THE FIRST women-only single-seater racing series has revealed the full grid of drivers who’ll be competing this year.
The innovative W Series picked 18 racers and four reserve drivers from an initial pool of 55 candidates to compete in the six-race championship, which kicks off at Hockenheim in Germany on May 4, 2019.
Drivers from across the world make up this year’s grid, with competitors from Britain, Spain, Canada, Hungary, Finland, Japan, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Australia, South Africa and America.
The UK is particularly well represented in the inaugural W Series, as all five British applicants made the cut.
The drivers will compete against each other in identical Formula 3-spec single-seater racing cars. The driver with the highest points tally by the end of the season will be crowned the first ever W Series champion, receiving a prize of $500,000 (£306,000).
While the W Series will have an overall victor, the organisers aim to help all the drivers involved make their way up the motor sports ladder. The top 16 drivers will share a $1m (£762,000) prize fund, and all participating racers will be given guidance in areas such as media training, car engineering and driver fitness.
Caroline Bond Muir, W Series CEO, said: “After four intensive days’ testing in Almeria, finishing yesterday, and four equally rigorous days’ trials in Melk in January … our judges crunched [the] data in order to determine who would be the 18 drivers to contest the first ever single-seater racing series for female drivers.
“All our drivers worked diligently, studied hard, and drove well, including those who didn’t make it through. To the 18 drivers who did make it through, I say ‘big congrats and very well done’.”
2019 W Series: full driver list
Sarah Bovy (Belgium, reserve) — 2018 24 Hours of Spa runner-up
Jamie Chadwick (UK) — 2015 British GT4 champion, 2018-19 MRF Challenge champion
Sabre Cook (USA) — 2012 SuperKarts USA Pro Tour champion
Marta Garcia (Spain) — 2015 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy champion
Megan Gilkes (Canada) — 2018 Canadian Formula 1200 runner-up
Esmee Hawkey (UK) — Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am driver
Jessica Hawkins (UK) — 2015 BWRDC Monoposto Trophy champion
Shea Holbrook (USA) — 2014 Pirelli World Challenge runner-up
Vivien Keszthelyi (Hungary, reserve) — 2018 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup runner-up
Emma Kimilainen (Finland) — Electric GT Championship development driver
Stephane Kox (Netherlands, reserve) — 2015 BMW 235i Racing Cup champion
Miki Koyama (Japan) — Japanese Formula 4 driver, three-time Kyojo Cup champion
Francesca Linossi (Italy, reserve) — Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe driver
Sarah Moore (UK) — 2009 Ginetta Junior champion
Tasmin Pepper (South Africa) — South African Engen Volkswagen Cup driver
Vicky Piria (Italy) — Porsche Carrera Cup Italia driver
Alice Powell (UK) — Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Pro-Am driver, 2014 AFR Series champion
Gosia Rdest (Poland) — GT4 European Series driver, 2018 24 Hours of Dubai GT4 class winner
Naomi Schiff (Belgium) — 2018 KTM X-Bow Battle GT4 champion
Beitske Visser (Netherlands) — GT4 European Series driver, 2010 WSK Master Series champion
Fabienne Wohlwend (Liechtenstein) — 2018 Ferrari Challenge Europe runner-up
Caitlin Wood (Australia) — Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Pro-Am driver