W Series at the double in Miami as record 2022 season begins
The waiting is finally over and, 195 days since the nail-biting finale to W Series’ second season, the international single-seater motor racing championship for women drivers’ 2022 campaign begins this weekend with a double-header in support of Formula 1’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
W Series’ third on-track season starts where the second left off in October 2021 – in the USA. But, where the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, was the stage when Jamie Chadwick (UK, 23) became a two-time W Series champion in front of a record 400,000 fans, the Briton will begin her title defence 1,326 miles (2,134km) away in Florida at the brand-new Miami International Autodrome. The atmosphere will be as electric as it was that day more than six months ago, with a capacity crowd expected to attend the first F1 race in the country’s southeastern most state since Bruce McLaren won the 1959 United States Grand Prix at Sebring.
“Last year’s season finale in Austin – W Series’ first event in the USA – was spectacular, as our women racing drivers showcased their skills in front of 400,000 people across the weekend,” said W Series’ Chief Executive Officer Catherine Bond Muir. “We will carry all that momentum into the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock will be the biggest event we’ve ever staged – the interest from commercial and media partners to be part of it has been incredible and I can’t wait for the racing to start.”
W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock kick-starts W Series’ record 2022 season, which includes 10 F1 support races – the most that the series has ever staged in a single season. From Miami, W Series will stage races at the F1 grands prix weekends in Spain, the UK, France, Hungary, Japan – W Series’ first race in Asia – USA (COTA), and Mexico where the season will end as it begins, with a double-header.
Following pre-season tests at the Inde Motorsports Ranch, Arizona, USA, and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, five drivers – Tereza Babickova (CZE, 18), Bianca Bustamante (PHI, 17), Chloe Chambers (USA, 17), Emely De Heus (NED, 19), and Juju Noda (JPN, 16) – will make their W Series debuts in Miami. They will line-up alongside established W Series performers, such as last year’s top three of Jamie, Alice Powell (29, UK), and Emma Kimiläinen (FIN, 32), all of whom are multiple W Series race-winners. However, the 18 drivers on the grid this weekend will start on an even-footing, with all of them using identical Tatuus F3 T-318 race cars, and none of them having driven the 3.36 miles (5.41km) circuit – which features 19 corners and three straights – at the Hard Rock Stadium complex, home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
With two titles, six race victories and six other podium finishes to her name from a 14-race W Series career to-date, Jamie starts the season as the woman to beat. She will compete for the newly-formed Jenner Racing Team this year, and will share the spotlight in Miami with her rookie team-mate, Chloe. The 17-year-old from Hudson Valley, New York, will make her W Series debut on home turf where she is already a household name having recently starred in ‘America’s Got Talent: Extreme’.
Jenner Racing are one of four new teams on the W Series grid in 2022, when Quantfury Racing W Series Team, CortDAO Racing W Series Team, and Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team will also make their debuts. They will join the Puma, Racing X, Scuderia W, Sirin, and W Series Academy teams, who all competed in the 2021 W Series championship.
Jamie’s compatriot, Abbi Pulling (UK, 19) is part of a strong chasing pack. The teenager burst on to the scene in 2021 when, despite competing in just half of the season’s races in her role as a reserve driver, she scored a pole position and podium finish at COTA to finish seventh in the championship and earn automatic qualification for 2022. Having become the first woman to join the Alpine F1 team’s Affiliate programme during the off-season, Abbi will look to continue her fine form in Miami.
W Series’ schedule for this weekend starts on Friday 6 May with a 30-minute practice session at 16.00 (local time, EDT). Saturday 7 May will begin with qualifying from 09.10 to 09.40. The drivers’ best time will determine the starting grid for race one – which is at 14.30 on the same day – and their second-best time will determine the starting grid for race two, which begins at 10.35 on Sunday 8 May. Both races will be 30 minutes plus one lap.
British fans can watch the first race of the 2022 W Series season live from the Miami International Autodrome on Sky Sports F1 from 19.10 BST on Saturday 7 May, with qualifying live on the same channel earlier that day at 14.00 BST. The second race of the season will be on Sky Sports F1 from 15.20 BST on Sunday 8 May. Highlights of the first race will be on Channel 4 at 08.00 BST on Sunday 8 May, and highlights of the second race will be on Channel 4 at 07.35 BST on Monday 9 May. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories with a full list available at here.
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
“It’s been more than six months since the end of last season but, as ever, there has been no down time and we’ve been flat-out preparing for the start of season three. I would like to thank my entire team for the hard work they have put in, because of which we have a strong line-up of drivers who travel to Miami ready to hit the ground running. I expect close battles throughout the field, especially as nobody has driven the new circuit in Miami before. It’s a mix of long straights and sweeping corners and, with the barriers always close by, any mistakes will be punished hard so consistency and precision will win out.”
Chloe Chambers (Jenner Racing) said:
“I’m loving the W Series experience so far. I’ve been impressed by the professionalism and organisation of whole team – it’s so well run, and the cars are incredible to drive. I can’t wait to get started in Miami, the first of two home races for me this year. The series is making great strides in the USA and I’m excited to be part of such a spectacular event at the Miami Grand Prix.
“I feel really comfortable in the car, and I’ve got used to the speed already. For this season, I’m going in with a clear mind and willing to learn. With Caitlyn Jenner as a team boss and two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick as a team-mate, I couldn’t have two better people in my team to learn from. Both have a wealth of knowledge about sport and racing, and I’m looking forward to working with them, and the entire Jenner Racing Team, as the season progresses.”
Abbi Pulling (Racing X) said:
“I’m quite confident going to Miami. It feels like when we went to Austin last year – none of us had driven the circuit before and that’s where I had my best result so, if I adapt quickly to the circuit, it should be a good weekend. I think I can challenge at the front this season, but I’m just taking it one race at a time. With more races this year, I need to be consistent.
“I’ve had a look at the Miami circuit on the simulator and I love it. The corners are fast-flowing and lots of them will be taken flat-out. There are bumps and subtle undulations, and clusters of corners where it’s easy to fall over yourself as they come thick and fast with the walls really close. So, it’s a proper street circuit and, although I’ve never driven one before, it reminds me of circuits in the UK in the sense that there is no room for error, which I hope stands me in good stead.”
Visit our driver page to find out more about the full driver line-up for the 2022 W Series season.