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W Series announces new drivers for its second season

by Ida Wood

W Series has announced six of the eight new additions to its grid for the 2020 season, joining the top 12 drivers from this year’s inaugural season.

Jamie Chadwick and her 11 closest rivals in the 2019 standings were guaranteed entry for the second season of the Regional Formula 3-based championship, with driver selection tests taking place at the Almerica circuit in Spain last month to decide the remaining available places on the grid.

In attendance at that test was former Formula E and IndyCar driver Katherine Legge and current Formula 2 driver Tatiana Calderon, with Legge being one of the 14 drivers pursuing a spot in the all-female series.

She has not been named as one of the six new entries though, with F1600 Championship Series champion Ayla Agren, The Grand Tour test driver Abbie Eaton, USF2000 regular Bruna Tomaselli and the Spanish Formula 4 trio of Belen Garcia, Nerea Marti and Irina Sidorkova being chosen as W Series’ newest drivers.

“More than 40 new drivers applied to race with us in 2020 and, after a three-day on-track test at Almeria [southern Spain] last month, and a rigorous lap-time and data-analysis programme thereafter, we?re now able to announce the first 18 of the 20 drivers who?ll compete in the 2020 W Series championship,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

The eight drivers who raced last year but did not automatically qualify for a 2020 seat were not invited to the preliminary simulator session that decided the Almeria test runners, and although W Series has previously suggested they would be in contention for the remaining two W Series seats, that now no longer seems the case.

?I was generally impressed by the 14 drivers whom we tested and appraised at Almeria [southern Spain] last month, and making our selection was correspondingly difficult,” W Series racing director Dave Ryan said after the new drivers were revealed.

“But we?ve crunched all the data to the best of our ability, and I?m therefore confident that the 18 drivers whom we?ve selected so far represent an excellent line-up.”