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.

W Series reveals 18-driver grid for inaugural season
Listen to this article

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’.”

Gallery:

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

Driver Background
United Kingdom Jamie Chadwick British F3, British GT (GT4 champion)
United States Sabre Cook Road to Indy, US F4
Spain Marta Garcia Spanish F4
Canada Megan Gilkes F1200 Canada
United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Porsche Carrera Cup GB
United Kingdom Jessica Hawkins Mini Challenge
United States Shea Holbrook Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Finland Emma Kimilainen STCC
Japan Miki Koyama Japanese F4
United Kingdom Sarah Moore LMP3, Ginetta Junior (champion)
South Africa Tasmin Pepper VW Engen Polo Cup
Italy Vicky Piria GP3, European F3 Open
United Kingdom Alice Powell GP3, Formula Renault UK (champion)
Poland Gosia Rdest Audi TT Cup, GT4
Belgium Naomi Schiff Formula Renault 2.0, GT4 European
Netherlands Beitske Visser Formula Renault 3.5, GT4 European
Liechtenstein Fabienne Wohlwend Ferrari Europe
Australia Caitlin Wood Blancpain GT
shares
comments
Gallery: First-ever W Series testing at Almeria
Previous article

Gallery: First-ever W Series testing at Almeria

Next article

Garcia describes “relief” at making W Series grid

Garcia describes “relief” at making W Series grid
Chadwick's U-turn poses big questions for W Series Prime

Chadwick's U-turn poses big questions for W Series

With two W Series titles under her belt, Jamie Chadwick appears to be the perfect candidate to break into FIA Formula 3. But a shock return to the series in 2022 appears a curious move – not just for her, but for the all-female series too

W Series
Feb 23, 2022
How W Series can confront its biggest enduring issue Prime

How W Series can confront its biggest enduring issue

Two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick finds herself in a predicament. The Williams F1 development driver has more than proven herself in the all-female series and has little to gain from returning. But where should she go next? And how will the series move forwards if she elects to take up her reserved slot on next year's grid? Whatever she decides, it poses important questions for the series' future

W Series
Nov 5, 2021
The nightmare season of a W Series title favourite Prime

The nightmare season of a W Series title favourite

She came into 2021 as a W Series title contender, but Beitske Visser has had a frustrating season, marred by a horrific crash at Spa and floundering in 12th place in the drivers’ standings. After misfortune and on-track clashes, the Dutch driver wishes the season was just starting now

W Series
Oct 20, 2021
The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet Prime

The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet

As the only mum in W Series, Emma Kimilainen has a different perspective than many of her rivals. After her swashbuckling drive to victory at a sodden Spa, the Finn now has a real chance of getting into the title fight, and can call on an approach that has been a boost through myriad past disappointments

W Series
Sep 3, 2021
How Powell is making the most of a second chance in W Series Prime

How Powell is making the most of a second chance in W Series

After four years of making only irregular race appearances, Alice Powell had good reason to believe that her dreams of becoming a professional driver were over. But W Series has provided a second chance that she has firmly grasped, Powell's popular home win at Silverstone prompting the new series leader to look ahead to a bright future

W Series
Jul 30, 2021
Why Chadwick is taking nothing for granted ahead of W Series return Prime

Why Chadwick is taking nothing for granted ahead of W Series return

W Series is back this weekend after a year away. This time it’s supporting F1, and reigning champion Jamie Chadwick is up for the challenge of taking another title - but knows with higher stakes will come even more motivated opposition

W Series
Jun 24, 2021
Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series Prime

Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series

W Series finally got off the ground in 2019 despite its critics and had expected to build on its momentum this season. Instead the COVID-19 crisis has put its plans on hold, but for the fledgling series it could prove a blessing in disguise

W Series
Jul 27, 2020
The one thing W Series needs in 2020 to continue its rise Prime

The one thing W Series needs in 2020 to continue its rise

The first season of the W Series can be considered a major motorsport success story, but at the same time certain elements of its philosophy were exposed as problems. For its second season, there's one issue in particular it needs to address

W Series
Jan 15, 2020