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Bell Racing launches Women in Motorsports Mentor Program

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On Friday, Bell Racing USA announced the creation of the Bell Helmets Women in Motorsports Mentor Program designed to offer an opportunity to women interested in a career in the industry.

Through the program, women on and off the track can receive advice from a group of women with diverse experiences in motorsports.

“Mentorship is a critical element in helping people learn, maximize their talents and achieve success in any field, including the sport of racing,” said Kyle Kietzmann, president and chief operating officer of Bell Racing USA. “We are proud to help facilitate a mentorship program for women in motorsports and grateful to the athletes and industry experts who are so willing to share their knowledge and experience, offering advice and guidance to women as they follow their dreams and pursue a career in racing.

MORE: Pippa Mann: The W series is a sad day for motorsport 

The program will begin in January with the participating experts writing for the Bell Racing USA blog. Using that platform, they will offer advice, tips and lessons learned during their career. Women with questions about careers in motorsports or female racers looking for guidance can submit questions to mentor@bellracing.com.

“We have been considering a women’s mentorship program for a while, and with so much recent talk about an equal playing field for women in motorsports, now feels like the right time to launch,” said Chris Wheeler, director of motorsports at Bell Racing USA. “The successes of the impressive group we’ve brought together to mentor the next generation of women in racing are proof that you don’t have to be a man to succeed in this sport, whether on or off the track.”

Some of the women participating in the program are:

  • Kendra Jacobs, marketing director, Knoxville Raceway
  • Ashley Sanford, NHRA Top Fuel driver
  • Shea Holbrook, sports car driver
  • Sarah Fisher, Indy 500 veteran and business owner
  • McKenna Haase, winged sprint car driver
  • Katherine Legge – sports car and Formula E driver
  • Pippa Mann – Indy 500 veteran and sports car driver
  • Ana Beatriz – IndyCar veteran and Brazilian Stock Car driver

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.