A new single seater motor racing series specifically for women has been launched, and will have its first championship in 2019.
‘W Series’ is a new single seater motor racing series that will see 18-20 women participate, all of whom will have gone through a rigorous screening process. The cars will be identical, 1.8 litre turbo Autotecnica Motori powered Tatuus T-318s which will have the Halo device fitted. These are on par with current F3-spec cars.
The new series is scheduled to begin racing in the Spring of 2019, but the calendar is yet to be announced. The intention is to use circuits used by Formula 1 and that have held Grands Prix.
The pre-selection process will be carried out by a number of motor racing experts: David Coulthard, Adrian Newey, Dave Ryan & Matt Bishop are all involved in this process. Coulthard, now a retired former Grand Prix winner, works with Channel 4 as a commentator as well as the production side of things with Whisper Films. Adrian Newey is Chief Designer at Red Bull Racing, while Dave Ryan is a former Sporting Director at McLaren and most recently was in charge at Manor Racing before their folding. Matt Bishop most recently worked with McLaren also, having been head of their Communications & PR department for a decade. They will help carry out the process of evaluating on-track testing, simulator appraisal, technical engineering tests and fitness trials as well as providing training in driving techniques, simulator exposure, technical engineering approaches, fitness and media skills.
According to W Series, it will be free to enter for the competitors, while the overall winner will scoop half a million dollars in prize money, with a further one million dollars spread out over the remainder of the field down to 18th position. The intention of the series is to allow graduates to move onto established single seater championships on the ladder such as F2.
“In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, brave and physically fit, but you don’t have to possess the kind of super-powerful strength levels that some sports require.” said David Coulthard. “You also don’t have to be a man. That’s why we at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity.”
“At the moment, however, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent.”
“That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required – W Series – to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms.”