Seconds out… race one
W Series’ next stop is Hockenheim, where 18 women from all over the world are set to make history by becoming the first to take part in the first ever single-seater racing series for female drivers only. The three testing days at the Lausitzring, which programme came to a close today, have facilitated their acclimatisation to the identical Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars they will be driving in the inaugural W Series race at Hockenheim on May 4th; but, perhaps just as important, extensive simulator work has also helped them optimise their preparation, using the five mobile simulators W Series has purchased for the purpose.
Each W Series driver was given a 45-minute session with the engineer she will be working with for the first race, at Hockenheim. Such simulator work will be a regular and crucial part of every W Series race weekend. On the Thursday before each race all the drivers will drive simulators configured for the forthcoming race, after which, each Sunday morning, the simulators will be reconfigured for the circuit on which the next race is to be staged. The five simulators that will be taken to each W Series race accurately simulate the W Series Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 car’s control systems, including weight and feel, and therefore constitute a physical training opportunity as well as a car/circuit familiarisation device.
Over the past three days, the W Series drivers all drove Hockenheim-spec cars, their initial planned schedules as follows: 57 laps on day one, 47 laps on day two and 34 laps on day three, encompassing full-race-distance runs. In addition they completed a number of practice starts.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO, said:
“The next time we all gather together again, W Series drivers and staff alike, it will be at Hockenheim, for a historic sporting occasion: the first ever single-seater race for female drivers only.
“As I say, it will be a historic sporting occasion, but, also, if I may make so bold, it will be a significant one from a social perspective too. For too long – 43 years in fact – no woman driver has started a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Although I’m not predicting that any of our drivers will be racing in Formula 1 in the very near future – I wouldn’t be so rash as to make such a claim – undoubtedly we at W Series have deliberately created something strikingly innovative yet positively disruptive. We want to change the motorsport world for the better, and our Hockenheim race on May 4th will be an important early milestone on that sporting and social journey.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Race Director, said:
“We’re pleased to have completed our run programme here at Lausitzring with minimal disruption to our intended schedule. Credit is due to all the staff involved – mechanics, engineers, backroom team – but also to the drivers themselves. They’ve worked very hard to learn as much as they can in an intense three days, and all of them have performed impressively. Inevitably, some had more to learn about driving single-seaters than others did – driving a car with significant downforce always represents a new and difficult challenge for those who haven’t done it much before – but, as I say, all have acquitted themselves well.
“Next stop… Hockenheim. People are asking me who I reckon is the favourite for that first W Series race, and the honest answer is that I really don’t know. We’re as fascinated to find out as everyone else is.
“It really is fantastic to see this project become a reality after such a short, but intense period of time.”