All five UK drivers hosted fun wheel-change competition in London.
Of the six circuits on the inaugural W Series schedule, Brands Hatch is the one most entrenched in motor racing folklore. The track hosted the British Grand Prix in even-numbered years from 1964 to 1986 and twice played host to the European Grand Prix (1983 and 1985). The list of drivers who won those races reads like a Who’s Who of the Formula 1 Hall of Fame: Clark, Brabham, Siffert, Rindt, Fittipaldi, Scheckter, Lauda, Reutemann, Jones, Piquet and Mansell. And even the names of the corners are among the most well known in the history of motor racing: Paddock Hill Bend, Druids, Hawthorns, Dingle Dell and Clearways. This motorsport amphitheatre in a corner of Kent is as iconic as any racing venue in the sporting atlas.
|Where||Brands Hatch Circuit, United Kingdom|
|When||10th-11th August 2019|
|Race start||Sunday 15:10 BST|
|Where to watch||UK audiences can watch LIVE on Channel 4 from 14:45 local time Sunday 11th August|
Not based in the UK? Check out our where to watch page here
|Key fact||The Desire Wilson stand is named after the first – and, so far, only – woman to win a Formula 1 race (non-Championship F1 race)|
|Where can I buy tickets?||Head to the Brands Hatch website here|
Brands Hatch was also home to the non-championship F1 Race of Champions (twice won by James Hunt), and many rounds of the World Sportscar Championship, and it has always proved to be a true test of the racing driver’s art.
There is a hint of a mini Nurburgring Nordschleife to Brands Hatch, as part of the undulating circuit threads its way through trees and then emerges downhill into a bowl where the start/finish ‘straight’ is located. That makes Brands an absolute favourite with spectators and drivers alike, but the latter know that the circuit’s beauty hides a cruel side.
The track, which first held races in the 1920s, has changed little since the Grand Prix Loop was added in 1960 and that means that drivers pay a big price for small mistakes. The ‘scenery’ is close by and the track narrow, and many of the corners are taken at high speed. That is why it is the perfect place for the title decider in the first ever W Series championship. For a novice or an F1 legend, winning at Brands Hatch is special.
This weekend’s race may be the last one of the inaugural W Series season but there will be no end-of-term feeling on the grid. Brands Hatch will provide the toughest examination they have faced so far.
Most of the focus will be on the battle for the championship between Britain’s Jamie Chadwick and Beitske Visser of the Netherlands, but there is everything to play for all the way down the field. The top 12 in the points standings will automatically be invited to take part in the 2020 W Series season (when FIA Super Licence points will be on offer) and before that there is a considerable pot of prize-money to be divvied up this year.
Jamie and Beitske are separated by 13 points at the top of the standings, so the Briton, who won at Brands Hatch in British Formula 3 last season, goes into the last round as a strong favourite; but $250,000 is the difference between the the champion’s winnings and that of the runner-up, she will be taking nothing for granted.
Jamie has won twice in W Series this season (Hockenheim and Misano) and has finished on the podium in every race (bar the non-championship reverse-grid race at Assen), while Beitske was victorious at Zolder and finished second at Misano and Norisring. But the pair have kept close company all season long, even battling their way through the field together in that helter-skelter non-championship reverse-grid race at Assen. They are close friends but also fierce rivals and they will be keeping an eye on each other in order to land the title and the $500,000 that comes with it.
Only Jamie or Beitske can win the $500,000 first prize, but the flying Dutchwoman will need to keep one eye on her mirrors as Spaniard Marta Garcia could still overhaul her for second place. The difference between fourth and eighth in the standings is $40,000 and a driver who is yet to score a point this season could still finish in the top 10 so no one will be coasting.
The top 12 in the final standings will automatically be invited to take part in the 2020 W Series, and before Brands Hatch only seven drivers are guaranteed their place (Jamie, Beitske, Marta Garcia, Alice Powell, Fabienne Wohlwend, Emma Kimilainen and Miki Koyama). There will therefore be 13 drivers battling for the remaining five guaranteed places on 2020 W Series grid. The midfield battle will be ferocious.
The full list of standings can be found here.
A reminder of the points awarded per place.
1st = $500,000; 2nd = $250,000; 3rd = $125,000; 4th = $100,000; 5th = $90,000; 6th = $80,000; 7th = $70,000; 8th = $60,000, 9th = $50,000; 10th = $40,000; 11th = $30,000; 12th = $25,000; 13th = $20,000; 14th = $15,000; 15th – 18th and reserves = $7,500
The final round of the 2019 W Series season will be played out in front of three of the most celebrated female single-seater drivers in racing history.
Desire Wilson is the only woman to have won an F1 race, when in 1980 she was victorious in an Aurora AFX British F1 Championship race at Brands Hatch, driving an ex-Jody Scheckter Wolf. The South African will be joined by Divina Galica, the British Olympic skier who never qualified for a championship F1 Grand Prix but raced F1 cars in the Shellsport International Series and the British F1 Championship, and had considerable success at Brands Hatch, winning four times in sports cars in 1977. Both racing legends will take part in the Brands Hatch podium presentation this weekend.
At Brands Hatch, W Series will have an expanded presence in the Lower Paddock in the form of an expanded ‘W Village’ where there will be entertainment, refreshments and a big screen for invited VIPs and guests of all ages. Grand Prix winners David Coulthard (chairman of the W Series Advisory Board) and John Watson will be joined F1 management and engineering greats Daniele Audetto and Paddy Lowe, and, from the wider sporting world, gold-medal-winning England netball captain Ama Agbeze will also be in attendance.
Members of Parliament Jess Phillips and Gavin Shuker will also be at Brands Hatch on race day, as will 100 girls and young women from the charity London Youth, accompanied by its Vice President, Paul Stewart, himself an accomplished F3 and F3000 driver, the co-founder of the Stewart Grand Prix F1 team (now known as Red Bull Racing) and the son of three-time F1 World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart.
Jamie Chadwick, W Series points leader
“I’ve really enjoyed W Series and it’s a shame that Brands Hatch is the last round. I’ve led the championship since the first race at Hockenheim and I’ve no intention of giving up that lead now. I know that it’s not going to be easy and that Beitske [Visser] will do everything she can to beat me. The strange thing is that she’s a really good friend as well as a really tough rival. We have so much in common and get on really well. All the girls have been great but I really like Beitske. But the most important thing is winning the title.”
Beitske Visser, W Series championship contender
“It’s just Jamie [Chadwick] and me going for the championship and all I can do is go flat-out for the win at Brands Hatch and hope I get a little luck on the way. For sure, Jamie and I get on really well but on track she’s just another rival I have to beat. I mustn’t forget that every other driver in the race has something to aim for – prize money, top 12, all that – but I can only focus on winning.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO
“I can’t believe that this is the last race of the season, it seems to have flown by so quickly. I know we’re going to put on a fabulous show at Brands Hatch for all our guests and supporters and what I hope will be a good crowd. The whole W Series team can be extremely proud of what we’ve achieved in our first season, and things are starting to come together for 2020 already. But for now we have to focus on the present. We have a title fight, fierce competition to be in the top 12, and a race to be won. I can’t wait.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director
“I’ve been very impressed with not only the overall level of competitiveness of our drivers, but also with the way they have approached this Championship and everything it has to offer. Our races have therefore been close, competitive and often very exciting. But now we have a unique set of circumstances and it will be interesting to see how they deal with it. Jamie and Beitske will be going all-out for the title but there are only five drivers behind them who are safely through to next year’s W Series, so they’ll be charging hell-for-leather for the win in an effort to boost their share of the prize pot. And there are others too who will be doing everything they can to get into the top 12 and thereby guarantee their place for next year. The only prediction I’m prepared to make is that you won’t be able to take your eyes off it.”
Brands Hatch is just 22 miles from central London and takes only an hour to get to via the M20. From the opposite direction it is only an hour and 20 minutes from the Channel ports of Dover and Folkestone. Owing to the proximity of the M25 the circuit is easily accessible from anywhere in the UK and always draws a decent crowd for international events.
|10:00||10:35||W Series||Free Practice 1|
|10:50||11:10||DTM||Qualifying for Race 1|
|15:40||16:15||W Series||Free Practice 2|
|10:00||10:20||DTM||Qualifying for Race 2|
TV broadcast deals with a variety of suppliers will provide high-quality coverage in almost 60 different territories worldwide, including China, Russia, the Far East, the Nordics, Baltics, Turkey and the UK, where Channel 4 will broadcast build-up and the races live on its free-to-air terrestrial platform.
Check out our Where to Watch page to find out how you can watch W Series in your region.
To celebrate our season finale, Channel 4 will host a two-hour special starting at 14.30 on Sunday August 11th,
|Sunday 11th August|
|Race||14:30 – 16:30 BST|
UK audiences can re-watch all races on catch-up here.
Originally a short grass track for bike racing that took advantage of a natural bowl in the Kentish countryside, it was given an asphalt surface and opened for car racing in 1950. The track soon became a popular venue for domestic racing and became known internationally after the Grand Prix loop was added in 1960, creating the basic outline that with modifications is still familiar today. Corners such as Paddock Bend, Druids and Clearways are famous worldwide.
The track first played host to the British GP in 1964, and subsequently alternated with Silverstone, taking the even numbered years – although extra races under the European GP name were held in 1983 and 1985. Many classic races were held, and the list of winners includes greats such as Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. However, after 1986 Bernie Ecclestone opted to focus on Silverstone as the permanent venue for F1 in the UK, and Brands slipped off the calendar.
The track regularly held rounds of the World Sportscar Championship between 1967 and 1989, while others to appear include IndyCar/Champ Car (in 1978 and again in 2003), F2, F3000 and A1 GP. The DTM has been a regular visitor since 1986.
Brands Hatch has seen both the first victory in an F1 race and the first British F3 win achieved by women drivers – two significant achievements that were separated by 38 years.
More women have participated in F1 events at Brands than any other venue. Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica and Desire Wilson all had close associations with the track, largely due to the support of circuit bosses John and Angela Webb, who played a role in promoting their careers.
The track remains a staple of the British racing scene, and many young drivers have raced there as they have worked their way towards F1.
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