Sébastien Buemi took home a third consecutive trophy in LMP1 at the wheel of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid. All eyes were on the Richard Mille Racing Team, making its debut appearance. Its trio of female rookie drivers, Beitske Visser, Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderón turned in an error-free performance to finish a strong 9th in the LMP2 category and 13th overall.

Comprised once again of Tatiana Calderón, Beitske Visser and Sophia Flörsch, the previous round of the European Le Mans Series, the Richard Mille Racing Team line-up experienced its first ever 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Given the ongoing health crisis, the trio of ladies faced a daunting task, as only two three-hour free- practice sessions were scheduled on Thursday prior to qualifying sessions. However, the drivers took full advantage of the time to complete their ten required laps while fine-tuning their settings and experimenting with various tyre compounds from Michelin.

The 45-minute qualifying session was entrusted to Sophia Flörsch. The German driver demonstrated her deft handling in the exercise, clocking in a fastest time of 3:31.020s. Her performance earned the n°50 Oreca-Gibson featuring the logo of the Paris Brain Institute a 20th position in the LMP2 category.

Following on, the crew completed preparations with another five mandatory night-time laps before the final free-practice session on Friday and the warm-up Saturday morning. After 107 laps, more than 1,400 kilometres completed and a final servicing of mechanical components, Tatiana Calderón was charged with the starting slot at 02.30 pm.

Eagerly awaited at the round-the-clock French classic, the Richard Mille Racing Team was determined not to disappoint onlookers. Tatiana Calderón made an excellent start with a perfect mix of aggression, precision and handling to join the battle for the top ten in her first triple stint. Sophia Flörsch then took over and moved up to ninth place, where Beitske Visser consolidated their position.

As darkness fell on the Circuit, the track incidents multiplied throughout the pack. Back behind the wheel, Tatiana Calderón made the most of other drivers’ mistakes to move up into seventh position. The dreaded night-time portion of the 24 Hours of Le Mans did not prove favourable for the Richard Mille Racing Team, and the no 50 car slipped out of the top ten for its category at the mid- point of the race following several unfortunately timed safety car periods.

However, the incredibly similar and consistent pace of the three drivers made it possible for them to turn the trend around at dawn on Sunday as they racked up the triple stints. Their efforts finally paid off and they were well on their way back up when they crossed the finish line in ninth place in their category.

On the strength of this first successful completion of the Sarthe region’s legendary race, the Richard Mille Racing Team is already looking forward to returning in nine months to try for further feats. Well before then, however, Beitske Visser, Sophia Flörsch and Tatiana Calderón will be back behind the wheel at Monza (October 9-11) for the penultimate leg of the 2020 European Le Mans Series season.

(Images by Richard Mille)