W Series organisers have revealed 18 of the 20 drivers who will compete in the 2020 championship, with reigning champion Jamie Chadwick signed up to return to the category.
Williams development driver Chadwick will be joined by her 11 nearest opponents from the inaugural season as the top 12 automatically earned an invitation to return for the following year.
Race winners Beitske Visser, Emma Kimilainen, Marta Garcia and Alica Powell have taken the opportunity to return as did Fabienne Wohlwend, Miki Koyama, Sarah Moore, Vicky Piria, Tasmin Pepper, Jessica Hawkins and Sabre Cook.
Six new drivers will join the series after recently being evaluated at the Almeria circuit in Spain; they include Nerea Marti, who competed in the Spanish Formula 4 championship, and 2014 US F1600 champion Ayla Agren.
One name which should be familiar to many is Abbie Eaton for her time spent as a test driver on Amazon Prime’s series ‘The Grand Tour’.
The other drivers will be Bruna Tomaselli, who has competed in the ‘Road To Indy’ USF2000 championship for the past two seasons. She will be joined by Spain’s Belen Garcia and Irina Sidorkova, who will be the youngest driver in the series at 16 years of age.
$500k is the prize on offer to the champion with a further $1m set to be spread across the other competitors as the end of the season. The championship will also continue to be a part of the DTM support package with the cars being provided by Hitech Grand Prix.
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said: “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.
“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.
“But we’ve left two spaces available, to allow us a little more time to select the final two drivers who, together with the 18 drivers we’ve already selected, will make up the 20 drivers who’ll contest the 2020 W Series championship.
“However, all the stars of our 2019 season will race again with us in 2020 – including Jamie [Chadwick], who’ll be defending her crown, as well as Beitske [Visser], Alice [Powell], Marta [Garcia] and Emma [Kimilainen], who all won races with us last year – but some of the new drivers on our 2020 entry list are clearly very good too.
“I’m consequently hoping our 2020 season will be even better than our 2019 season.”