W Series to race in Russia and Sweden for 2020

by Vince Pettit
W-Series

Russia and Sweden will join the W Series for the second season as it runs alongside the DTM series for six rounds.

The eighteen-car-field will get their first taste of race action at the newly built circuit called Igora Drive near St. Petersburg, Russia on the last weekend of May (29/30) before heading to Anderstorp in Sweden mid-June (12/13).

“We at W Series are thrilled to announce two exciting and important new countries in which W Series will race in 2020: Russia and Sweden,” said W Series Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Bond Muir.

“Our Swedish race, at Anderstorp, will take W Series to the Nordics for the first time, a region that’s home to our Finnish driver Emma Kimilainen, who was one of the stars of the 2019 W Series championship, winning at Assen [Netherlands] last season, as well as one of our new-for-2020 drivers, our recently announced Norwegian driver Ayla Agren.

“Our Russian race, at St Petersburg, will be the home fixture for the youngest driver in the 2020 W Series championship, 16-year-old Irina Sidorkova, from Petrozavodsk, which is also in Russia albeit 266 miles [428km] north-east of St Petersburg.

“Both Sweden and Russia represent important new territories for W Series, powerful economies both, appealing to fans, media and sponsors alike.

“We’ll announce the complete 2020 W Series championship calendar as and when we’ve finalised it.”

Igora-Drive
Igora Drive Credit: W Series

The initial six races are as follows

  • St Petersburg, Russia May 29-30
  • Anderstorp, Sweden June 12-13
  • Monza, Italy June 26-27
  • Norisring, Germany July 10-11
  • Brands Hatch, UK August 22-23
  • Assen, Netherlands September 4-5

W Series Racing Director Dave Ryan added, “I don’t yet know a huge amount about the newly built St Petersburg circuit, having never been there before, but the DTM drivers who’ve visited it have been very complimentary about it, describing it as fast and technical, finishing with an exciting uphill final sector consisting of a series of quick-fire corners, a hairpin and a long straight. 

“By contrast I know a lot about Anderstorp, having been a member of the McLaren Formula 1 team when we raced there in the 1970s. It was and still is an unusual circuit, containing several banked turns, including the very long 180-degree Karusell right-hander, and it often therefore delivered unpredictable results.

“For example, in 1976, the two six-wheeled Tyrrells of Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler finished first and second, having not looked like winning any other Formula 1 Grands Prix that year, which makes Anderstorp unique in having hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix won by a six-wheeled car.

“And a couple of years later Niki Lauda won at Anderstorp in the spectacular Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT46B ‘fan car’, which dominated the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix but never raced in Formula 1 again, thereby winning its one and only Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“I’m not going to be so bold as to promise that W Series will make racing history to quite that extent in Russia or Sweden next year, but we’re absolutely delighted to be able to announce that W Series will be racing on two such exciting circuits.”

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