The W Series announced its first round of cuts on Tuesday, as a field of more than 100 applicants was trimmed to 55 hopefuls for the inaugural season of the all-female open-wheel racing series. Thirty countries are represented on the list of 55, including eight racers from the United States. The series, which plans to field 18 drivers on the grid, will use a Tatuus F3 T-318 race car homologated to the latest FIA F3 specifications.
The series is set to go racing in 2019 — the first race is scheduled for Hockenheim, Germany, on May 3 — and officials are boasting a $1.5 million prize pool and $500,000 top prize. The competition is free to enter, and the W Series is providing travel, race cars and expenses for the drivers.
Next up for the drivers on the list is a series of on-track testing in the W Series race car and off-track tests that include a fitness test and what series officials call “psychometric profiling.”
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“Even today there is a massive gender imbalance in motorsport and W Series is making the first step to correct that,” says Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO. “Drivers from all over the world have stepped forward, so it’s clear that with the right framework we can make the changes this sport desperately needs.”
Former F1 drivers David Coulthard and Alex Wurz will be among the judges of the pre-selection testing, alongside Dave Ryan, W Series racing director.
“We designed W Series specifically to shine a light on female talent right around the world,” Coulthard said. “I can’t wait to be part of the next stage and to see some of that talent in action.”
The final grid will be determined following a series of track tests in the W Series race car – a 2019 Tatuus T-318 – ahead of the season’s first race, at Hockenheim in Germany on May 3.
Three South African woman competitors are among the 55 hopefuls. They are Ivana Cetinich, Fabienne Lanz and Tasmin Pepper.