The 28 women drivers, all of whom are aspiring to compete in the inaugural W Series season, were out on Spain’s Circuito De Almeria for the first time today in the Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car at the start of an intensive five-day selection programme.
It is only five months since W Series was first announced, but a lot has been achieved in that short time and all the race cars were at the track for the women to drive. The 28 hopefuls were also able to meet the Hitech personnel who are running the cars and who they will be working closely with. Along with this they were able to train with the Hintsa Performance team who will be looking after their fitness programmes.
However, even before the start of this programme there was a huge amount of preparation work to do. Fittings for their seats and driver suits had to be completed along with all the paperwork involved in taking part in an international racing series.
On a sunny, but chilly day at the 4.2 kilometre track situated in the southeast of Spain in the province of Andalusia the women were split into two teams. The programme was carefully constructed so they all had the equal amount of time in the car and at the fitness camp.
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director, has a tough task ahead of him to analyse all the data and then decide which women will go through, but is confident the programme that has been devised for this will be perfect.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO said:
“Today was a historic day: the day our W Series race cars took to the track for the very first time, 28 ambitious and eager female race drivers putting them through their paces on the tricky and tortuous Almeria circuit in southern Spain.
“As such, today’s running represents a culmination of a huge amount of immensely hard work done by everyone in the W Series team – from Sean Wadsworth [W Series Chairman] and David Coulthard [W Series Chairman, Advisory Board], on the one hand, to the brilliantly dedicated team in our back office, on the other. You know who you are – hearty congrats to you all. Equally, I want to say a big thank you to the talented and hard-working personnel of our partner companies – Hitech, Tatuus, Hankook, ATS, Hintsa and more to be announced soon – who have all done a fantastic job too.
“There’s a lot more hard work ahead, of course, but we’re all up for the challenge – as, of course, are our drivers, who are the real stars of the show. They were under enormous pressure today, as they’ll continue to be over the next few days, driving their hearts out for the right to be among the final line-up of W Series race drivers who’ll contest the very first all-female single-seater race in motorsport history at Hockenheim [Germany] on May 4th.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:
“The first day of any test with a new team and new drivers is always going to be a learning experience – and today we learnt a lot – but all good stuff and we are really looking forward to making another step tomorrow.
“We’ve got a reasonable amount of work to do on two or three cars tonight, but the team have already put in a big effort so actually seeing the cars all lined up this morning and going out together for the first time was impressive. We’ve put a great team together and it’s only going to get better. We’re excited for the season ahead.
“Testing is all about making progress, looking how we operate, looking at how the drivers work and generally as a team – standing back and improving day by day”
The following 28 successful qualifier-drivers are taking part in the W Series selection process:
Sarah Bovy, Belgium
Jamie Chadwick, UK
Sabre Cook, USA
Natalie Decker, USA
Marta Garcia, Spain
Megan Gilkes, Canada
Grace Gui, China
Esmee Hawkey, UK
Jessica Hawkins, UK
Shea Holbrook, USA
Francesca Linossi, Italy
Vivien Keszthelyi, Hungary
Emma Kimilainen, Finland
Natalia Kowalska, Poland
Stephane Kox, The Netherlands
Miki Koyama, Japan
Milou Mets, The Netherlands
Sarah Moore, UK
Tasmin Pepper, South Africa
Vicky Piria, Italy
Alice Powell, UK
Gosia Rdest, Poland
Naomi Schiff, Belgium
Shirley Van Der Lof, The Netherlands
Beitske Visser, The Netherlands
Alexandra Whitley, Australia
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein
Caitlin Wood, Australia
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