18-Driver W Series Grid Confirmed

W Series Drivers.jpg

The first all female racing series has confirmed the 18 drivers who will take part in the new category later this year.

In an effort to increase participation of female racing drivers in top level motorsports, a new category of racing designed exclusively for female racing drivers has been formed, and will act as official support category for the 2019 DTM touring car championship during the year ahead.

Is the W Series a good thing for female motorsport participation? Hear our thoughts on the subject during the latest RaceDepartment Podcast found HERE.

Open to any aspiring or current female racing driver, the series hopefuls have undertaken an array of rigorous and thorough tests and assessments in recent months as the category looked to identify those drivers they wish to represent the W Series in the year ahead.

Initially starting out with a pool of 28 hopeful candidates, the panel of expert judges dwindled that list down to a final group of 18 to compete in the new series this year, following four final days of intensive testing at the Circuito de Almeria track in Spain.

Of those drivers selected, the field consists of no less than 13 nationalities and many successful junior categories of racing talent, including Englishwomen Alice Powell, a former Formula Renault BARC champion, 2019 MRF Challenge title-winner Jamie Chadwick and Porsche Carrera Cup GB driver Esmee Hawkey.

“We’re at the end of the driver selection process and 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" said series Racing Director, Dave Ryan.​

“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.”
Formula McLaren and Red Bull Formula One driver David Coulthard acts as W Series Advisory Board Chairman, and the Scottish driver turned TV pundit has been impressed with the performance of the drivers throughout the process.

“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. The rate of learning has been really impressive to see, and that’s absolutely what we need to see in those who have relatively little experience in single-seaters, but have got natural speed.

“The emotion attached to it has got nothing whatever to do with whether they’re male or female. It’s just that, having had the pleasure of being a professional driver, I know how privileged that is, and I sincerely want all of them who have gone through this process to have professional racing careers at whatever level their talent will allow them to go to. This represents today one big step closer to them realising that dream, and I think everyone at W Series can be proud of their contribution to putting these racers on track, who just happen to be women.”

2019 W Series Drivers:
  • Jamie Chadwick, UK
  • Sabre Cook, USA
  • Marta Garcia, Spain
  • Megan Gilkes, Canada
  • Esmee Hawkey, UK
  • Jessica Hawkins, UK
  • Shea Holbrook, USA
  • Emma Kimilainen, Finland
  • Miki Koyama, Japan
  • Sarah Moore, UK
  • Tasmin Pepper, South Africa
  • Vicky Piria, Italy
  • Alice Powell, UK
  • Gosia Rdest, Poland
  • Naomi Schiff, Belgium
  • Beitske Visser, Netherlands
  • Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein
  • Caitlin Wood, Australia
2019 W Series Reserves:
  • Sarah Bovy, Belgium
  • Vivien Keszthelyi, Hungary
  • Stephane Kox, Netherlands
  • Francesca Linossi, Italy

The first race of the new category will take place on the weekend of 4th - 5th May, supporting the DTM at the German Hockenheimring Circuit.

For more motorsport news and discussion, head over to the Motorsports sub forum here at RaceDepartment.

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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

Benutzername

I breathe a lot. I guess i just really like air.
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Oct 10, 2011
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I don't think females have a disadvantage. In higher classes it gets more physical, but i think its still managable. Also female apparently are better jet pilots, which comes close to F1 and stuff like that.

Therefore i dnt think a split like that is necessary. Its not empowerin, either. If i were a woman i would like to compete against everyone, the best of he best. Not just drive in a female only class. Driving in such a seperated class would feel more like degrading.

In my opinion females arent that successfull so far, not because of quality but because of quantity.
The only positive aspect i can find in this series is, that it might inspire some young girls to do the same thing? But... Meh. Not 100% sure about that.

But ok, lets see how it plays out. Would like to see more women in racing, but they have to be as quick as their male counterparts.
 
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Tar Heel

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Sep 15, 2016
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I don't think females have a disadvantage. In higher classes it gets more physical, but i think its still managable. Also female apparently are better jet pilots, which comes close to F1 and stuff like that.

Therefore i dnt think a split like that is necessary. Its not empowerin, either. If i were a woman i would like to compete against everyone, the best of he best. Not just drive in a female only class. Driving in such a seperated class would feel more like degrading.

In my opinion females arent that successfull so far, not because of quality but because of quantity.
The only positive aspect i can find in this series is, that it might inspire some young girls to do the same thing? But... Meh. Not 100% sure about that.

But ok, lets see how it plays out. Would like to see more women in racing, but they have to be as quick as their male counterparts.

That's a myth that women make better fighter pilots than men. Shorter people technically make better fighter pilots because there is less distance for their blood to travel from their heart to their brain.
 
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Benutzername

I breathe a lot. I guess i just really like air.
Premium
Oct 10, 2011
8,695
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That's a myth that women make better fighter pilots than men. Shorter people technically make better fighter pilots because there is less distance for their blood to travel from their heart to their brain.
Did not know that.
On the other hand, on average woman are shorter than men :p
 
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BigMike8

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Feb 18, 2017
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Congrats to these ladies! As a motorsports fan raising a daughter, it's great for me to know that future generations of ladies, including my daughter if she chooses, will have more opportunities in racing.
 

Nevini

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Feb 14, 2017
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Who is the target ordinance men or woman?
Men like and participate in sport, most woman do not give a damn and are more interested in fashion and shopping.

Don't believe me ask your wife or girlfriend!

Is this the only place Adult woman can be competitive with other woman?
Oh and lets not forget formula TRANSGENDER ;-)

I really really truly fail to see why this is even a thing.

All sport should be GENDER FREE, or Neutral whatever that means.
F1 the best or the ones with the most money drive.

At the top level Woman can not compete its a genetic thing.
 
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MarkR

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Superb, if it's good close racing it'll be well worth watching. I like what they are aiming for and if a series such as this allows women to compete at the top level vs men great, the competition only gets better and more exciting.


As for the fighter pilot, or astronaut for that matter, discussion that's a separate debate and there is a lot of research that points to the strengths and weaknesses of men and women in those roles. Height is a single tiny factor mitigated by the g-suit and other technology. Only the top 1%, if that, make it as a fighter pilot, astronaut or elite (F1, Moto GP, Le Mans etc) racer. It's often difficult to tell that 1% apart especially when in sports like F1 the car and team are more responsible for the difference. The first woman that makes it in this modern era will need to be well socially connected to the racing elite that's almost for sure, talent/practice and speed alone are unlikely to be enough.
 

apex11

@Simberia
Sep 29, 2016
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Because F1 is so great with having to have a Russian driver in it due to contractual needs with the GP and Putin.
And having sons of billionaires fast tracked into it.....
That is all fine though...because they are big macho men!!
4 wheeled Motorsport is a joke anyway.
 

michelforest

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Mar 2, 2010
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All sport should be GENDER FREE, or Neutral whatever that means..
What? Do you expect women to compete with men in the same sports? Like gender-free tennis? Track and field? Football?

The anatomical differences between men and women explain why there's men and women's tennis, football, etc. Tennis is a perfect example: there are competitions for both sexes and both are interesting to watch.

Motorsports is one of the few sports where both sexes can compete in the same event, simply because of the nature of the sport.
 

Ghoults

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Mar 30, 2009
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In addition to motorsports you also have chess and horse riding which have had long traditions with both sexes being represented

Superb, if it's good close racing it'll be well worth watching.
I think these lower formula categories generally provide excellent racing that is fun to watch. With equal performing cars I'd expect lots of close combat on track.
 

Dobermann92

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May 16, 2018
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I can't wait to see negative reviews about this series because it only has one black and one asian driver in it. :D

I voiced my opinion about this series in another topic but if they want to pour their own money to it, then it is their decision.
 

Terry Rock

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Oct 24, 2009
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I can't wait to see negative reviews about this series because it only has one black and one asian driver in it. :D

I voiced my opinion about this series in another topic but if they want to pour their own money to it, then it is their decision.
Funny!
The rest of us didn't see that.
 
Feb 21, 2015
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Great another thing SJWs are trying to take over and ruin. This is where it starts, with Grid Girls and now a separate racing class just for women and all the BS filled PR surrounding it all. I have no problem with female drivers and I wish them all luck and would love to see some truly talented Female F1 drivers but when this series isn't pulling the numbers they'll start blaming and creating more toxicity in our beloved racing and making DEMANDS and that's where they loose my support. I hope it doesn't go that way.
 

Durge Driven

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Jun 17, 2017
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Motorsports has to give them a proper go first :roflmao:

Drag Racing they get heaps opportunity to drive most powerful racing machines on the planet

That is why woman have won over 100 NHRA events and beat men regularly :whistling:

Oh now tell me it's only Drag Racing :rolleyes: