The W Series will set to commence their selection process for the remaining eight seats for the 2020 season at Almeria on 16 September.
A three-day test will decide which eight female drivers will join the 12 drivers who finished in the top twelve of the inaugural season and have earned eligibility to compete in 2020. All 12 will not need to attend the test at Almeria, but one or two of them will appear to act as a benchmark for those trying to earn a seat.
Jamie Chadwick, Beitske Visser, Alice Powell, Marta Garcia, Emma Kimilainen, Fabienne Woldwend, Miki Koyama, Sarah Moore, Vicky Piria, Tasmin Pepper, Jessica Hawkins and Sabre Cook all managed to finish in the top twelve of the standings and will be granted entry for 2020. The second season of the W Series will also reward drivers SuperLicence points.
Drivers such as Gosia Rdest, Esmee Hawkey, Megan Gilkes, Sarah Bovy, Shea Holbrook, Naomi Schiff, Caitlin Wood and Vivien Keszthelyi will not be present at the Almeria test in September, having finished outside of the top twelve in the drivers’ championship. The eight drivers however, remain in contention for the remaining seats for next year. The W Series reports that 40 drivers who posses a FIA International C racing licence have applied for the driver process.
W Series’ Racing Director, Dave Ryan says the series plans to use the same process for this year to decide their driver line-up and join the 12 who have earned their spot in the series.
“Prior to the 2019 W Series season, we tested all our drivers at Almeria in W Series race cars – Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars powered by 270bhp 1.8-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo engines made by Autotecnica Motori – and we plan to put our new applicants through exactly the same process,” said Ryan.
“We’ll have one or two drivers from the pool of 12 who are already guaranteed a 2020 W Series drive on hand too, to post comparative lap-times, the better to enable us to understand the ability and speed of our aspiring newcomers.
“To be clear, the eight drivers who finished outside the top 12 in the 2019 W Series championship are not ineligible for our 2020 season; they’re merely not guaranteed to take part in it. Inevitably they’re now on tenterhooks, eager to race with us again next season, but whether they do or not will to a great extent depend on the quality of the newcomers we test at Almeria in a month’s time.”
The debut season of the W Series has met with a positive response for its competitive racing and helping expand the careers of female racing drivers. The series originally met with mixed opinions over the idea of an all-female series, but the increase TV viewership, zero-cost entry fee, fitness and training schemes and its unique ‘spec-series’ style has led to fans tuning in.
The all-female series is the first within Motorsport and aims to help push the careers of female drivers. Already in its debut season, the series has seen the likes of Chadwick earn a test and development role at Williams Racing and Brands Hatch winner Powell securing a drive in IMSA.
Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of the W Series hopes that 2020 will be bigger and better than its debut season, with the excitement of discovering new qualities of talent with the process selection.
“As soon as one W Series season ends, another one begins; or, to be precise, the preparations for another one begin,” commented Bond Muir.
“The 2019 W Series season has been a roaring success, but we fully intend that the 2020 W Series season will be bigger and better.
“I’m excited to discover the quality of our new applicants, and there’s no better way of appraising them than putting them in W Series race cars for three days, so that’s what we’re going to do.”