The Iron Dames team is proud to announce that its founder, Deborah Mayer, was presented with the ‘Spirit of Le Mans 2024’ trophy by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) at the official press conference for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The first woman to receive this award

The “Spirit of Le Mans” Trophy celebrates individuals who embody the fundamental values of endurance racing: passion, dedication and perseverance. Deborah Mayer’s passion for motorsport, combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and drive for progress, has made her an inspiration. The launch of the Iron Dames project in 2018 reflects her determination to provide women with the opportunity to excel in a highly competitive arena that is still largely perceived as male-dominated. She is the first woman to win this coveted trophy and adds her name to the list of illustrious figures in motorsport history who have been honoured before her by the ACO.

Dedicated to excellence and to future generations

The Iron Dames project has already made motorsport history on a number of occasions, culminating so far in the victory of the first all-female team in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Bahrain 8 Hours in 2023. Beyond the victories and firsts, the project continues to evolve, opening up new horizons through her leadership. Today, Iron Dames Racing has 12 drivers working on all fronts: endurance, single-seater, rally and karting. In 2024, in addition to the expansion of the project to include equestrian sport, the promising entry into single-seater racing with Doriane Pin and Marta Garcia, rallying and the launch of the “Iron Dames Young Talents” project to identify and develop young girls in karting, reflect the commitment to the future of the sport and the legacy from one generation to the next. Meanwhile, 50 women in different roles and with different responsibilities are at the heart of the project.

Gratitude and Emotion

At the ceremony, Deborah Mayer expressed her gratitude and emotion: ” I am deeply grateful, honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ award. It’s a moving moment, and beyond my person, a significant moment for the place of women in motorsport. This recognition is the fruit of the passion, hard work and determination of our drivers, Rahel, Sarah and Michelle here today, and of all our teams, and I am infinitely grateful to them.”

A tribute to ACO and FIA WEC

Deborah Mayer also thanked those who had supported the Iron Dames project from the beginning, in particular Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO: “I’m not forgetting that the Iron Dames adventure began within the ACO championships, in particular the Michelin Le Mans Cup and the European Le Mans Series, and that we were able to take part in our first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019 thanks to your special invitation. My gratitude is all the greater, and I would like to pay a special tribute to Pierre Fillon, whose unwavering support has been essential to the success of the project and who works with conviction and determination to ensure the positive development of our sport. I would also like to pay tribute to Frederic Lequien and all the teams at the ACO and the WEC who make it possible for the Championships to develop and shine throughout the world.  

Towards an inclusive future

Motorsport has come a long way and the Iron Dames team is committed to continuing to promote equal opportunities and develop female talent, from junior to professional categories. Deborah Mayer stressed the importance of continuing to work towards a future where every talent, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.

The Iron Dames’ participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the sixth consecutive year, under the banner “Every Dream Matters”, symbolises their commitment and contribution to the legend and the future. The team will continue to uphold the values of endurance racing and promote female talent worldwide.

The Iron Dames team would once again like to thank the ACO for this recognition and all those who, through their involvement and commitment, share this passion for a more inclusive and increasingly popular motorsport.

Deborah Mayer concluded: “We must all continue to push for a future where every talent, regardless of gender, regardless of professional field, has the opportunity to realise their dreams. This is the purpose of the “Every Dream Matters” project. Every dream counts and everyone deserves the opportunity to make it come true. “Being an Iron Dame” is an attitude that should inspire every generation and every professional field where women are present and can excel at the highest level. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, with no insurmountable barriers. I associate this “Le Mans Spirit” award with all the women who, through their commitment and actions at all levels and in all professions, contribute to the beauty and future of endurance racing.”


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