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W Series reveals its 18-driver grid after F3 car shootout

by William Brierty

The W Series has revealed the 18-strong all-female line-up that will contest its inaugural season following a four-day shootout test at Circuit de Almeria.

The six round championship will run as a support to the DTM, and will use regional Formula 3-spec Tatuus F-318 cars, which the 28 shortlisted drivers were barred from testing in prior to the shootout test.

That shortlist was decided after a four-day performance trial in the snowy Austrian city of Melk, and the first 12 of the 2019 grid were confirmed after?three days of running in the Tatuus at Almeria. The final day was devoted to filling the remaining six grid slots.

Drivers to have made it through both tests and onto the grid include recently crowned MRF Challenge champion Jamie Chadwick, 2014 Asian Formula Renault champion Alice Powell and BMW-backed Beitske Visser. The 18 drivers represent 13 nationalities with Sarah Bovy, Vivien Keszthelyi, Stephane Kox and Francesca Linossi also nominated as reserves.

Reflecting on the confirmed line-up, W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said, ?After four intensive days testing at Almeria, and four equally rigorous days? trials in Melk in January, as you can imagine we?d amassed a huge amount of data.

?So our judges, led by Dave Ryan, then crunched that data in order to determine who would be the 18 drivers to contest the first ever single-seater racing series for female drivers.

?To those drivers who didn?t make it through, I offer my commiserations, of course, but I also say, ?well done?.

?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?.”

Former McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan has been named as the series? racing director. Having headed-up the judging panel, Ryan added, ?We?re at the end of the driver selection process and it?s been tough on a few of the women, but to be honest the ones that have gone through have done a really good job over the four days in Almeria.

The series gets underway alongside the DTM season opener at Hockenheim on May 4-5. Read about the careers of the 28 shortlisted drivers here.

2019 W Series grid

Jamie Chadwick
Sabre Cook
Marta Garcia
Megan Gilkes
Esmee Hawkey
Jessica Hawkins
Shea Holbrook
Emma Kimilainen
Miki Koyama
Sarah Moore
Tasmin Pepper
Vicky Piria
Alice Powell
Gosia Rdest
Naomi Schiff
Beitske Visser
Fabienne Wohlwend
Caitlin Wood