Female single-seater series to launch in 2019
A single-seater championship for female drivers, backed by ex-F1 racer David Coulthard, is to launch in 2019, with a prize fund of $1.5m available.
The W Series will provide identical cars for 18-20 drivers in its first season, which will take place at several yet-to-be-named circuits across Europe, with events planned in America, Asia and Australia in future years.
The series will be free to enter and all participants will undertake a “rigorous pre-selection programme” that involves on-track testing, simulator appraisal and technical engineering tests.
Coulthard, design guru Adrian Newey and experienced F1 team manager Dave Ryan will all be involved in that process
The series will use identical Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars, powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine, and will all be fitted with the halo device.
The champion will receive prize money of $500,000, with financial pay-outs down to 18th position in the standings.
The series outlined that it has the "firm believe that women can compete equally with men in motorsport, however, an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation."
“In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, brave and physically fit, but you don’t have to possess the kind of super-powerful strength levels that some sports require,” said Coulthard.
“You also don’t have to be a man. That’s why we at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity.
“At the moment, however, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent.”
“That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required – W Series – to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms."