W Series, the international single seater championship for female drivers only, is finalizing plans to move to a team-based championship from 2022 and beyond, fulfilling a key development strategy planned since inception.
The move has been enabled by strong interest from motorsport teams, independent businesses, brands, and ultra-high net worth individuals, all keen to support the unique W Series mission and be part of the championship at an early opportunity.
To manage both the uncertainties presented by the global pandemic and the on-boarding of new commercial and team partners, W Series has assigned 2021 as a transition year as it implements the numerous changes both on and off track.
Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of W Series, said: “In a short period of time we have made a mark in the sector for our disruptive and innovative approach. This new structure paves the way for significant new investment to supplement our current series sponsors, which supports our continued rapid growth and our partnership with Formula 1.”
The team structure for this year will start with the allocation of two drivers from the existing W Series stable to each of the new team partners. Additionally, it allows sponsorship of those teams by third parties through naming, car livery, team overalls and so on.
As part of the transition, W Series will debut an unofficial team championship in 2021 using a robust points system which, if successful, will remain in place next season and beyond.
Despite the timetable challenges presented by Covid, a significant proportion of the grid for 2021 will comprise new team partners, including Bunker Racing, M. Forbes Motorsport, PUMA W Series Team, Racing X, Sirin Racing and Veloce Racing.
David Bren (Founder, Bunker Racing) said:
“We hold an unwavering amount of respect for W Series and what it has achieved for women in motorsport. For some time now, we have been looking for a platform to help us globally announce our main business while allowing us to support and promote female automotive enthusiasts. W Series is a natural fit for us and provides a unique opportunity to challenge social norms and inspire individuals to pursue their passions along the way. W Series is leading, creating and driving cultural change in motorsport, a compelling proposition to pass onto our partners and one we’re proud to be a part of.”
Miguel Forbes (Founder, M. Forbes Motorsport) said:
“We have been tracking the remarkable progress of W Series for some time and exploring ways of being a part of its ongoing success. We are incredibly excited to join W Series in 2021 with a long-term commitment to supporting the series that is promoting women in the motorsport and automotive industries. The dial is shifting and it’s time for women to take the spotlight in motorsport and all fields traditionally dominated by men. We cannot wait to get the season underway and witness these talented women go from strength to strength as professional racing drivers, inspiring young girls to take up karting along the way.”
James Clark (Head of Sports Marketing Motorsport & Operations, PUMA) said:
“The partnership with W Series is thriving. PUMA has already designed – for the very first time – tailormade race suits for W Series’ female drivers to ensure a perfect fit. Now, being able to announce our own race team with W Series is a fantastic second step. We want to show our full commitment to empowering women all around the world to get inspired by W Series’ drivers.”
Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Team Manager, Veloce) said:
“We’ve been enormous fans of W Series since its inception and it’s a privilege for Veloce to join the grid with a team. W Series’ foundation was one of the most positive, progressive acts I’ve seen in the motorsport community. Every driver on the grid has proved they have the ability to compete at this level, but the majority of them simply would not be on their current career trajectory if it wasn’t for the financial commitment and dedication of the W Series team. We’re incredibly excited to continue to build on the success of the series as well as Veloce, and further the careers of women in international motorsport.”
During the transition season, all W Series drivers will race as usual, but not all will be allocated to partner teams. The remaining drivers will be assigned to W Series home team pairings – and for this season these two teams will carry the Ecurie W and Scuderia W names.
With fan engagement in mind, W Series will also debut a striking range of newly designed liveries to ensure that all the cars and drivers are easily distinguishable. Branding by our existing sponsors, Acronis, Hankook, PUMA and ROKiT remains in place during the transition year.
Prioritizing the importance of driver skill within the championship, and to ensure technical equality, all 18 cars, although sporting a variety of liveries, will remain mechanically identical, with preparation and maintenance managed by W Series Engineering.
The 2019 W Series championship winner, Jamie Chadwick, said: “This is brilliant news for drivers too. We learned so much about the cars and the tracks in 2019, but a teams set-up will take us to the next level – giving us great insight into what it’s like working closely with a team partner and racing with a team championship in mind rather than just for yourself.”
Teams, Driver Numbers and Driver Pairings
The 2021 W Series championship teams, driver numbers and pairings are below:
|Bunker Racing||Fabienne Wohlwend (5) and Sabre Cook (37)|
|M. Forbes Motorsport||Beitske Visser (95) and Ayla Agren (17)|
|Puma W Series Team||Marta Garcia (19) and Gosia Rdest (3)|
|Racing X||Alice Powell (27) and Jess Hawkins (21)|
|Sirin Racing||Miki Koyama (54) and Vicky Piria (11)|
|Veloce Racing||Jamie Chadwick (55) and Bruna Tomaselli (97)|
|Ecurie W||Emma Kimiläinen (7) and Abbie Eaton (44)|
|Scuderia W||Sarah Moore (26) and Belen Garcia (22)|
|W Series Academy||Irina Sidorkova (51) and Nerea Marti (32)|