Italian racing team Iron Lynx raced on home ground in Tuscany this weekend in a three-hour race at Mugello in the Campionato Italiano GT Endurance. Having last appeared in the championship in 2019, the team’s entry of two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s made this the ninth racing series in which the team will compete during 2021.
Both cars were entered in the GT3-Am class – the #60 car driven by Claudio Schiavoni, Andrea Piccini and Rino Mastronardi, plus the #83 Iron Dames entry of Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting.
In qualifying, on aggregate times, it was the Iron Dames entry which excelled, outqualifying the Pro-Am entries in fifth overall and just a tenth away from the top three, while heading the GT3-Am class. Second in GT3-Am and in tenth overall was #60 but with a three-hour endurance event ahead and threatening clouds, anything could happen.
For #60 it was a trying start to the race, Claudio Schiavoni suffering tyre difficulties in the first stint but still bringing the car from 15th into 11th place before handing to Rino Mastronardi. Rino then distinguished himself as the conditions worsened, keeping the Ferrari well in contention and forging into second place overall before Andrea Piccini took the wheel for the final 50 minutes. Rejoining sixth, Piccini delivered a masterful drive to close a gap of 45 seconds on the GT3-Pro opposition ahead, eventually finishing as class winner and ahead of both Pro- and Pro-Am opposition.
Michelle Gatting meanwhile started #83 from fifth but soon started experiencing problems with the car’s power steering. Though she made herculean efforts to remain in fifth after half an hour, there was no alternative but to pit the car for safety reasons. Re-joining with a loss of three laps, Sarah Bovy and then Rahel Frey put in mega stints, running with highly competitive lap times as they sought to catch the tail-end of the field before race end – and succeeded. From a distant 16th place, the Iron Dames machine battled up to 13th by the flag to collect the final GT3-Am spot on the podium.
Iron Lynx team principal, and driver, Andrea Piccini, commented: “Mugello has given us an amazing race. It is very satisfying to be on the top step of the GT3-Am podium and to be among the fastest on track throughout the race – mixing it with the Pro- and Pro-Am categories. It was a shame for the Iron Dames that we had this technical problem – their driving performances merited much more than their result on paper”.
Iron Lynx travels to Monza for the coming weeks – with the Michelin Le Mans Cup and European Le Mans Series next weekend, followed a week later by the FIA World Endurance Championship, where the team will be aiming high in their home races.