W Series attracts 40 new applicants for 2020 season
As W Series looks back on a successful inaugural season, work is already well underway to find a raft of new female racers to fill the grid for the 2020 season, with the series confirming it has already had interest from "about" 40 drivers.
There are a minimum of eight seats available, with the top 12 in the standings automatically qualifying for a seat in season two, however should one or more of those 12 choose not to take part, that will open up more spaces.
The top 12 were: Jamie Chadwick (UK), Beitske Visser (NLD), Alice Powell (UK), Marta Garcia (ESP), Emma Kimilainen (FIN), Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE), Miki Koyama (JPN), Sarah Moore (UK), Vicky Piria (ITA), Tasmin Pepper (RSA), Jessica Hawkins (UK) and Sabre Cook (USA).
The eight that failed to qualify will still be able to apply again, but will be required to undergo the same selection programme as any new applicant, which will involve several tests, the first of which is a three-day test at Spain's Circuito de Almeria in mid-September.
"Prior to the 2019 W Series season, we tested all our drivers at Almeria in W Series race cars and we plan to put our new applicants through exactly the same process," explained W Series Racing Director Dave Ryan.
"We’ll have one or two drivers from the pool of 12 who are already guaranteed a 2020 W Series drive on hand too, to post comparative lap-times, the better to enable us to understand the ability and speed of our aspiring newcomers.
"To be clear, the eight drivers who finished outside the top 12 in the 2019 W Series championship are not ineligible for our 2020 season; they’re merely not guaranteed to take part in it. Inevitably they’re now on tenterhooks, eager to race with us again next season, but whether they do or not will to a great extent depend on the quality of the newcomers we test at Almeria in a month’s time. Time will tell."
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer, says she's looking forward to a "bigger and better" second season, having previously hinted that the calendar will likely be expanded to between eight and ten races with the possibility of becoming a Formula 1 support series as select events.