W Series names 28 drivers for final stage of selection

The new all-female W Series has revealed the 28 drivers through to the next stage of its selection process, after three-days of intensive assessment in Austria.

W Series names 28 drivers for final stage of selection

The selected drivers have been hand-picked from a field of 54 by a panel of judges including W Series directors David Coulthard and Dave Ryan as well as former Indycar driver Lyn St James.

Alexander Wurz also served as a judge, with the assessment programme using the same criteria as used by the FIA Institute as part of its Young Driver Excellence Academy from 2011-2015.

Candidates were evaluated over the course of ten modules, which included tests of driving ability in the snowy conditions at the Wachauring, using Ford Fiesta ST and Porsche Cayman S road cars rather than single-seaters.

Fitness and mental agility and comprehensive media sessions were also taken into consideration before a ‘Race of Champions-style’ challenge made the final decision on Monday.

“All W Series’ qualifier-drivers here at the Wachauring [Melk, Austria] are superstars, every single one of them,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir.

“But the sad fact is that not all of them will continue to the next stage of our driver selection programme. That’s competition. That’s sport. That’s racing.

“But one thing I’ve seen over the past three days, and that I’ve been massively impressed by, is that each and every one of our qualifier-drivers is tough, brave and strong.

"And of course we’ll therefore encourage them to work hard on their driving for the next few months and then consider re-applying for the 2020 W Series season when the time comes.”

Included among the 28 are British GT GT4 class champion Jamie Chadwick, former GP3 driver Alice Powell, ARCA regular Natalie Decker, former Renault Formula 1 junior Marta Garcia and the BMW-supported Beitske Visser.

The next stage of the selection process will take place in Almeria in Southern Spain in March, across four days where candidates will test the Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car to be used in W Series.

The final grid of 18 drivers, plus two reserves, will then be selected ahead of the first round at Hockenheim in May.

Selected drivers

Driver Background
Belgium Sarah Bovy Lamborghini Super Trofeo
United Kingdom Jamie Chadwick British F3, British GT (GT4 champion)
United States Sabre Cook Road to Indy, US F4
United States Natalie Decker ARCA
Spain Marta Garcia Spanish F4
Canada Megan Gilkes F1200 Canada
China Grace Gui Asian Formula Renault
United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Porsche Carrera Cup GB
United Kingdom Jessica Hawkins Mini Challenge
United States Shea Holbrook Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Italy Francesca Linossi Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Porsche Carrera Cup Italy
Hungary Vivien Keszthelyi Audi SS R8 Cup
Finland Emma Kimilainen STCC
Poland Natalia Kowalska Formula Two
Netherlands Stephane Kox GT4 European
Japan Miki Koyama Japanese F4
Netherlands Milou Mets LMV8 Oval Series
United Kingdom Sarah Moore LMP3, Ginetta Junior (champion)
South Africa Tasmin Pepper VW Engen Polo Cup
Italy Vicky Piria GP3, European F3 Open
United Kingdom Alice Powell GP3, Formula Renault UK (champion)
Poland Gosia Rdest Audi TT Cup, GT4
Belgium Naomi Schiff Formula Renault 2.0, GT4 European
Netherlands Shirley van der Lof German F3
Netherlands Beitske Visser Formula Renault 3.5, GT4 European
Australia Alexandra Whitley V8 Utes
Liechtenstein Fabienne Wohlwend Ferrari Europe
Australia Caitlin Wood Blancpain GT
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