Amanda Mille – hypercars inspire hyperwatches

Richard Mille has never before been so deeply involved in the world of motor racing as now, and the reasons why are plain to see: he makes watches that are little short of wrist racing machines.

Iconic models inspired by the cutting-edge concepts and technology developed in the racing world. Here we offer a few insights into Richard Mille’s commitment to technological advancement through partnerships with some of the world’s most iconic hypercar constructors, as well as his passion for the sport itself, manifest in the Richard Mille Racing Team.

Following a great rookie campaign that earned them a top-10 spot in the European Le Mans Series, this formerly all-female team is set to take on the FIA World Endurance Championship in a new, mixed form. We spoke to Richard Mille’s daughter Amanda, Brand & Partners Director, about this important change in the line-up.

© Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

K.F. Why did you decide to change the RMRT from all female to mixed?
A.M.When we set the Richard Mille Racing Team up three years ago, the idea was very much that of making a point about the lack of opportunities for female drivers, and we needed a 100% ladies team to get that point across. If we’d started out with a mixed team, even if the results were good, people would’ve likely attributed all the success to the men! But seeing three women – Beitske Visser, Sophia Florsch and Tatiana Calderon – behind the wheel of an LMP2 in the WEC really made heads turn and people began to acknowledge the true potential of female racing drivers.

KF: How do you go about replacing such an excellent team?

AM: Pretty much the usual way, holding trials to find young female drivers. Not an easy task, given the extremely limited number of women racers and the fact that most of them have little or no experience driving an LMP2. It takes a heck of a lot of skill to control these cars! Throughout the trials one young French woman really stood out – Lilou Wadoux.

KF: Where did you find her?
AM: At Le Mans last year. She was driving a Porsche round the track before the race started. We could hardly believe it when we heard it was the first time she’d driven the car, but there she was setting the pace and leading the field and at just 20! She’s got a real passion for cars and sees endurance racing as a great way of furthering her career.

KF: Isn’t it a bit risky taking on such a young driver?
AM: Obviously! And there’s the point. It’s what the RMRT is all about – going beyond conventions and questioning ideas. We’re going to give Lilou all the support she needs, and for this she needs the right team. The great thing is that since the end of last season we’ve had some really good male drivers asking to drive with us, some big names too.

KF: Who came asking?
AM: The first was Charles Milesi, winner of last year’s 24 hours of Le Mans, followed by Sebastien Ogier, a many-time rally champion who’s been with the brand since 2016. I’m pretty sure neither of them would have come if they didn’t see Lilou’s potential. Nevertheless they’ll still have to prove themselves up to the challenge.

KF: So the all-female campaign is over now?
AM: We weren’t exactly campaigners. Our ‘mission’, if you like, was simply to prove that given the resources women drivers can go every bit as far and as fast as the men. This mixed team is simply the natural evolution of the project. We’ve shown that women can hold their own in motor racing. There are few sports that are truly unisex, where both sexes compete on absolutely equal terms, basically we’ve got show jumping and now (fortunately) motor racing.

KF: So we’ve finally reached a ‘post-diversity’ world?
AM: Absolutely. Like I said, we needed an all-female team at the start just to get ourselves noticed and make people talk. Now all we want is for women to be judged and win on equal terms with the men. We’ve reached the point where drivers are no longer considered a gendered category. Gender should never stop you doing anything, especially in an egalitarian sport like motor racing. We want to be recognised simply as sportspeople, and great drivers! Winners, not campaigners, are the ones who end up on the podium. Bring on next season!

Left: RM 40-01 Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail – Right: RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren

Richard Mille & McLaren

There’s little doubt that if asked what brand has been consistently synonymous with innovation in the world of Grand Prix Racing over the last 50 years, most people would have to say McLaren.

The association between Richard Mille and McLaren goes back a long way. The founder himself still vividly remembers back in 1981 when McLaren introduced the first all-carbonfibre monocoque to Formula 1. Inspired by this revolutionary technology that would change the face of the sport, years later he managed to adapt the same technology – carbon fibre – for the baseplates of his watch movements and cases.

Constant technical innovation, painstaking attention to detail and ongoing success are common to the philosophies of both of these excellent brands, and the reason why Richard Mille entered into a 10-year partnership with this celebrated hypercar constructor.

One of the first result of their collaboration came in 2017 with the RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren, a technical masterpiece offering unrivalled mechanical performance. Working with the University of Manchester, Richard Mille and McLaren F1 managed to create world’s lightest mechanical chronograph, applying precision engineering to the University’s cutting-edge graphene research.

© Mathieu-Cesar

This led to the establishment of the National Graphene Institute at the university in 2015 and further research into new applications for this revolutionary material. Thanks to the synergy betweenthe University of Manchester, McLaren Applied Technologies and North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT®), Richard Mille succeeded in producing a machinable watch case in an improved form of Carbon TPT, and introducing an entirely new material to watchmaking: Graph TPTTM, an evolved form of graphene

Richard Mille embodies the very essence of motorsport: dedication to the ultimate mechanical challenge, inspired by the concepts and materials used in Formula 1.

Over a relatively short span of time, Richard Mille and his team’s vision and dedication have affirmed the brand as the cutting-edge of Haute Horologerie, a truly remarkable achievement.

Richard Mille & Ferrari

Richard Mille has never before been so deeply involved in the world of motor racing as now, and the reasons why are plain to see: he makes watches that are little short of wrist racing machines.

For the last 70 years, Ferrari has always been ahead of the field, striving for excellence both on and off the track, elevating the company into one of the most recognisable brands on the planet.
Founded in 2001 Richard Mille rapidly established itself as one of the leading players in the luxury watchmaking sector, itself with a passion for technical innovation and a desire to mirror the technology and materials used in the cutting-edge sport of Formula 1
Now Richard Mille has announced an exciting new partnership between the two brands, both not only named after their founders, but equally striving for excellence in their respective fields.

In 2021, luxury Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille embarked on a five-year partnership with Ferrari, in a perfect meeting of minds: both with true passion for pioneering technology, both acknowledged as being true works of art.
This meeting of minds is natrually based on shared values. Both brands draw inspiration in the white-heat of technology, bringing together ancestral knowledge and cutting-edge, state of the art innovation and passion to create true world-beating excellence in their respective fields.
With a view to the long-term, the partnership will touch on all the racing categories Ferrari competes in, from Formula 1 to WEC endurance programs and GT competitions.
Richard Mille will also be backing Ferrari’s Driver Academy, a training ground for new talent, as well as actively supporting the Ferrari Challenge series. Since 1993 this renowned single-marque championship has brought together thousands of gentleman drivers from all over the globe for the honour of competing.

Ferrari is historically acknoweldged as the embodiment of cutting-edge technology and beauty, true works of art. These same attributes are synonymous with Richard Mille’s watches, symbols of modernity, performance and technical prowess.
The company will be developing a specific range of watches in close collaboration with Ferrari’s design department, to create and produce stunning timepieces that bring together technology and aesthetics of the highest order, driven by a shared passion.