Emma Kimilainen moves to Puma W Series Team in title bid
Finnish top-racer Emma Kimilainen moves to Puma W Series Team in her bid for the all-female championship title.
After Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell, also Emma Kimiläinen also has a new team: the Flying Finn will enter her third season in W Series under the banner of Puma W Series Team, in her bid for championship glory.
The sportswear giant has in fact renewed its partnership with the all-female series, which it has supported since its inception in 2019.
Puma stepped up its involvement in W Series in 2021, after the series opened to a new team structure: with a fully branded team, the Puma W Series Team lined up Spanish star Marta Garcia. On the second Puma car, Tasmin Pepper was supposed to return to the series after a remarkable 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, the South African was unable to attend pre-season testing at Anglesey due to travel restrictions and could not enter the season. Marta Garcia’s teammates were therefore the alternating reserve drivers: Gosia Rdest, Caitlin Wood and Abbi Pulling. All of them scored points, with Garcia and Pulling also claiming podium finishes – respectively at Spa Francorchamps and COTA.
The team is running a slightly updated livery, still sporting the ‘She Moves Us’ campaign.
She Moves Us is Puma's women's platform which celebrates the females who move sports and culture forward and inspire other women around the world.
The 2022 season opens with the announcement of multiple-race winning driver Emma Kimiläinen moving from Ecurie W to the Puma outfit; the 32-year old remains one of the title-favourites ahead of her third season in W Series, after a fifth place in 2019 and a third place in 2021.
"I am very proud to be racing for the Puma W Series Team this year” – said Kimiläinen. “With their She Moves Us campaign, our brand and values fit together perfectly and, being a professional athlete at the top level and a mother, I hope to inspire girls and women chasing their dreams in sports. It's amazing to be recognised by Puma and the fact that they believe in my talent even though I'm a 32-year-old mum speaks volumes. Together we can show the world that, irrespective of your age or gender, you can always pursue your dreams.”
Kimiläinen was forced out of title contention in 2019 after an injury following a crash in Hockenheim, in the first round of the championship. She would return at Norisring and immediately finished in the top-5. Her first victory was just one race away and came at Assen, before the second place of the season finale at Brands Hatch. Despite missing half a season, Kimiläinen was fifth in the points’ standings.
The Finnish racer – likely the most experienced of the current W Series field, sat out the whole 2020 season, but was quickly on pace in 2021, at W Series’ return to the track. She consistently stood on the podium and won in spectacular fashion the rain-affected Belgian GP at Spa Francorchamps. She was ultimately third, behind Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell.
"After finishing fifth in the inaugural W Series season and third last year, I'm aiming to continue my progress and win the title in 2022”, added Kimiläinen. “The first half of last season was difficult, but I know what I need to succeed this year and I'm certain that the Puma team will provide that and enable me to launch a strong bid for the title – nothing less will do.”
"Pre-season has been good so far with lots of snowmobiling at home in Finland and I've been training really hard. I'm looking forward to pre-season testing in Spain this week – we are a tight family in W Series so it will be lovely to see some old faces and greet some new ones."
W Series drivers are in fact gathering at Montmelo Circuit, Barcelona, and will start a 3-day pre-season test tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd March.
Alongside extending the racewear partnership, Puma has also made headlines for providing W Series drivers with the first ever race suit specifically tailored on the female body.
"I am delighted that Puma will continue to support W Series' mission in 2022” – added Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of W Series. “Our brands are perfectly aligned – W Series aims to change the face of motorsport and increase opportunities in our industry for girls and women all around the world, while Puma is committed to celebrating females who inspire others, as shown by their support of W Series since our inaugural season.”
“All of W Series' drivers are inspirational and none more so than Emma Kimiläinen, who has competed against and beaten the world’s best drivers throughout her career and continues to do so whilst juggling her life as a businesswoman and a mother.
"We are excited to have Emma Kimiläinen join the Puma family as she is the embodiment of She Moves Us - excelling as an elite athlete in a male dominated sport while being a full-time mother” – echoed Maura Everett, Senior Brand Strategist, Women's Performance at Puma. “Emma's winning attitude on and off track will inspire the next generation of women in motorsport."
The full Puma W Series Team lineup will be revealed in due course. The championship is scheduled to start in May, as W Series joins Formula 1 for the first ever Miami Grand Prix.