Yes, a bit of time has passed since our endurance journey to Le Mans, but the memories are as strong as ever. As is our passion for women in motorsports and the good ‘ol U S of A. We are proud to bring you this article on American racer, Andrea Robertson and her amazing performance at Le Mans in 2011.
Who’s REALLY Your Biggest Competitor in the World’s Biggest Race?
On June 11, 2011, Andrea Robertson and her husband, Dave, weren’t exactly having an ordinary day. The middle-aged couple was about to celebrate their wedding anniversary and had just teamed up with David Murray to speed a No. 68 Ford GT-R Mk. VII through the biggest motor race in the world, in front of 249,500 spectators.
“I’m a little excited, but more nervous and apprehensive at what’s in front of us,” Andrea admitted to Autoweek shortly before the race. A number of changes were made that year to the GT class regulations, which applied directly to the Robertson team.
That year, the GT2 class became the GT Endurance category, the only production-based category, separated into GTE Amateurs, which was the Robertsons’ class, and GTE Pro. Regulations were also changed such that new GT cars were officially allowed to have steering wheel-mounted paddle shift systems. While the Robertsons had an all-pro car, it wasn’t granted entry.
“It took a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved, but we have not once considered giving up,” Robertson added. Prior to the race, she found that being a woman made her the “underdog,” forcing her to work harder to compete. While age didn’t make a difference in the competition, she found that competing against her own expectations of herself was the most difficult aspect of the race. She calmed herself with the mantra, “I just want to be the best I can be.”
Her “best” made history. Savoring every lap, Robertson and her team finished third in its class, earning a spot on the podium in spite of an empty tank during warmup. Andrea was officially the first woman on the Le Mans podium in 80 years – just in time for her wedding anniversary. Now there’s a surprise gift that the Robertsons will both remember for years to come!