W Series announces that Ayla Agren will make her 2022 season debut in Singapore this weekend (30 September-2 October) in the role of reserve driver.
Ayla replaces Tereza Babickova for this weekend’s seventh race of the season at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. While competing in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) on 10 September, Tereza sustained a spinal injury during an incident in the first race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria. She returned to her native Czech Republic to receive medical treatment, and doctors have ruled her out of all racing activities until further notice.
Ayla – who was born in Norway but has lived in Houston, Texas, USA, for several years – made her W Series debut last season, which she ended on a high by scoring points in the final race at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA.
She was named as W Series’ reserve driver for the 2022 season, having previously raced on the Road to Indy programme and worked as a spotter at numerous events. They include the Indy 500, where, in May this year, she spotted for seven-time Formula 1® Grand Prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya.
Ayla will compete for the Puma W Series Team, forming an all-Scandinavian driver line-up alongside Emma Kimiläinen. Emma is seventh in the 2022 championship standings, having scored the eighth podium finish of her W Series career at Silverstone in July.
Ayla Agren said:
“It’s mixed emotions but that comes with the territory of being a reserve driver. You know your opportunities will come as a result of others’ misfortune, but I’m happy that Tereza is doing well in the circumstances.
“I’m very much ready to go. I did a WRL (World Racing League) weekend at the start of September, which is a mixed-class endurance category in the USA. What’s great is the amount of track time you get – I did a three-hour stint on both the Saturday and Sunday, and it was great to get that much seat time in one weekend and get some race craft back under my belt. My team finished second on the first day and won on the second day, so I’m hoping to keep my run of podiums going in Singapore!
“Somewhere like Marina Bay is the best place to be making my comeback, because it’s a new circuit for W Series and none of the drivers will have a big advantage. I’ve driven the circuit on the simulator and done some video analysis too, and it looks like a busy one. I think we’ll see the track change quite a bit over the weekend in terms of grip. It will be bumpy too, but I might have a small advantage there having driven lots of street courses, like Detroit and Nashville, in the USA.
“I’m just going to go for it because I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Whenever I’ve gone into races cautiously in the past, it’s never gone well for me. I’m very much looking forward to it and I’ve been preparing for the heat in the sauna! It will be a great experience and I’m very excited.”
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
“Ayla is professional, hard-working, and willing to learn, and that is why we asked her to be our reserve driver this season. She has performed that role diligently, supporting the team at race weekends this year, and she has been training hard in case a chance came her way. Now that it has, I expect her to make the most of it, and she has every chance of performing well in Singapore given that Marina Bay is a new circuit for us.”