W Series has explained how it was not just transportation logistics that influenced its deal to utilise the Toyota Racing Series’ Tatuus FT-60 cars twice this year.
The Formula Regional series runs Alfa Romeo-powered Tatuus T-318 cars, but for this weekend’s Barcelona round and at Suzuka in October it will swap those for the Toyota-powered FT-60s usually seen in New Zealand.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series’ chief executive officer, was asked by Formula Scout during the Miami season opener how the deal came about and how it has addressed several logistical issues brought on by the expanded 2022 calendar.
“We only are given certain races to drive [at],” she explained. “Because now Formula 2 and Formula 3 are racing together [having run at different grands prix in 2021], apart from Silverstone [and Barcelona and Hungary, which Porsche Supercup is skipping] there isn’t enough room in the weekend for W Series if Formula 1, F2 and F3 are racing.
“So as a result of that, we are given all the other races. So, it’s a question of logistics as to which ones that we can race in.
“It’s our third season, we cannot afford to hire a Boeing 747 which is what it would take to take us, we’re obviously responsible for the cars. It’s not a team taking two cars, we’re taking 20 cars.
“So, there needed to be a logistical solution, and also it’s better if we can ship things for our carbon footprint,” Bond Muir claimed.
TRS has suffered massively during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its 2021 season was limited to national entries and with an adjusted teams structure, then its 2022 season was cancelled altogether. Its car is based on the same tub as the T-318, but with several differences including the more powerful engine. However crucially for W Series it uses the same non-standard steering rack to make steering ligher and therefore easier for drivers.
“We knew those cars existed down in New Zealand, and we were actually talking to them even before they cancelled their season,” Bond Muir revealed. “The only alternative would have been for us to have bought a second set of cars.
“But the homologation on those cars stops in two years, so there became a big business risk if actually we buy a new set of cars, so we’ll own 40 cars, which we can’t do anything with in two years’ time. Thankfully, we can do a deal with them, and they have helped us enormously and that deal has allowed us to have what I think is a really exciting season.
“It’s fantastic that we can go to Asia. It’s fantastic that we can have two races here. But for that, we always find solutions, but it’s been a brilliant tie-up for us.”
The T-318 cars will next be used at Silverstone in July once shipped back to Europe, then at the end of the month will not be raced again before being shipped to North America for the final two rounds in late October.