The W Series has announced six new drivers to join the 2020 Season, whilst 2019 champion Jamie Chadwick will stay on for another year to defend her title.
The Series has announced 18 of the 20 drivers that will race in the 2020 W Series season, with 12 of the 18 drivers competed in last year’s championship, and have earned their place from finishing in the top 12 of the drivers’ championship.
As well as welcoming the 12 returnees for 2020, the W Series has added six new drivers into their program, after completing a three-day test at Almeria, Spain. 14 drivers attended the test in a bid to earn a seat for next year.
Norway’s Ayla Agren and Brazilian’s Bruna Tomaselli both attempted to qualify for last year’s season but missed the cut. Now, both drivers have managed to earn a spot for the 2020 season in their second attempt.
The Series will also welcome British sportscars driver Abbie Eaton into the series, partnering up alongside fellow Brits Chadwick, Alice Powell, Sarah Moore, and Jessica Hawkins. Eaton, as well as racing, is also a test driver for the popular Amazon Prime TV series The Grand Tour.
Two Spaniards in Belen Garcia and Nerea Marti secured a space in the Series for next year, whilst Russian’s Irina Sidorkova will be the youngest driver on the grid from the current line-up at 16 years-old.
W Series CEO, Catherine Bond Muir says the list of drivers for next year’s championship is impressive with a varied group of drivers from different nationalities and ages ranging from 16 to 30 years old.
“Almost as soon as the sun had set on Brands Hatch, scene of the 2019 W Series championship finale, on Sunday August 11th, we at W Series began preparing for our 2020 season,” said Bond Muir.
“More than 40 new drivers applied to race with us in 2020 and, after a three-day on-track test at Almeria last month, and a rigorous lap-time and data-analysis programme thereafter, we’re now able to announce the first 18 of the 20 drivers who’ll compete in the 2020 W Series championship.
“It’s an impressive list, including the top 12 from our 2019 season, and six new drivers, who all performed well at Almeria. The result is a varied and international group, comprising 18 drivers from 12 countries, ranging in age from the super-experienced Finn, Emma Kimilainen, 30, to the very promising young Russian, Irina Sidorkova, 16.
“Our commiserations go to those whom we haven’t selected, but sadly their disappointment is simply an example of the jeopardy inherent in any athlete’s life at the higher levels of competitive sport. The more you can win, the more you can lose.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Race Director, oversaw the testing and decision on who will join the W Series for 2020, was impressed by the 14 drivers who attended testing in Spain, making it difficult to select six drivers for the 2020 roster.
“I was generally impressed by the 14 drivers whom we tested and appraised at Almeria last month, and making our selection was correspondingly difficult,” commented Ryan.
“But we’ve crunched all the data to the best of our ability, and I’m therefore confident that the 18 drivers whom we’ve selected so far represent an excellent line-up.
“But we’ve left two spaces available, to allow us a little more time to select the final two drivers who, together with the 18 drivers we’ve already selected, will make up the 20 drivers who’ll contest the 2020 W Series championship.”
Race winners from the 2019 season Beitske Visser, Emma Kimilainen, Marta Garcia, Powell, and Chadwick will return to the championship for 2020, having finished in the top 12 last season.
Chadwick, who won the first season of the W Series at her home race at Brands Hatch, will return to defend her title after speculation over her future in her career in Motorsport.
The Brit, partnered with Formula 1‘s Williams Racing as their simulator driver, could be set to race in a second series, announcing on her Social Media that she will reveal more detail on her plans next year.
The 2020 Season of W Series will reward drivers SuperLicence points, a vital asset needed in order to race in F1. The FIA last season recognised the W Series as a Formula 3 category, and will officially award drivers points on their license over a three-year period.
The Series will also reward drivers with prize money once again, with Chadwick winning £500,000 last year. The total prize money and the calendar for the 2020 season is yet to be confirmed.