An all-women driver line-up has been announced by Meyer Shank Racing in support of Heinricher Racing LLC and Caterpiller Inc for IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in 2019.
The all-women line-up will feature US Air Force veteran Jackie Heinricher along with Katherine Legge, Simona de Silvestro and Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz) where they will drive the #57 MSR Acura NSX GT3 car.
They will compete in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and also do a full season in the International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA) WeatherTech Sportscar Championship for the 2019 season in the GTD category.
Heinricher, Legge and Fiqueiredo will also race in the 2019 Michelin Endurance Cup Championship with de Silvestro confirmed for the series’ season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Along with their run in the American championships, Heinricher together with MSR and CAT is eyeing an entry in the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 2019. MSR last raced in Le Mans in 2016 in the LMP2 category.
“Caterpillar is committed to a diverse workplace that’s representative of the customers we serve around the world,” said Victoria Morrissey, Global Marketing and Brand Director. “Women are an important, valuable part of our global team and this all-female race team is an example of how we support them.
Heinricher said: “I am honored to partner with CAT and to have their support. My vision has long been to bring together a diverse team of four female drivers, some of the fastest globally, to join forces to compete together.
“And with the support of CAT, I get to see my long held vision become reality. I am excited to be joining Michael Shank and the entire winning MSR team in this amazing partnership and to have the honor to compete with Katherine, Ana, and Simona.”
Owner of MSR, Mike Shank commented: “This is truly a groundbreaking effort for next year, not only for us as a team but for the series as well. It’s great to have Katherine back with us, she has been doing great this season as we fight for the championship.
“I also want to thank Jackie for developing the Caterpillar partnership and we are excited to have her on board. Simona and Bia are also very strong talents, and hopefully with them all joined together we can make a statement next year.”
Experienced racer Legge said: “It feels great, I have always wanted to do something like this to show the appeal of racing to a wider audience. Jackie has done an amazing job to create this opportunity and develop this partnership.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Simona and Bia, and it is exciting to return to Meyer Shank Racing with the Acura NSX GT3. We’ve had great success and we are looking forward to building on that starting at Daytona.”
De Silvestro added: “It’s pretty exciting and I think for sure the line up that we have is really strong. All of us girls have a lot of credibility and I think it will be quite exciting so I’m really looking forward to Daytona. I think the team dynamic will be very strong.
“For myself, it will be a little bit of learning but I am looking forward to it. It’s quite a special feeling to be a part of such a good team that has had a lot of success so I think this is going to be a great car to be in and to give us all a strong shot. I just can’t wait to go racing in Daytona, which I have always dreamt about.”
And Figuerido added:”I never thought this could happen in my career if you were to ask me a few years ago but it feels pretty exciting. I’ve known Katherine and Simona for a long time and they had great success where they have raced.
“The MSR team is always fighting for wins and championships in IMSA and I am sure they will do the best they can to get this girl power team in high positions. I can’t wait to be in the car for such important races like Daytona where I’ve never raced before but I’ve always dreamt about.”
The news comes amid the mixed reaction for the newly-launched all-women ‘W Series’ where many have complained of segregation between the genders – something which they think shouldn’t be done in motor racing.