The countdown to the first W Series race is on after a three-day test at the Lausitzring in Germany was completed. Also it was the first time the cars had been seen carrying the names of the drivers and the race numbers chosen by them.
Australia’s Caitlin Wood has chosen #20 as it was her racing number growing up when she was racing go-karts.
W Series’ next stop is Hockenheim this weekend, where 18 women from all over the world are set to make history by becoming the first to take part in the first ever single-seater racing series for female drivers only. The three testing days at the Lausitzring, have facilitated their acclimatisation to the identical Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars they will be driving in the inaugural W Series race at Hockenheim; but, perhaps just as important, extensive simulator work has also helped them optimise their preparation, using the five mobile simulators W Series has purchased for the purpose.
“The next time we all gather together again, W Series drivers and staff alike, it will be at Hockenheim, for a historic sporting occasion: the first ever single-seater race for female drivers only,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO.
“For too long – 43 years in fact – no woman driver has started a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Although I’m not predicting that any of our drivers will be racing in Formula 1 in the very near future – I wouldn’t be so rash as to make such a claim – undoubtedly we at W Series have deliberately created something strikingly innovative yet positively disruptive,” continued Catherine.
Each W Series driver was given a 45-minute session with the engineer she will be working with for the first race, at Hockenheim. Such simulator work will be a regular and crucial part of every W Series race weekend. On the Thursday before each race all the drivers will drive simulators configured for the forthcoming race, after which, each Sunday morning, the simulators will be reconfigured for the circuit on which the next race is to be staged. The five simulators that will be taken to each W Series race accurately simulate the W Series Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 car’s control systems, including weight and feel, and therefore constitute a physical training opportunity as well as a car/circuit familiarisation device.
Over the three days of testing, the W Series drivers all drove Hockenheim-spec cars, their initial planned schedules as follows: 57 laps on day one, 47 laps on day two and 34 laps on day three, encompassing full-race-distance runs. In addition they completed a number of practice starts.
“We’re pleased to have completed our run programme here at Lausitzring with minimal disruption to our intended schedule. Credit is due to all the staff involved – mechanics, engineers, backroom team – but also to the drivers themselves. They’ve worked very hard to learn as much as they can in an intense three days, and all of them have performed impressively. Inevitably, some had more to learn about driving single-seaters than others did – driving a car with significant downforce always represents a new and difficult challenge for those who haven’t done it much before – but, as I say, all have acquitted themselves well,” said Dave Ryan, W Series Race Director.
Formula 1, Olympic/Paralympic Games, European Champions Cup rugby and Wimbledon tennis TV presenter, Lee McKenzie, will be W Series anchor-presenter and Claire Cottingham, joins W Series line-up as lead commentator.
Former Formula 1 ace, David Coulthard, will act as co-commentator, while Ted Kravitz, Formula 1 TV pit-lane specialist, becomes W Series reporter. Channel 4 will broadcast all six W Series races live free-to-air in HD in the UK, still no word on Australian broadcast information.
Photographs by W Series.