W Series reveals 18-driver grid for inaugural season
The all-female W Series championship has announced an 18-driver roster for its inaugural season in 2018, following a final selection test at Almeria.
British GT4 and MRF Challenge champion Jamie Chadwick, former Red Bull junior Beitske Visser and ex-Formula Renault standout Alice Powell are among the names headlining the newly-formed grid.
The 18 drivers were selected from the list of 28 who had made it through the initial assessment in Austria in January.
“After four intensive days’ testing in Almeria, finishing yesterday, and four equally rigorous days’ trials in Melk in January, as you can imagine we’d amassed a huge amount of data,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said.
“So our judges, led by Dave Ryan, then crunched that data in order to determine who would be the 18 drivers to contest the first ever single-seater racing series for female drivers.
“To those drivers who didn’t make it through, I offer my commiserations, of course, but I also say ‘well done’.
“All our drivers worked diligently, studied hard, and drove well, including those who didn’t make it through.
“To the 18 drivers who did make it through, I say ‘big congrats and very well done’.”
The four-day test in Almeria marked the drivers' first opportunity to sample the series' Tatuus T-318 car.
The first 12 names on the grid were selected on the basis of the first three days of running, leaving the final day as a shoot-out for the remaining six places in the roster, as well as the four reserve driver slots.
Sarah Bovy, Vivien Keszthelyi, Stephane Kox and Francesca Linossi have been named as the reserves for the inaugural W Series.
Meanwhile, those missing out entirely include ARCA driver Natalie Decker and ex-Formula 2 racer Natalia Kowalska.
W Series racing director Ryan said: “It’s been tough on a few of the women, but to be honest the ones that have gone through have done a really good job over the four days in Almeria.
“That’s the end of one part and the start of another. We’re all happy, although obviously a couple of the women are disappointed, but that’s sadly how it is and they have just got to keep trying.”
“This has been a more difficult selection process than we ever could have dreamt of in terms of how close it has been across the field,” added fellow W Series chief David Coulthard.
W Series will hold a pre-season test at Lausitzring on April 14-16, before the six-round campaign, running in support of the DTM, begins at Hockenheim on May 4-5.
W Series 2019 grid
|Jamie Chadwick||British F3, British GT (GT4 champion)|
|Sabre Cook||Road to Indy, US F4|
|Marta Garcia||Spanish F4|
|Megan Gilkes||F1200 Canada|
|Esmee Hawkey||Porsche Carrera Cup GB|
|Jessica Hawkins||Mini Challenge|
|Shea Holbrook||Lamborghini Super Trofeo|
|Miki Koyama||Japanese F4|
|Sarah Moore||LMP3, Ginetta Junior (champion)|
|Tasmin Pepper||VW Engen Polo Cup|
|Vicky Piria||GP3, European F3 Open|
|Alice Powell||GP3, Formula Renault UK (champion)|
|Gosia Rdest||Audi TT Cup, GT4|
|Naomi Schiff||Formula Renault 2.0, GT4 European|
|Beitske Visser||Formula Renault 3.5, GT4 European|
|Fabienne Wohlwend||Ferrari Europe|
|Caitlin Wood||Blancpain GT|
Gallery: First-ever W Series testing at Almeria
Garcia describes “relief” at making W Series grid