Legge, Eaton, Agren among 2020 W Series applicants

Former IndyCar racer Katherine Legge and Abbie Eaton are among 14 drivers who will take part in the 2020 W Series selection test at Almeria next week.

Legge, Eaton, Agren among 2020 W Series applicants

The top 12 drivers from the inaugural championship automatically qualified for a place on the grid next year, leaving eight seats up for grabs.

Those places will be decided in a test at the Spanish venue on September 16-18, where W Series chiefs using it to evaluate how the 14 new contenders compare to those who raced in the championship this year but missed out on an automatic berth.

Legge, whose career also includes a stint in Formula E, now races full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Meyer Shank Racing.

Eaton became a household name in the UK via her test driver role on the Amazon Grand Tour series, and has been racing in Supercars feeder series Super2 this season.

Other contenders include Spanish Formula 4 race winner Belen Garcia and 2014 US F1600 champion Ayla Agren, who was controversially not selected for the inaugural season.

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Agren's former Road to Indy rival Bruna Tomaselli and European Le Mans Series racer Michelle Gatting, who raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the all-female Kessel Ferrari team, are likewise on the list.

Beitske Visser and Miki Koyama will attend the test to set benchmark times for the new hopefuls.

W Series race director Dave Ryan told Motorsport.com the focus of the Almeria test would be "to look at the drivers in the actual race cars and see how they get on working with the engineers, how they adapt to the racecar itself, and to look at how they performed over the course of two or three days at the circuit".

Track action in the WSeries Tatuus F3 T-318 car

Track action in the WSeries Tatuus F3 T-318 car

Photo by: W Series

He added: “We want to get the highest quality grid we can. It’s really difficult, because these drivers are all competing at different championships to different levels, different age groups, some haven’t been driving for a little while, but did used to drive to a high standard.

"So it’s a question of trying to filter through all that and get drivers who deserve to be up there.”

Around 40 drivers applied for a place on the W Series grid. Of those, 12 were invited directly to the Almeria test, while another 13 were invited to an assessment day at the championship headquarters in Surrey last week.

Drivers ran at Assen and the Norisring on the series’ simulators, with Eaton and Abbie Munro chosen for the Almeria test of the drivers who participated.

“We have too many applicants and we can’t give every applicant the same opportunities,” Ryan added. “We had to try to filter the applicants to see who looks like they present the best potential going forwards, and then bring them into the programme as best we can. Were a bit of a victim of our own success, in some ways.”

Despite the increase in interest from last season, Ryan said increasing the grid beyond 20 cars “had not been discussed”.

2020 W Series contenders:

2019 drivers with guaranteed spots 2019 drivers without guaranteed spots New applicants attending the Almeria test

United Kingdom Jamie Chadwick

Netherlands Beitske Visser

United Kingdom Alice Powell

Spain Marta Garcia

Finland Emma Kimilainen

Liechtenstein Fabienne Wohlwend

Japan Miki Koyama

United Kingdom Sarah Moore

Italy Vicky Piria

South Africa Tasmin Pepper

United States Sabre Cook

United Kingdom Jessica Hawkins

Australia Caitlin Wood

Poland Gosia Rdest

South Africa Naomi Schiff

United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey

Hungary Vivien Keszthelyi

Canada Megan Gilkes

Belgium Sarah Bovy

United States Shea Holbrook

United Kingdom Abbie Eaton

United Kingdom Abbie Munro

Japan Anna Inotsume

Norway Ayla Agren

Spain Belen Garcia

Brazil Bruna Tomaselli

New Zealand Chelsea Herbert

United States Courtney Crone

Czech Republic Gabriela Jilkova

United States Hannah Grisham

Russian Federation Irina Sidorkova

United Kingdom Katherine Legge

Denmark Michelle Gatting

Spain Nerea Marti

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