The Dames, it’s worth pointing out, have grown their fanbase largely thanks to their exceptional results—they’re not just a novelty act. Over the past few seasons, the team has consistently set records and made history, achieving the first-ever pole position and podium in WEC for an all-female team, along with dozens of other podiums over the past few years.
And at this past weekend’s WEC finale in Bahrain, they made even more history by becoming the first all-female team to win a WEC race, clinching second place in the championship thanks to their emotional victory.
“Getting more women interested in motorsports has always been our main goal,” Frey adds. “But I always knew that even more was possible for us—continually breaking records, breaking barriers, and breaking stereotypes.”
Throughout the history of motorsports, women drivers have faced an uphill battle, to put it mildly. During parts of the last century, some races and racing series outright banned women from competing, and few pipelines existed to help promising female racers rise through the ranks. Aside from a few notable exceptions—Danica Patrick is the most recent high-profile racer, and she retired in 2018—women have rarely participated in top levels of the sport. Today, there are no women driving full time in Formula 1, IndyCar, or NASCAR, even though these series are no longer exclusive to men.
But the Dames feel that the tides are finally changing. In addition to their own historic run, they point to a number of other recent successes for women in motorsports: the creation of the Formula 1 Academy, an all-women feeder series for Formula 1; the creation of Extreme E, an electric rally series that mandates its teams employ one woman driver; and English driver Katherine Legge setting the fastest qualifying speed for a woman at this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“Women have already shown that gender doesn’t make a difference in our aptitudes to drive a car fast,” says Bovy. “At the end of the day, all that really matters is your lap time.”
When asked about the critics who still insist that women don’t belong at the highest level—that they cannot handle the G forces of a fast racecar, for example—Bovy simply laughs: “I don’t even take the time to analyze the brains of those kinds of people.”