Driver selection kicks off in Austria

W Series took another step forward in Austria this weekend when 54 female drivers from four corners of the world met up for the first time in their bid to be chosen to race in the inaugural season of this prestigious series.

After two days of getting to know their fellow competitors and doing what could be termed as housekeeping, attending to tasks such as filming and race suit fittings, today was the first of three days on which they would be sent out on the Wachauring at Melk. Throughout the weekend each woman will be spending a session out on the track in road cars, undertaking two different driving disciplines. They will also take part in appraisal sessions for media and presentation skills, as well as fitness assessments, their every move monitored by experienced judging panels.

There will be 10 modules in all, each of which will be evaluated and points awarded, the final one a Race of Champions on Monday. After that, all the scores will be in, and a group of drivers will be selected to go through to the next stage, in which they will drive the W Series Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car.

Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO said: 

“Yesterday evening’s welcome session here at the Wachauring [Melk] was excellent – informative and motivational not only for all our qualifier-drivers but also for those of us who have worked so hard to take W Series from idea to reality.

“The speeches given by David [Coulthard], Alex [Wurz]  and Lyn [St James] clearly inspired our drivers, and it was a privilege for all of us to hear them share their experience and expertise.

“Today, the driving exercises began, using road cars rather than race cars, and the snow made them truly spectacular to watch. Equally, the presentation and media skills tests were fascinating, revealing as they were of the drivers’ personalities. I’m no expert when it comes to driving skills – I’ll leave that to David, Alex, Lyn and Dave [Ryan] – but it’s clear that some of our candidates are very impressive communicators.”

Alex Wurz, Test and Training International CEO said:

“Day one [of three] has been both fascinating and revealing.

“Early indications would suggest that, although there are inevitable differences between the drivers’ on-track skill sets, it’s already clear that we have a promising group here, and indeed that some of them have exciting potential.

“The dusting of snow we saw throughout the day made the track very slippery in places, but that only added to the challenge – and anyway it was the same for everyone. Besides, the cars we’re using [Ford Fiesta ST and Porsche Cayman S] work well around this circuit, and if you know how to find it there’s good grip out there regardless.

“We’re therefore getting a very good understanding of the drivers and their skill levels, so let’s see what the drivers – and the weather – bring tomorrow.”