W Series, the all-new single-seater racing series for female drivers only, took another step forward in Austria this weekend when 54 female drivers from four corners of the world met up for the first time in their bid to be chosen to race in the inaugural season of this prestigious series.
After two days of getting to know their fellow competitors and doing what could be termed as housekeeping, attending to tasks such as filming and race suit fittings, today was the first of three days on which they would be sent out on the Wachauring at Melk.
Throughout the weekend each woman will be spending a session out on the track in road cars, undertaking two different driving disciplines. They will also take part in appraisal sessions for media and presentation skills, as well as fitness assessments, their every move monitored by experienced judging panels.
There will be 10 modules in all, each of which will be evaluated and points awarded, the final one a Race of Champions on Monday. After that, all the scores will be in, and a group of drivers will be selected to go through to the next stage, in which they will drive the W Series Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car.
“… the driving exercises began, using road cars rather than race cars, and the snow made them truly spectacular to watch. Equally, the presentation and media skills tests were fascinating, revealing as they were of the drivers’ personalities. I’m no expert when it comes to driving skills – I’ll leave that to David, Alex, Lyn and Dave [Ryan] – but it’s clear that some of our candidates are very impressive communicators,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO.
The dusting of snow throughout the day made the track very slippery in places, but that only added to the challenge in the cars being used Ford Fiesta ST and Porsche Cayman S.
W Series kicks off at Hockenheim, Germany, May with Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars provided by Hitech GP to operate its full six-race programme for the year. Hankook will provide the series with its high-end racing tyre, the Ventus Race (F200 slick and Z217 wet), in sizes VA 230/560-13 and HA 280/580-13.
“Hankook is an exciting and innovative company, which, like the W Series, is always prepared to strike out in a new direction. We received a lot of interesting offers, but Hankook had by far the best overall package and will be fully committed to helping us offer women better opportunities in motorsport,” said Catherine Bond Muir.
Get behind our Australian Contenders!
There are four Australian women taking part in the qualifying this weekend. Lets get behind them!
Photographs by W Series.