Alice Powell returns to W Series, joins Bristol Street Motors team
W Series runner-up Alice Powell returns to the all-female championship with newly-founded team – yet long time supporter – Bristol Street Motors.
She finished third in 2019, second in 2021 and will surely aim for one position higher in 2022: Alice Powell is back in W Series and joins newly-founded team Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing for the upcoming season in the all-female championship.
Powell will therefore resume her on-track battle with 2021 main rival Jamie Chadwick, who will also be back in W Series with Jenner Racing, and the two veterans are aiming to stay ahead of fast up-and-coming talents such as Abbi Pulling and Nerea Marti, as well as the always consistent Emma Kimilainen.
"I'm delighted to be back and fully focused on W Series this year" – said Powell.
"I'm expecting this season to be even harder than last – Jamie Chadwick is back to defend her title, Abbi Pulling is back for a full season after finishing in the top eight and getting a pole position last year despite only doing four races, and there are some really fast young drivers attending the pre-season test in Barcelona this week."
Alongside her racing career, Powell has started an equally successful adventure as driver coach: she has been working with Abbi Pulling since 2019, when the youngster made her debut in British F4.
"Hopefully I'll have the right tools to launch another strong bid for the title and be able to win the championship", continued Powell. "I've finished third and second in the two previous seasons, so surely number one is next!"
She hopes to keep climbing the drivers' standings with the support of Bristol Street Motors, which was one of Alice's first sponsors when she competed in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2008, and the brand’s Gloucester Renault dealership supported the British racer in her 2014 campaign in Asian Renault Series.
"It would mean a lot to win with Bristol Street Motors", Alice added. "They have supported me since 2008 when they were one of my first big sponsors in Ginetta Juniors, and they have continued to help me throughout my career, so to be back with them is a great feeling."
"Being with a British team is really nice and they did a fantastic job last year supporting W Series, so it's great that they have a team and I'm proud to be part of it."
Bristol Motors was also involved in W Series' Esports team, which entered this year's 24H of Le Mans Virtual.
"Our partnership with Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing is incredibly valuable, as they champion W Series and women in motorsport in general", said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series' CEO. "Like the rest of the W Series family, Bristol Street Motors is helping make enormous strides towards changing the face of motoring, creating more opportunities for women."
The company will also launch its new campaign named #TypicalWomanDriver, which challenges the old stereotypes and promotes inspiring female figures in a wide variety of professions and communities.
"There has been some great work to encourage more women into motorsport and the wider automotive industry in the last couple of years, and we're pleased to have been part of that through our partnerships, including W Series." – Robert Forrester, chief executive of Bristol Street Motors commented.
"Alice Powell is a brilliant driver for us and a true icon of female motorsport. She is a hero to many young fans of W Series and, with her experience and understanding of racing, will no doubt make a huge contribution to the Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team at all levels."
An experienced single-seater racer, Powell made history in 2012 when she became the first woman to score points in the GP3 Series - now known as FIA F3 - on the F1 platform.
She had already attracted worldwide attention in 2010, claiming the title in the Formula Renault BARC championship.
Powell returned to racing in 2019, after a 5-year hiatus due to a lack of funding despite showing huge potential in the feeder series and another title in the Asian Formula Renault Championship. The creation of the free-to-enter W Series championship allowed the Oxford-native to return behind the wheel of a single-seater car and she was immediately competitive: despite a few unlucky rounds, Powell won the season finale at Brands Hatch and placed third in the standings.
The 29-year-old driver was among the first W Series racers to profit from their newly-found international status and joined Meyer Shank Racing for a one-off in the IMSA sportscar championship. She then raced in the Jaguar iPACE eTrophy, Formula E's support series, in 2020 – before joining Envision Racing as Simulator and Development Driver in the electric formula series.
During her 2021 W Series campaign, Powell started off with a victory at the Styrian GP at Red Bull Ring, immediately establishing herself as one of the top contenders. She would take two more race wins, at her home race in Silverstone and at Zandvoort.
“We’re delighted to further extend our support of women across the automotive industry with the creation of our own W Series racing team" – Liz Cope, chief marketing officer of Bristol Street Motors, said. "This additional platform will allow us to reach and inspire many more young women to consider the motor sector for their career."
"Whether they aspire to be a racing driver, a mechanic or join one of our dealerships as a sales executive, we want to ensure they know that those opportunities are there and open to them."
All the confirmed W Series drivers plus seven new hopefuls will gather at Circuit de Montmelo, Barcelona, this week for a three-day collective test on the Spanish track.
The championship is set to start in May, with the first round getting underway alongside F1's first ever Miami Grand Prix.