The inaugural W Series season kicks off this weekend and there is no better place to start.
There has been motor racing at the Hockenheimring since 1932, but the present track configuration only came into existence 17 years ago. The layout provides plenty of opportunity for overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing.
After a fast, but tight, first corner the drivers set off towards the forest but instead of blasting their way through the trees they turn sharp right where the track opens up into a long, high-speed left-hand curve called Parabolika. Following a rival closely through here creates a great opportunity to make a pass into the hairpin at the Eastern end of the circuit, but if successful you are soon on the defensive as there is another overtaking opportunity two corners later in front of the huge Mercedes Grandstand. The track then rejoins the traditional layout and goes through a tight “stadium” section where packed grandstands on race day create a remarkable atmosphere.
|Where||The Hockenheimring, Germany|
|Friday 3 May ||Free Practice 1 |
Free Practice 2
|Saturday 4 May ||Qualifying |
Hockenheim provides a true test of not only a driver’s speed, but also their race craft and ability to set up the car. The home of the German Grand Prix is the ideal place to start a new era of racing.
Hear from our CEO and Racing Director ahead of the first W Series race.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO
“This is what we’ve all been working so hard towards – I can’t wait to see all 18 cars and drivers lined up on the grid at Hockenheim for the first ever W Series race.
“A huge amount of effort has gone into making the W Series dream a reality, and I can’t thank the whole team enough. But this is just the beginning of our journey. The 18 talented women who’ll take part in our first race all deserve to be there and have the chance to show the world what they can do.
“This is the culmination of a massive team effort and I’m sure it’ll be a little emotional for us on the inside but, as I say, it’s just the start. So let’s hope for a great race!”
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director
“The first ever W series race may well be unpredictable, for a number of reasons. First, every driver has a car identical to her rivals’. Second, all our drivers have had the same preparation, the same amount of testing and the same amount of time to work with their engineers. How many series can say that? Not many.
“However, also, throwing another variable into the mix, the weather looks as though it may play a part too.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for us at W Series and Hitech to put it all together, but I’ve been equally impressed by the effort that all the drivers have put in. The 18 who have been selected thoroughly deserve their places on the first W Series grid. I’ve watched all of them closely, right through the selection and testing process, and I still can’t say with any certainty who’ll come out on top.
“Racing will be the best way to decide that, and we go racing this weekend.”
Finding an ideal set-up for qualifying and the race could be tricky if practice is on a damp track.
It looks like race day will be wet and chilly with a gentle northerly breeze. Getting temperature in the tyres will be crucial.
Fan focus: What to expect when you get there
Hockenheim is located in the Rhine Valley just south of Heidelberg. If coming from Frankfurt, motorsport aficionados may want to stop in a lay-by half way down the autobahn to Darmstadt. It is here there is a memorial to Bernd Rosemeyer, the great pre-war German driver, who was killed in January 1938 when his Auto Union went out of control during a land speed record attempt. Hockenheim is steeped in motorsport history and there is an excellent museum right by the circuit.
Many fans attending race weekends tend to camp and the sites are loud and lively with heavy metal and firecrackers providing a backdrop to the barbecues and beer. A quieter evening can be had in Speyer, a small town just across the Rhine to the west of Hockenheim. The town has a fabulous medieval cathedral, a fascinating transport and technology museum and an array of restaurants.