Women are not as well represented in motor sports as they should be, but Audi wants to change that. The German automaker is partnering with GMG Racing to field an all-female race team, consisting of American Ashley Freiberg, and Polish driver Gosia Rdest. The duo will compete in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 26.
Freiberg is an old hand at Daytona, one of the most prestigious U.S. racetracks. She was the first woman to win a race there. Her teammate, Rdest, placed first in class at the Dubai 24-hour race just two weeks ago. After Daytona, Rdest will continue the racing season in Europe in the 2018 SRO GT4 European Series.
“Women are few and far between in motorsports, so the opportunity to join an all-women team with Audi is really exciting,” Freiberg said in a statement. “My gender doesn’t make a difference when I’m behind the wheel. I still have to do a good job, and drive the car hard; data and lap times don’t lie. I think we’ll be a strong team, not because we’re female, but because we’re drivers that are ready to do the job well.”
Of the few women to reach the upper levels of motor sports, many have driven for Audi. The list includes Michèle Mouton, who took four victories in the World Rally Championship during the classic “Group B” era, and won the 1985 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Outside the cockpit, Leena Gade became the first female engineer on a winning 24 Hours of Le Mans team during Audi’s years of dominating the legendary French race.
Freiberg and Rdest will share an Audi R8 LMS GT4, a racing version of Audi’s R8 supercar. The race car has the same 5.2-liter V10 as the the R8 road car, but features numerous modifications to make it ready for the track. At Daytona, the R8 LMS GT4 will face off against cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche Cayman, and McLaren 570S.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 26. You can catch the action live at IMSA.tv, or wait for the rebroadcast on FS1 on Saturday, February 10.
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